Saturday, February 21, 2009

Creamy Tomato Sausage Skillet

This is a simple one pan meal that is easy to whip up on a weeknight after a long day at work. Corey raved about this meal--he couldn't get enough of it. I love the creaminess of the sauce, it's different than the usual tomato sauce and is a nice way to switch things up without going for a rich and heavy sauce like Alfredo. Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Sausage Skillet
Serves 4 - 6

2 cups uncooked pasta (I used small shells, you could also use rigatoni, penne, etc.)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1/2 large green pepper, finely diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, finely diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
1/4 c water
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain completely.
2. Meanwhile, cook sausage in 10 inch skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add pepper and onions and cook until sausage is no longer pink.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add soup, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and seasonings. Stir in cooked pasta. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes or until sauce is heated through and thickened. Garnish with cheese.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stuffed French Toast

Lest you all think that all I ever make it desserts, here is a breakfast recipe! Ok, so it's sweet and delicious and could probably work as a dessert, but it's technically a breakfast food (work with me here). This recipe is perfect for adapting, the possibilities are endless!

Stuffed French Toast

12 slices french bread (sliced 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 cup nutella
2 bananas, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
whipped cream and berries for topping

1. In large bowl beat eggs, milk, powdered sugar, and cinnamon.
2. Spread nutella thinly on one side of each slice of bread. Top half of the bread slices with bananas, and top with another bread slice to form a "sandwich."
3. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Dip each sandwich into egg mixture and cook in skillet for 4-5 minutes on each side, until crisp and brown.
4. Top with berries and cream. Enjoy!

*Feel free to experiment with the fillings--raspberry cream cheese and raspberry jam are great together, as are honey nut cream cheese and bananas, thinly sliced strawberry and plain cream cheese, peanut butter and bananas or maple syrup, etc. They're also great topped with strawberry cheesecake ice cream...not that I had that for breakfast today or anything...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Raspberry Chocolate Souffles

Tonight I decided I wanted to make something special for Valentine's Day, so I thought I would whipped this up. It is adapted from the cover picture on the book The Art & Soul of Baking. I've been eying the recipe since Christmas and I was glad to finally have an excuse to make it. I was certainly not disappointed; it was great, and a fun, festive dessert and I'd definitely recommend it. Did I mention it was super easy?

Raspberry Chocolate Souffles
Makes 2 souffles

2 dark chocolate dove promises, finely chopped
2 tsp. heavy whipping cream
3 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 tsp. plus 1 1/2 Tb. sugar divided
1/8 tsp. pure almond extract
1 large egg white
fresh whipping cream, for garnish
fresh raspberries, for garnish
butter and sugar, for greasing ramekins.

1. Melt chopped chocolate and whipping cream in microwave on high for 25 seconds. Stir well until completely melted. Move to freezer for 15 - 30 minutes or until firm. Form into 2 small balls
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and sugar 2 small ramekins.
3. Puree raspberries (including juices) in mini chopper for 30 seconds, until pureed. Push puree through small strainer over small bowl. Press well against strainer with spoon to ensure that all juice makes it through the strainer. Discard seeds. Stir 1/2 tsp. sugar and almond extract into berry puree.
4. Whip egg white in small bowl with hand mixer until peaks begin to form. Slowly add remaining sugar and beat until very stiff peaks form.
5. Fold a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of egg mixture into raspberry puree until completely mixed. Add raspberry mixture to remaining egg whites and fold until no more white streaks are visible.
6. Place a quarter of the souffle mixture in each ramekin. Top with one truffle each. Divide remaining souffle mixture between the two ramekins. Level with a flat spatula.
7. Bake for 13 - 16 minutes, until souffle rises above rim, top is browned, and center is firm to the touch. Serve immediately with fresh whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

Pie flavored cupcakes. What could be better than pie + cupcakes? These are amazing, the picture really doesn't do them justice. I created them for a co-worker who loves banana cream pie and me who loves cupcakes. Yum!

Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. (4 serving size) sugar free vanilla or banana cream pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 pkg. (4 serving size) banana cream pudding mix
3 cups heavy whipping cream
2-3 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2-3 bananas, sliced
3 graham crackers, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with cupcake papers.
2. Beat cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, oil, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup milk with electric beat until combined. Beat 2 minutes. Divide mixture evenly between cupcake tins.
3. Bake cupcakes for 20 - 25 minutes. Move to cooling rack and cool completely.
4. Beat whipping cream, 2-3 tsp. vanilla, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in bowl of large electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
5. Mix banana cream pudding mix and 1 1/2 cups milk until well blended. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream.
6. With pastry bag fitted with large flower end, pipe banana cream filling into cupcakes, dividing evenly between the 24 cupcakes (it's ok if it leaks out of the top of the cupcake a little).
7. Pipe whipping cream over tops of cupcakes. Top with 1 or 2 banana slices each, and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fresh Peach Cake with Caramel Sauce

I've had this recipe bookmarked on google reader for months, and I've just been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make it. Fresh peaches don't tend to be very good during the winter (or a very good price), but I found some good looking ones for a great price last week and immediately thought of this recipe. I whipped it up for dessert tonight and I was not disappointed. This was delicious! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, even if you have to wait for a couple months to get fresh peaches. Trust me, it's worth the wait. I halved the recipe and baked it in 6 mini bundt cake pans for cute individual desserts.

Fresh Peach Cake


1 1/2 cups sugar (or use part Splenda and part sugar)
2 eggs + 2 egg whites
3/4 cup oil
1 1/3 cups mashed peaches
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup finely diced fresh peaches

Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. flour
1/2 cup butter
2 egg yoks
2/3 cup evaporated milk or 1/2 cup whipping cream + 3 Tb. skim milk
2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

fresh whipped cream
fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan, 2 loaf pans, or 12 mini bundt pans (about 1 cup each).
2. Beat eggs, sugar, and oil with electric mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add mashed peaches and mix until combined. Add flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in diced peaches.
3. Pour into greased pan and bake for 30 - 35 minutes (20 minutes for mini bundt pans) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately invert onto cooling rack.
4. Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in medium saucepan. Stir well with whisk. Boil over low heat until thickened and brown, stirring well (don't leave it unattended or it will burn). Cool slightly.
5. Serve cake topped with caramel sauce and garnished with whipped cream and sliced peaches.

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