Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is REALLY REALLY GOOD!  I mean, it definitely is in contention for my favorite coffee cake ever.  The sour cream makes the cake moist and fluffy while the cinnamon sugar topping gives it a great crunch.  Mix in some gooey chocolate chips (or in my case, a combination of chocolate chips AND peanut butter chips!) and you've got yourself a mighty fine cake.

Whoever invented coffee cake is a genius.  I mean, you basically get to eat dessert for breakfast!  I repeat.  Genius!  This is the perfect accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.  It's also enough to satisfy my husband's sweet tooth as dessert. 

Please try this one...and be prepared to be blown away!

One Year Ago: Jamie's Minestrone

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
*Note: Halve the ingredients and bake in a 9" round pan to get a smaller cake for 2-4.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar, then mix in the egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together into a separate bowl. Alternately add sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture. Beat eggs whites until stiff, then fold into batter. Mix last 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon together in a separate, small dish.
  3. In a greased 9″x13″ pan (or 9" round pan for half recipe), pour in half of the cake batter. Sprinkle the top with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and half of the chocolate chips. Pour remaining batter on top, sprinkling the top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chips. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
Source: Originally from Smitten Kitchen as seen on Sing for Your Supper

Friday, July 16, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream

Did you know that this Sunday, July 18th is National Ice Cream Day?  Hooray! 

Now, there are directions all over the internet about how you can make ice cream without an ice cream maker but I felt like it would be too much work or not yield a creamy enough ice cream.  So, if you're lazy and apprehensive like me you have 2 choices: 1) buy pre-made ice cream from a local parlor or grocery store or 2) buy a standalone or attachment ice cream maker.  I recently opted for the second and bought a Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Attachment from Amazon for a meer $24 after I used the free giftcards I received. How timely and appropriate!

I then scoured the internet for the perfect ice cream recipe to use as my first test batch.  Many of the blogs that I follow had lots of great ones and pretty much everybody agreed that the 2 undisputed ice cream recipe books are David Lebowitz's The Perfect Scoop and the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Book.  I thought about buying myself one or both books but then I realized with every other blog posting the recipes for free, why bother?  That's generally how I find most of my recipes anyway is through blogs so why start buying cookbooks now, right?

Back to making my first batch of ice cream.  I decided to be ambitious and chose this White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream that Christine from Christine's Cuisine had creatively put together using 3 different Perfect Scoop recipes.  I was drawn to the pretty swirls and I'm a sucker for white chocolate and raspberries.  *drool*. 

I was surprised at how much the ingredients cost.  This is the last time I complain about the cost of store bought ice cream...they have every right to charge that much!  I was also surprised at how many steps were involved.  I had to prep the raspberry sauce (which apparently the liquor is the secret to preventing your fruit from freezing rock hard), heat and thicken the custard, cool the custard, churn the ice cream, melt the chocolate, layer it all together, and then let it mellow and freeze nice and hard in the freezer.  Phew.  To be honest, this ended up being a 2 day project for me....

But in the end, it was worth it.  Symphony of fresh berries, smooth cream, and decadent chocolate.  It melted smoothly in my mouth and cooled me in the sweltering Summer heat.  Churning ice cream at home feels good knowing everything going in is natural...the way ice cream SHOULD be made.  Now, my ice cream didn't swirl as beautifully as Christine's did but it tasted just as bit as good I bet.  To see how it should really look, I suggest you hop on by her blog to see what drew me to make this as my first homemade ice cream batch :).

I've had my ice cream maker about 3 weeks now and I just finished churning my 3rd batch about an hour ago.  Look out in the near future for posts about Blackberry Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream!

One Year Ago: Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream
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white chocolate ice cream
  • 8 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
raspberry swirl
  • 1 1/2 cups of raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vodka
chocolate stracciatella
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  1. Combine raspberries, sugar and vodka in a bowl and mash with a fork to combine. Refrigerate an hour or overnight before churning the ice cream.
  2. Put the white chocolate in a large bowl with a mesh strainer on top.
  3. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape back into the saucepan.  Stir mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula.
  5. Pour custard through a strainer over the white chocolate and stir until chocolate completely melts.
  6. Chill mixture in the refrigerator then churn according to the manufacturers instructions.
  7. Just before the mixture is done churning – melt the bittersweet chocolate in a bowl in the microwave.
  8. Into the container you are going to freeze, layer the ice cream, half the raspberry sauce and drizzle half of the melted chocolate on top. Then repeat. Freeze until firm.
Source: Adapted by and as seen on Christine's Cuisine from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Nothing says Summer more than good grilling!  I am a sucker for good Mexican food and this recipe surely didn't disappoint.  The marinade was out of this world!  The orange zest adds the perfect zing and overall it's extremely flavorful.  I made it with beef this time but it'd also be wonderful using chicken.  The tequila is optional and sadly, this fiesta had none but I'm sure it would add a nice depth to the flavor.  The colors from the fresh grilled veggies are pretty, too!

Fajitas are one of my favorite Mexican dishes.  The thing that I hate most about restaurant versions though is that generally the meat and veggies are swimming in oil.  I guess you need that though to make them sizzle on that cast iron pan they bring it out on.  This homemade version is different though.  It's not greasy and so the flavor of the fresh veggies and tender meat come through.  It's slightly less guilty this way.

Why I waited so long to try to make fajitas at home I just don't know.  Next time I'll have to try to tackle homemade flour tortillas, too!

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Yields: 3-4 Servings


For the Fajitas
  • 1 lb marinated flank steak (recipe follows)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 assorted colored bell peppers
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 Flour tortillas (small, fajita size)
  • Sour cream, salsa, and/or gaucamole, for serving
For the Marinade

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 shot tequila (optional)
  • Juice and zest from one orange
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Large handful fresh cilantro, chopped

For the marinade:
  1. Put the steak in a shallow glass dish or a large freezer bag. Whisk remaining ingredients together and pour over steak. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour before cooking.
To cook:
  1. Slice onion into 1/3-inch rounds, keeping the rounds intact.  You may desire to soak some toothpicks in water for 15-20 minutes and then push them through the sides of your onion rings to help hold them together.    Brush both sides with oil.   Slice bell pepper into 1/3-inch rounds and toss with oil.
  2. Place on a grill heated to med-high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Take care when flipping the onion rounds so they stay in tact.
  3. Place the steak on the grill and cook 5-6 minutes each side. Remove from heat, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain.
  4. Serve on flour tortillas topped with desired toppings.
Source: Slightly modified from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Sauceless Garden Lasagna

Do you have an abundance of garden vegetables?  Are you looking for a light and healthy vegetarian meal?  If so, this recipe is the one for you.

Sadly, Chris (the carnivorous "each meal must have at least some meat" hubby), isn't a huge fan of this meal because 1) it's vegetarian and 2) it has feta cheese.  This means that 1) I don't get to make it often and 2) I have to make his half special and omit the feta.  But if I were you, I would make it more than just when you have an overflowing garden and I definitely would not skip the feta!  The feta is what helps hold this lasagna together.

See, the beauty of this lasagna is that it's different from your traditional meat and/or veggie tomato based lasagna and from your heavy cream sauce lasagna.  All you do is layer everything together and the juices of the veggies along with a tad bit of oil and balsamic vinegar is all you need to create a really delicious "sauce".  Like many recipes, you can adapt it to suit your veggie preferences and/or whatever your garden and Mother Nature yields for you to use.  But definitely make sure you keep the tomatoes since that's the majority of the juice bearer.  And make sure you cover the top noodle well unless you want crunchy noodles.  Blech.  Who wants crunchy noodles??

I've only made this with grocery store vegetables and it was so fresh and flavorful.  I can only imagine how fabulous this would be from home grown garden or CSA fresh veggies!

Sauceless Garden Lasagna
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Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) package no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 9 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, red onion, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and feta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and stir in basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until evenly blended.
  3. Place a layer of lasagna noodles into the bottom of the prepared pan. Make a layer of tomato slices over the noodles. Spread a generous amount of the spinach mixture over the tomatoes. (Don't worry, it shrinks a lot while cooking.)  Lay slices of tomatoes over the spinach mixture, then another layer of noodles. Start with another layer of tomatoes on top of the noodles, and repeat layering until the dish is heaped with lasagna, ending with the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on the top.
  4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until noodles, and vegetables are tender. Let stand for a few minutes to set, then slice and serve
Source: All Recipes

Monday, July 5, 2010

White Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits

This is an extremely easy dessert that's light and refreshing.  Chris and I put this together assembly line style and were done in no time!  When it was time to serve, we just dalloped each glass with some cool whip and topped it with a fresh strawberry.

It was the perfect ending to the Prom dinner that I made for my sister and her friends.  The other dishes served were Olive Garden Copycat Salad (recipe to come), Garlic Bread, Pizza Bites, Baked Sausage Ziti, and Chicken Alfredo

I was honored that they wanted me to cook for their special night.  It was extremely satisifying to see them clear their plates and go back for seconds.  They said it was better than a restaurant and even asked if they could come back for dinner again in the future!  If that's not a compliment, I don't know what is.  I was amazed by how much those boys ate but I guess teenage boys do eat quite a bit.  Every single one of them must have overate though because Chris had to hand out the Tums afterwards haha.  (I probably should have supported my brand and made them take Pepto instead, huh?)

Anyway, did you know that a traditional parfait of this sort would have 490 calories and 40 g of fat per serving?!  Thankfully this version is lightened up with a slim 198 calories and 3 g of fat per serving.  So, now you have room for dessert!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Treats

White Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits
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Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes
Yields: 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup low-sugar strawberry preserves
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 package (1 oz) sugar-free, fat-free white chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat 1% milk
  • 1 1/4 cups thawed fat-free whipped topping
  • 24 mini vanilla wafer cookies
  • Whole strawberries (optional)
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave strawberry preserves on high in 15 second intervals until melted.  Add sliced strawberries and toss to coat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk pudding mix and milk until well blended, about 1 minute.  Let stand until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of whipped topping.
  3. In each (8 oz) dessert glass (I used a wine glass), layer 1/3 cup pudding mixture, 2 Tbsp sliced strawberry mixture, 6 cookies, and 1/4 cup pudding mixture.  Top with remaining sliced strawberry mixture.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.  Just before serving, top with remaining whipped topping and if desired, garnish with whole strawberries.
Nutritional Information
Calories: 198
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g (1 g saturated)
Trans fat: 0 g
Cholestrol: 6 mg
Carbs: 39 g
Sodium: 365 mg
Fiber: 1 g
Sugar: 22 g

Source: Woman's World, March 2010 p. 33