Brownie Dessert Pizza

I think that one of the best things I have ever did was to be a Pampered Chef Consultant. Being a consultant really motivated me to increase my culinary skills and inspired me not to be afraid to experiment by trying new recipes. This recipe was tweaked from one of the recipes Pampered Chef published in one of their cookbooks. I cheated on the recipe using a store-bought brownie mix as the base with made a cream cheese filling and fresh strawberries I had on hand. I loved the look and the dessert was a hit for a party I had on Memorial weekend.

Brownie Dessert Pizza, created 05/30/2010

1 box of Ghirardelli Brownie Mix plus the ingredients as listed on the prepared mix box
Parchment Paper
1 Large Round 15” pizza stone or a round pizza sheet
8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese softened
¼ cup powdered sugar
Handfuls of fresh strawberries, sliced – or use any fruit that you like with chocolate
Melted Semi-Sweet Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips

Prepare the brownie mix as per the instructions on the box. Cut the parchment paper to the shape of the pizza stone. Line the stone with the cut paper. Spread the brownie mixture on the parchment paper within 1” of the edges. It is important to use the parchment paper because it will help prevent the brownie mixture from seeping over the stone while in the oven cooking. Cook the brownies until center comes out clean on a toothpick about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Flip the brownie crust over onto a cooling stone and carefully remove the parchment paper, then flip it the round brownie crust back onto the stone or a nice plate to prepare for serving.

Mix the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar well and spread on the brownie pizza base within 1” of the edge. Layer cut strawberries evenly around the crust and then drizzle with melted chocolate. Enjoy!

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Karen’s Deviled Eggs

Why are they called deviled eggs? Here is a blurb from the internet. Today many other foods, including eggs and crab, are served “deviled.” To be considered deviled, a food has to have a kick from something like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers (Wikipedia, 2010).

I want to share a story that really happened when my sister and I lived in Florida. Every time when I make hard boiled eggs for deviled eggs, I think of my sister. My sister wanted to make egg salad for lunch and she did not know how to make hard boiled eggs. Instead of asking me, since I was in the same house with her, she decides to call long distance to Georgia to my cousin Mary to ask her how to make hard boiled eggs. She landed up talking to my cousin Mary for like 45 minutes racking up a $23.00 telephone bill. Go figure. So Karen, this recipe is named after you.

Karen’s Deviled Eggs
Created recipe on 04/04/2010

The day before:
12 eggs
A pot to hold 12 eggs
Water to cover all the eggs in the pot and some – water should be at least 2” from the top of the last egg in the pot
Add about 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I’m not sure why, my mom told me to – she says it helps the eggs from breaking)

Deviled Eggs1

Bring water to a boil; cook the eggs for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for at least 20 – 25 minutes. Run cooked eggs under cold water and peel while the eggs are still warm. Refrigerate until the next day.

The next day:
Half all 12 hard boiled eggs and pop out the yolks into a bowl
With fork, break apart the egg yolks until yolk is finely crumbled
3 to 4 table spoons mayonnaise (depends on the consistency may have to add 1 or 2 more)
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1 to 2 teaspoons mustard (you can use regular, Dijon, or spicy mustard)
Salt / Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s – I love the flavor)

Whip all ingredients with fork until creamy and blended well – adjust flavorings to suit taste. Spoon yolk into each ½’d white egg yolk and put on plate. Crack fresh pepper on eggs before serving.

Note: You can put the egg yolk mixture into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe the yolk into the ½’d white egg if you prefer.

Deviled Eggs 2

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Pappardelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine

This recipe was featured in one of my favorite cooking magazines called Cuisine at Home. The pictures seemed to show this recipe as warm, hearty and filling recipe for a chilly winter day. I made this to test with some friends and the results were just absolutely amazing. The chicken basically fell apart from the bone and the sauce had a rich aromatic flavor. I must have said this dish is just amazing about 100 times during dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I think the only thing I would change is the type of pasta that goes with this dish, maybe use a linguine or angel hair pasta because this type of pasta shown seemed so heavy for me.

Pappardelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine
Created recipe on 03/14/2010

Pappardelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wine

1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red wine (I used a Merlot)
½ cup all purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cut up chicken with skin and bone
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta diced
1 medium red onion diced
½ lb fennel bulb, cut into strips
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lb dry Pappardelle or any pasta

Sauté
In 2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms sliced – I used butter and baby Portobello mushrooms

Sauté mushrooms in butter in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, stirring often. When mushrooms are soft, they will give off liquid, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid evaporates.

Add
½ cup of red wine – I used Merlot – increase the heat to high until most of the wine evaporates. Take mushrooms out of pan and put in a bowl – set aside. Wipe the pan clean and return to stove top. Dredge chicken in flour and pepper and shake off the excess. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan and put the flour coated chicken and brown all sides over medium heat. Remove chicken from pan and put on plate. Set aside.

In the drippings from the chicken – add the pancetta – sauté until the pancetta begins to brown. Add the onion and fennel, cook until the onion becomes softened and the fennel becomes a light brown. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes more. Increase the heat to high and stir in the wine and sage. Remove from the heat and add the sautéed mushrooms.

Return the browned chicken back to the pan, cover and put in oven @ 325 degrees and cook for 45 min to an hour. Remove from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar. During the last 15 min of the chicken cooking prepare the pasta. Cook according to package directions and serve with chicken and mushroom sauce.

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Warm Apple-Almond Pastry

I made this recipe a lot for many of my Pampered Chef shows. This recipe was taken from one of the season’s best cookbooks that Pampered Chef sells. The warm apple-almond pastry is a light open-faced tart that brings a perfect sweet ending to a brunch or dinner. I made this today for a brunch and everyone loved it.

Warm Apple-Almond Pastry
Created recipe on 03/13/2010

1 cup sliced almonds, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
2 firm, red baking apples such as Jonathan
¼ cup apricot jam, warmed
Powdered sugar (optional)
Vanilla ice cream, frozen whipped topping (optional)

Warm Apple-Almond Pastry

Preheat oven to 400F.  Grate ¾ cup of the almonds using Deluxe Cheese Grater.  In Classic Batter Bowl, combine almonds, granulated sugar, flour, whole egg, egg yolk and almond extract; mix well and set aside. Unfold one pastry sheet onto lightly floured Large Round Stone. Roll to a 10-1/2” square using Baker’s Roller.  (Corners of pastry will touch edge of baking stone). Prick pastry with pastry tool.  Spread almond mixture evenly over pastry to within 1” of edge. Cut apples lengthwise in half; remove stems and seeds using Cook’s Corer.  Slice apple halves crosswise into ¼” thick slices using Utility Knife. Arrange slices in an overlapping pattern over almond mixture.  Using Pizza Cutter cut remaining pastry into nine 1” strips.  Moisten outer edges of dough with water. Arrange five of the strips diagonally over apples, twisting dough and pressing edges to seal; trim off extra dough. Arrange and press remaining four strips of dough around edge of pastry, forming an even border.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.  Cool at least 10 minutes. Spread warm jam over apples and pastry.  Place remaining almonds in Small Oval Baker; microwave on HIGH 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring after each 30-second interval.  Coarsely chop almonds using Food Chopper; sprinkle over pastry. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired; cut pastry into squares. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.
Yield: 12 servings.

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Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce

One of my favorite magazines Cuisine at Home featured a really cool recipe that I thought would be a great crowd pleaser – called Breakfast Kebabs. I made this for brunch today for a group of friends. The brunch was a hit and everyone loved the kebabs.

Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce
Created recipe on 03/13/2010

Breakfast Kebabs with Apple-Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce

1 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce
3 tablespoons apple jelly
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (12 ounce) package of chicken sausage with apples and maple syrup – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (16 ounce) package of bacon
1 (ounce) package of ham, cut into 1 inch pieces

I used all organic meat in this recipe. The original recipe called for pork sausage links but I like chicken sausage better. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie tray with aluminum foil and put a baking / cooling rack on it.

Mix the barbeque sauce with apple jelly and ground cinnamon and heat over low medium heat until sauce is warm.

Soak 10 inch long wood skewers in water for about 20 minutes so the wood does not burn in the oven. Thread the wood skewer with sausage pieces, bacon strips and ham pieces loosely on wood skewers and place on the cooking rack. Baste with barbeque sauce on all sides and roast the kebabs until meat is heated and bacon is thoroughly cooked about 50 to 65 minutes. Turn kebabs every 10 minutes and baste with more barbeque sauce. This makes 12 skewers – 2 per person.

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Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas

I created this recipe today as a backup plan. I had intended to make black bean plantain burritos but the plantains needed to be ripe and the store only had green ones. I decided to make Quesadillas of some kind but not knowing what. I wandered the grocery store trying to decide. I picked up some 2% Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella cheese, onions, baby Bella mushrooms and flour tortillas and all of a sudden an idea formed.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas
Created recipe on 02/10/2010

1 medium onion sliced into half moons
1-15 oz can of organic black beans drained and rinsed
1 pint of baby Bella mushrooms cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoons Cumin
½ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup low-fat mozzarella cheese shredded
¼ cup low-fat Monterey Jack cheese shredded
¼ cup low fat sharp cheddar cheese shredded
8 large flour tortillas

Slice a medium onion in half and then slice into half moon slices. In a sauté pan, with olive oil, add the onions. The onions need to be cooked for about 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized golden brown color. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until semi-soft. Add the black beans and cumin. Cook until beans are thoroughly heated and remove pan from the heat.

I have a quesadilla machine so I am able to make quesadillas with ease. If you do not have one a 10” skillet warmed will work just fine. Just need to put a plate on top of the quesadilla so that the cheese will melt evenly.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 1Make sure the quesadilla machine is hot.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 2Assemble the quesadilla as follows – flour tortilla, caramelized onion, mushroom and black bean filling, sprinkle with cheese mixture and another flour tortilla on top. Close the top of the quesadilla machine and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 3The cheese will melt and the flour tortillas will have a tan color.

Remove from the quesadilla machine and cut with a sharp knife into 6 – 8 wedges.

Serve with sour cream and salsa. Yum!

Caramelized Onion Baby Bella Quesadillas 4

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Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

This recipe was given to me by my friend’s mom. One of the best eggplant recipes I have ever had. I think she took this recipe from a Vegetarian magazine, just not sure what issue. It takes a little bit of preparation to make but it is worth all the effort. You will not be disappointed.

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana
Posted recipe on 02/10/2010

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound) or 2 medium sized eggplants
1-1/2 c ups Panko Japanese breadcrumbs (I used both types of bread crumbs fine and Panko and I prefer the Panko it has great flavor and the parmigiana was not so watery)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil sauce)
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese thinly sliced

Peel and slice the eggplant in ½” slices. Sprinkle salt on each slice and pile the cut eggplant into a colander for 30 minutes. This will draw the excess water out of the eggplant and prevents the dish from becoming watery.  Rinse and pat dry the sliced eggplant with paper towels.
Combine the bread crumbs, ¼ of the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Melt the 2 teaspoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip each eggplant into the egg mixture and then the breadcrumb / cheese mixture and fill the skillet without any overlapping. Fry each side until slightly brown. Repeat the process with butter and oil until all the eggplant slices are browned.

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana on tray

Spread ¼ cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of 9 x 13 stoneware or baking dish. Place one layer of eggplant slices on the sauce. Cover with half of the fresh mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over all the cheese. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese and repeat the layers ending with the Parmesan cheese. You can adjust the cheese amounts to your taste buds. I know that I added more Parmesan cheese to this recipe because I like the extra cheese and flavor.

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana Cooked In Stone

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Cooking Tip:
You can put extra slices of eggplant on wax paper lined cookie tray and freeze overnight. Then put in plastic freezer bags for storage and save for a rainy day to make this recipe again).

Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition in eggplant includes potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and several B-Complex vitamins.

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