Thursday, March 17, 2016

Meatball stuffed Buns


Do you guys remember these little beauties?  I just got an email telling me that the Meatball Stuffed Buns made it to the ListsForAll.com Top 10 Best Appetizers list!  WooHoo!!!  So if you are new to the blog, and have never come across this fun little appetizer; or maybe you've forgotten about it.. you may want to check it out again!  :) 

They are super duper easy and make a great afterschool snack, or just a "some friends are coming over" snack for those of you who may not have kiddos.  Because who can resist an Italian meatball and warm mozzarella inside a bun dipped in warm marinara?  Ummm... not me!  Want to go all out and use your own homemade meatballs?  Be my guest.  But I'll show you the down and dirty "quickie" version using your favorite frozen meatballs - because this one is for busy moms.  Can I get an "Amen?"  

So hop on over to the link I've provided to the original recipe where I have provided the complete step-by-step photos to making these cuties, as well as a short YouTube video tutorial.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury golden layers biscuits - each pulled into 2 layers (or bun dough)
  • 10 frozen fully cooked italian style meatballs - thawed and cut in half
  • 5 sticks string cheese - cut each into 4 pieces each
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • garlic powder
  • cracked black pepper
  • marinara sauce

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Decadent Chocolate Truffles


Chocolate truffles are SOoooo easy to make.  You pay a fortune for them at a chocolate shop, but you certainly don't have to.  Gather together some fun friends and have a great time making these for someone you love.  You can flavor them with liqueur if you'd like, but we made ours straight up with easy-to-obtain pantry staples.  These make such special gifts or party favors.  You'll be super glad you did!  It's true, you can go out and buy the "store bought ones," but when you give a homemade gift like this, the recipient is always truly overjoyed! 

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Ingredients: (2 dozen)

  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp or 1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla 
  • various optional toppings of your choice
    • dark cocoa powder
    • chocolate candy coating
    • shredded coconut 
    • crumbled shortbread cookies
    • chopped pecans
    • colored sugar crystals
    • etc (be creative as you'd like) 

Step-by-Step:
In a medium sized bowl, combine 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1/2 cup room temperature (or slightly melted) butter.

 
In a medium (but heavy duty) pot, gently warm the 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream until it is at a simmer.  You will notice the bubbles start to form around the edges of the pot.  Here is where I will tell you to watch it carefully.  You do not want it to come to a boil.  You just want it heated.
Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and butter.  Whisk them together.  This is where the magic starts to happen.  :) 
 You can get someone to start whisking for you while you add the other stuff.  (It's not essential to have a helper, but it is a fun place to allow kids to help.)  Add in the 3/4 tsp of kosher salt, and the 1 tsp of vanilla.  
All at once, the mixture starts coming together... like magic.  It looks - divine.  It smells - divine!  It tastes - DIVINE! 
I just HAD to add these pictures in here.  I know they aren't clear, because the lens focused on the rim of the bowl.  But the camera captured more than that.  The looks on their faces tell the story here. The smell...... Mmmm.  The texture..... Oooooh when it all comes together at once.  This, my friends, is the fun of cooking with your kids.  :)

Now you can add it to a shallow dish that you have lined with plastic food wrap.  It can be a cookie sheet or a casserole dish or whatever you choose.  Sometimes teamwork is the best way to go here.
Spread it out into an even layer.

Allow it to cool in the fridge a couple of hours to overnight.  Then I sort of scored it with a pizza cutter so that I could get the same amount of ganache in each truffle.   
You need to work quickly, because your hands are warm.  Keep in in the cold pan while you are working.  Quickly roll them into a ball.
Set the balls out onto parchment paper when you've rolled them.  Now these need to go BACK into the fridge for about an hour before you dip them or roll them into anything. 
The simplest truffles resemble the truffle mushrooms, so they get rolled into dark chocolate cocoa powder. 
For the rest, just use your imagination.  I purchased some chocolate candy coating that you melt either over a double boiler or in the microwave, dipped them, then while they were still wet, sprinkled them with whichever topping we chose and allowed them to dry.  It's that simple. 
Then go out and buy a cute little box, add some gift wrap tissue, your beautiful truffles, and you are all set to make someone's day!

I hope you enjoyed this fabulous and easy recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  

Connect with me.     
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.


You can also visit my YouTube page to check out short cooking video tutorials.Here is an example of one forCoconut Lime Chicken!  YUM!!  Just click the picture and view it right in this page.
Here are some bonus recipes for you:
Happy Hour Pizza Rolls

Short Cut Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs

Yogurt Marinated Greek Style Chicken Gyros

Written Method:

Step-by-Step:
In a medium sized bowl, combine 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1/2 cup room temperature (or slightly melted butter).  In a separate medium (but heavy duty) pot, gently warm the 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream until it is at a simmer.  You will notice the bubbles start to form around the edges of the pot.  Here is where I will tell you to watch it carefully.  You do not want it to come to a boil.  You just want it heated. 

Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and butter.  Whisk them together.  This is where the magic starts to happen.  You can get someone to start whisking for you while you add the other stuff.  (It's not essential to have a helper, but it is a fun place to allow kids to help.)  Add in the 3/4 tsp of kosher salt, and the 1 tsp of vanilla.

Now you can add it to a shallow dish that you have lined with plastic food wrap.  It can be a cookie sheet or a casserole dish or whatever you choose. Spread it out into an even layer.  Allow it to cool in the fridge a couple of hours to overnight.  Then I sort of scored it with a pizza cutter so that I could get the same amount of ganache in each truffle.   You need to work quickly, because your hands are warm.  Keep in in the cold pan while you are working.  Quickly roll them into a ball.  Set the balls out onto parchment paper when you've rolled them.  Now these need to go BACK into the fridge for about an hour before you dip them or roll them into anything. 

The simplest truffles resemble the truffle mushrooms, so they get rolled into dark chocolate cocoa powder.  For the rest, just use your imagination. I purchased some chocolate candy coating that you melt either over a double boiler or in the microwave, dipped them, then while they were still wet, sprinkled them with whichever topping we chose and allowed them to dry.  It's that simple.  Then go out and buy a cute little box, add some gift wrap tissue, your beautiful truffles, and you are all set to make someone's day!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza

These work great for a variety of occasions - you need quick after school meals, your house has been invaded by teenagers, your family is going to sit around and have movie night?  You name it!  These are fun, easy, and the main components can be made ahead of time for quick assembly.

I personally love so many Thai dishes.  I just love the way the flavors come together, and this dish is no exception.  You get the full gamut of sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, some heat, and some cool all in the same bite! Mmmmm!  Flatbread is relatively easy to find these days in most grocery stores, but if you can't, you can use naan or even a pocketless pita bread for this this.  You can even ask your local pizza joint to sell you some dough and make your own pizza crust, or in a pinch perhaps break open one of those pizza-crust-in-a-can things and cook that for your dough before you start. Hey - this is not about stressing.  This is about having fun with your peeps!   


Ingredients:
Peanut Curry Sauce - (yield 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • (my personal favorite is Peter Pan Honey Roasted but use what makes you happy)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 5 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
Each Pizza
  • 1 square flatbread (approx 10" x 10")
  • 2 - 3 tsp peanut curry sauce
  • 2 - 3 slices fresh mozzarella, depending on size
  • 3 oz grilled or cooked chicken (covered in another tsp peanut sauce)
  • 1/4 cup total of mixed and yellow bell peppers 
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp cucumber matchsticks (no seeds)
  • ~ 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
  • ~ 1 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
** The peanut curry sauce can be made ahead of time.  It can be stored in the refrigerator in a closed container (such as a jar) for up to a week.  It's enough to make several pizzas.

Step-by-Step:
For the peanut curry sauce, all you do is combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  That's all folks!  :)

For the pizza, just assemble leaving the cold crunchy stuff until last.  Here we go:

We are starting off with a few ounces of cooked chicken.  This could be grilled/roasted/leftover chicken you have in the fridge.  So that it won't dry out, wrap in in some parchment or waxed paper to heat it up so that it will steam a bit. 
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Add a few spoons of the peanut curry sauce to the pieces of chicken in a small bowl.
Take some frozen peppers out of the freezer and pop them into the microwave.  Easy peezy!  They won't take long.  Maybe 45 seconds to a minute.
You'll  need to blog these guys dry afterwards, because they will give off a lot of water.  But the advantage of using the frozen peppers is that they break down really quickly.
 See what I mean?

Okay, grab a flatbread of your choice.  You can also use Naan or a pita bread.  Whatever you want. If you want to use a premade pizza crust, try that.  I throw mine in the panini grill first to get some nice grill marks on it; but you can also just put it in a skillet and heat both sides, or on your pizza stone.

Time to start assembly.
Spread some peanut curry sauce on the warm flatbread.  Notice, I am "building" my pizza on the backside of a cookie sheet turned upside down.  That means, when it's finished cooking, I'll be able to easily slide it off without having to worry about navigating the edge or lip of the cookie sheet. 
 Next, add some pieces of torn, fresh mozzarella.
Next, some of the chicken that has been bathing in the peanut curry sauce.

Next, add some strips of the pepper strips (which you have patted dry).
Okay, pop your pizza under the broiler.
It's done when the cheese gets ooey gooey and everything is hot and melty.  (I mean, how else can you describe it?)  Honestly though, everything is cooked, you are just needing everything to come together here. 
So......
We have all the hot components.  Now it's time to balance this out with the cold crunchy stuff.

We start off with cool, crisp cucumber matchsticks that have been rid of all the seeds.
Then we add the pan roasted, chopped peanuts.
And finally we finish off with some bright cilantro (or parsley if you aren't a cilantro person).  This gives a gorgeous Thai Chicken Pizza with a balance of sweet, spicy, smooth, crunchy, hot, cold. Mmmmmm!  And if you are thinking that a 10"x10" pizza wouldn't fill you up, you would be surprised!   

I hope you enjoyed this fabulous and easy recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

Connect with me.     
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.


You can also visit my YouTube page to check out short cooking video tutorials.Here is an example of one for Crawfish Monica!  YUM!!  Just click the picture and view it right in this page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you:






Written Method:
For the peanut curry sauce, all you do is combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  That's all folks!  :)

For the pizza, just assemble leaving the cold crunchy stuff until last.  Here we go:
We are starting off with a few ounces of cooked chicken.  This could be grilled/roasted/leftover chicken you have in the fridge.  So that it won't dry out, wrap in in some parchment or waxed paper to heat it up so that it will steam a bit.  Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside.  Add a few spoons of the peanut curry sauce to the pieces of chicken in a small bowl.

Take some frozen peppers out of the freezer and pop them into the microwave.  Easy peezy!  They won't take long.  Maybe 45 seconds to a minute.  You'll  need to blog these guys dry afterwards, because they will give off a lot of water.  But the advantage of using the frozen peppers is that they break down really quickly.

Okay, grab a flatbread of your choice.  You can also use Naan or a pita bread.  Whatever you want. If you want to use a premade pizza crust, try that.  I throw mine in the panini grill first to get some nice grill marks on it; but you can also just put it in a skillet and heat both sides, or on your pizza stone.

Time to start assembly.  Spread some peanut curry sauce on the warm flatbread.  Notice, I am "building" my pizza on the backside of a cookie sheet turned upside down.  That means, when it's finished cooking, I'll be able to easily slide it off without having to worry about navigating the edge or lip of the cookie sheet.   Next, add some pieces of torn, fresh mozzarella.  Next, some of the chicken that has been bathing in the peanut curry sauce.  Next, add some strips of the pepper strips (which you have patted dry).  Okay, pop your pizza under the broiler.  It's done when the cheese gets ooey gooey and everything is hot and melty.  (I mean, how else can you describe it?)  Honestly though, everything is cooked, you are just needing everything to come together here. 

So......We have all the hot components.  Now it's time to balance this out with the cold crunchy stuff.
We start off with cool, crisp cucumber matchsticks that have been rid of all the seeds.  Then we add the pan roasted, chopped peanuts.  And finally we finish off with some bright cilantro (or parsley if you aren't a cilantro person).  This gives a gorgeous Thai Chicken Pizza with a balance of sweet, spicy, smooth, crunchy, hot, cold. Mmmmmm!  And if you are thinking that a 10"x10" pizza wouldn't fill you up, you would be surprised!   

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