Monthly Archives: April 2014

Carrot Cake Mini Whoopie Pies

I made these carrot cake mini whoopie pies for Easter dessert, and they were a huge hit! The original Cooking Light recipe calls them sandwich cookies, but for all intents and purposes, they’re whoppie pies. The kids gobbled them up, despite the fact that they were very obviously full of veggies. The fact that there was delicious cream cheese frosting oozing out from the middle probably didn’t hurt. I will absolutely be making these again (though next time I am doubling the recipe)!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

2 cups shredded carrot
2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp grated orange rind
3/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg
4.5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/8 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Combine carrot and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in a bowl; toss to coat. Place carrot mixture in a fine mesh sieve; let stand to drain for 10 minutes. Discard liquid.

3. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds or until melted. Add oil, rind, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and egg; stir with a whisk until well combined.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, remaining brown sugar (about 1/2 cup), cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add carrot mixture and butter mixture; stir until just combined. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets for a total of 28 cookies (14 per baking sheet); gently pat dough down to form 2-inch circles. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until set. Remove pans from oven; let stand 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on a wire rack.

5. Combine cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar; beat at low speed 1 minute or until well combined (do not overbeat). Spread about 1 tablespoon icing on flat side of 1 cookie; top with another cookie, flat side down. Repeat the procedure with remaining cookies and filling.


Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunchwich

I was flipping channels the other day and came across an episode of Sandwich King on the Food Network that was all about the brunchwich, a hearty gourmet version of your average breakfast sandwich that blends both breakfast and lunch flavors … hence the name.

Call it inspiration or just plain hunger, but I practically ran to the kitchen and got to work on my own variation. I give you the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunchwich, one of the best sandwiches I have ever made! And the possibilities are endless—I can’t wait to see what other combinations I can come up with.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunchwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 eggs
6 slices thick-cut bacon
4 slices provolone cheese
1 small tomato, sliced
1 cup spring mix greens
2 hamburger buns
1 tbsp butter
Salt
Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the buns open faced on a cookie sheet and butter each half. Top each side with a slice of cheese. Toast buns in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess grease.

3. Pour grease from the skillet into a coffee mug and set aside for disposal once cooled. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.

4. Using the same skillet that you used for the bacon, fry each egg over medium (solid whites and a still liquid but thicker yolk).

5. Assemble each brunchwich: 3 slices of bacon, 2-3 slices of tomato, ½ cup, fried egg, salt and pepper to taste.


Indian Chicken Curry à la the Eastern Spice Company

I love to make and introduce my family to diverse ethnic dishes. I think food is the perfect gateway to learning about other cultures. Growing up, we didn’t venture much outside of lo mein or spanakopita when it came to ethnic foods, mostly because there just wasn’t much else around.

Until I moved to the DC area 11 years ago, I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know what shawarma, pho, falafel, or bi bim bap was, let alone ever eaten them. I’m excited that my girls will grow up with such a variety of cuisines at their fingertips and will, hopefully, see that delicious food is at the heart of every culture and that we aren’t as different as we may appear.

Indian Chicken Curry

The one thing that makes it difficult for me to cook outside of my comfort zone is the array of dish-specific, and often expensive, spices that you need to make a recipe truly authentic. So when the folks at Eastern Spice Company asked me to try out one of their spice blends, I jumped at the opportunity.

Eastern Spice Company specializes in bringing authentic eastern flavors into your kitchen one dish at a time. Simply choose a dish from their website and they will send you the exact amount and blend of spices needed to make the recipe, which you can conveniently pull up via the QR code on the tin. What I love most about this concept is that I was able to make a delicious Indian dish at home without having to spend a small fortune in the spice aisle.

I made the Indian Chicken Curry (Tamatur Murghi). It was a bit spicy for my three year old, but my husband and I both LOVED it. The recipe was easy to follow and completely doable for a busy week night—the entire thing took maybe 30 minutes total. The best part is, with the spices provided, all of the other ingredients are easily found in any grocery store in any town across the United States.

At $4 a tin (i.e. $4 per meal), these spice blends probably aren’t the most economical if you cook Indian food on a regular basis. But if you’re like me and you want to try something different, I would absolutely recommend giving one of the Eastern Spice Company’s blends a try. Use the code ESC10 for 10% off your purchase and get cooking!

The views and opinions presented in this post are my own. Other than a complimentary tin of spices, I did not receive any compensation for this post.


Southwestern Chicken Soup

It’s amazing the dishes you can create from cleaning out your pantry. My Stepmom threw a bunch of ingredients in a pot one day, and the result was a Southwestern Chicken Soup that has quickly become one of our family favorites. The best part about this dish is that it’s largely made from pantry staples, which makes it super easy to make on the fly.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup

3 large chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp dried cilantro (fresh is great if you have it)
1 can salsa verde
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 bag frozen corn
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

1. Boil the chicken for 30-45 minutes or until done. Allow to cool on a plate and then shred each piece of chicken with a fork.

2. In a large pot, combine all ingredients through frozen corn and cook on medium for 45 minutes to an hour (you can also cook on medium-low for 2 hours).

3. Laddle soup into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.