Thursday, May 31, 2012

Peanut Butter Sauce

Have you ever heard of such a title?  Peanut Butter Sauce.  Um, yes please.  Whatever it is, I'll have some.

I saw this recipe in Southern Living and I very slightly adapted it to be what I wanted it to be.  Read: I used creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy.

Just keepin' it real here in Pithy's Kitchen.

Texture is a thing with me.  Ice cream sauces must be smooth.  So smooth I made this.

We ate this on vanilla ice cream.  But I would be all for a brownie sundae with this sauce on top.  Did I even need to say that?

Oh, and if anyone tries it with the fat-free sweetened condensed milk, I would love to know about it.  I haven't had the nerve to try the fat-free stuff yet.  The regular stuff is so good; why fix it if it ain't broke.  But still, I'd like to know.

Peanut Butter Sauce
Slightly adapted from Southern Living

1 1/3 cup marshmallows (if you use the big ones, really compress them into the measuring cup to make an accurate measurement)
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Melt the marshmallows and sweetened condensed milk together over low heat, stirring often (the marshmallows will burn easily).  Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and corn syrup until combined.  Serve warm.  Stores in the refrigerator for several weeks; reheat before serving.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Couscous with Zucchini

I haven't cooked much lately.  I'm having an issue with food (you know it's serious when I'm having a food issue).

Here's the thing.  Baby Bear is occupying every speck of space in my torso.  Thus, leaving no room for anything else (like breathing or eating more than two bites at a meal).

So eating is not so fun right now.  The other day I ate a carton of yogurt for a snack and was stuffed for hours.

Did you know that couscous is the smallest pasta?  True.
And I've got 2 months + to go.

Couscous is done!  Ready to be fluffed with a fork.

But I did make this the other night.  And my husband ate it with fish and mango salsa.  And he liked it.

I'm not complaining.  Carrying a baby is a woman's divine privilege.  I'm just explaining the lack of recipes coming out of my kitchen.

But this is a good one and I hope you try it.  Especially since some of you are fixin'* to have beaucoup de** zucchini growing in your garden.

*Southern for "getting ready to"
**French for "much" (I think)

Couscous with Zucchini

1 T olive oil
1 T butter

1 zucchini, diced
1/2 onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp saffron (optional)

1 cup chicken stock
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Heat the oil and butter in a medium pan.  Saute the zucchini and onions for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until tender.  Add the garlic, cumin, salt pepper and saffron (if using).  Stir well and cook another minute.  Add the stock and couscous.  Bring to a boil, cover and remove the pan from the heat.  Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes.  Remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork.  Stir in the Parmesan and pine nuts.  Serve at room temperature.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cream Cheese Danish

Wow.  I don't know what to say.  Other than to tell you that this danish is awesome.

Cream Cheese Danish with Glaze...ready to be cut into little squares!
What's not to like about a layer of crescent rolls, a layer of cream cheese filling, and another layer of crescent rolls?  Oh, and then you cover it with glaze.

I love seamless crescent rolls.  The doughboy is a genius.
That's right.  It's even better than it sounds.  Serve it at room temp, because it's just too rich to serve warm!  You could probably also serve it chilled, though I've not done it that way...I think it would be good!

First layer of crescent rolls.
And are you even going to believe this?  I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese.

The filling: egg, vanilla, sugar, sour cream and cream cheese.
You'll probably never hear those words from me again.

The top layer of crescent dough, rolled over the cream cheese filling.
But it totally worked in this recipe.

Baked to perfection, ready to glaze! And then eat.  Yum.
It's versatile, it's sweet, it's EASY, it's just plain delicious.

Cheese Danish

2 8-oz. tubes crescent roll sheets
2 8 oz. packages 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 T sour cream
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Juice 1/2 lemon
2-3 T milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and stretch to fill the bottom of the dish.  Beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, egg, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.  Evenly spread over the crescent roll crust.  Top filling with the second tube of crescent dough.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Whisk together the glaze ingredients.  Allow the danish to cool for about 15 minutes before spreading the glaze on top.  Cool to room temperature before slicing into small squares.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mango-Cucumber Salsa

Hello, summer.

Hello, 93 degrees.

Hello, broken A/C.

This, my friends, is summer on a plate.  Or on a chip.  Or on a spoon.  Whatever your vehicle, get it in your mouth.

I was totally copying Qdoba on this recipe, since I'm obsessed with their mango salsa.  And this stuff is just as good.

In the spirit of full disclosure, mangoes are a pain to peel and chop.  The pit in the middle is usually more than half of the whole mango.  It's a very weird thing.  But totally worth the time and juice that you'll squirt on yourself.

We ate it on seared salmon.  I loved the way it looked.

Want to see that again?

And we scooped it with chips.  Blue ones, for added color.  Or something like that.

But it would be great on grilled chicken or a salad (like at Qdoba).  Yum.

Crisp and sweet and fresh and clean.  Make it soon.

Mango-Cucumber Salsa

4 mangoes, peeled and diced
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 small tomato or 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced small
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped fine
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional if you like a little heat)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes, depending on the size and juiciness)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add the the jalapeno if you like a little heat.  I added the whole pepper and it was a little too spicy for my kids; next time I'll just use 1/2.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend.  Serve with fish, chicken, chips or as a salad dressing.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Party Punch

Remember this party?

Well, here's the overdue punch recipe.  I'm not a big punch person, and I love this stuff.

It's made from all real, actual juice.  And it's not too sweet.  Delish.  Make it for your next party.

Party Punch
Slightly adapted from Southern Living

Two 46-oz. cans pineapple juice
6 cups orange juice with some pulp
4 cups cranberry juice with a hint of lime 
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

Mix together all ingredients.  Chill until cold.  Stir again before serving.  Serve in punch glasses.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Queso Dip

I'm one step closer to creating my own Qdoba experience at home.

You know Qdoba's queso.  Please tell me you do.  It's delicious.  Creamy, a little spicy, and mostly just cheesy.

Queso is the one thing that Qdoba has on Chipotle.  Is that blasphemous to say?  I still love you best, Chipotle.

Love this stuff.  And this is pretty close to Qdoba's.

I was having a salsa attack the other day.  So I made:

Tomatillo Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Red Salsa

Guacamole (not salsa, but close enough)

And to go with the salsa:

Cilantro-Lime Rice and

Lime Chicken

And I added this queso dip to our usual Qdoba-at-home chicken-rice-salsa meal.

Yum is really all I can say.

Now who wants to come over and help me eat Mexican?

Queso Dip
Adapted from Paula Deen

1 T butter
1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, grated
10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, mostly drained
1 lb. white American cheese, grated or chopped into small pieces
1/2-3/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Saute onion and garlic for about 5-7 minutes, until onion softens.  Stir in the tomatoes.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Stir frequently over low heat until cheese is melted and dip is creamy and smooth.  Add a little more milk if the dip seems too thick.  Remember that it will thicken as it sits.  Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

I saw these wraps in the grocery store and was inspired!

To make buffalo chicken wraps, that is.  These wraps are very healthy - whole wheat, multi-grain, high-fiber and high-protein.  And they passed the test: my husband liked them.

So I took something pretty unhealthy (buffalo wings) and turned it into a healthy wrap full of veggies.  (Please don't expect this type of recipe transformation out of me ever again.  Thank you.)

The only thing bad is the blue cheese dressing.  And what are wings without blue cheese???

Answer: not worth eating.

These were yummy: all the flavors of buffalo wings and celery sticks dipped in blue cheese turned into a quick & easy weeknight dinner full of vegetables and buffalo-y flavor.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

4 flatbread wraps or large tortillas (I used Flatout Multi-Grain Flatbread)
3-4 grilled or sauteed chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
1 1/2 cups lettuce, sliced thin
1/2 English cucumber, sliced into thin sticks
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
Blue cheese dressing, for serving

Toss the chicken strips with the buffalo sauce.  Make four wraps using all ingredients.  Serve with blue cheese dressing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Trix Treats

It's Monday and it's raining.

And I saw this recipe on the internet.  On about eight different sites.  It was beckoning me.

I just love the way the colorful balls look, draped in marshmallow!  How cute!  Right?

So I made it for the kids.  Sacrifices like this one are just part of being a mother.  And because I have a problem with sugar cereal.

Go forth and make these treats.  Even if there are no children in sight.

Trix Treats

4 T butter
1 lb. bag marshmallows
9 cups Trix cereal

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Stir in the marshmallows over medium-low heat and stir until the marshmallows are melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal.  Press into a greased 9x13 dish.  When cool, cut into squares.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Georgia Cracker Candy

I stopped by the grocery tonight to pick up a few things.  These things jumped in my cart:

And when I got home, I noticed something disturbing.

Do you see what it says on the side of the bag?

Why yes.  Yes, it does actually say, "Easy to EAT!"

I mean, can I even tell you what a relief this is.  Finally, a candy that is actually easy to eat!

Since I normally have such a hard time eating candy.

That's right.  If there's one thing America needs in a time like this, it's a candy that is Easy to EAT!

Enough already.  Now I'll show you something else that is easy to eat.

This stuff.  Know what's under that sea of melted chocolate?

Zesta crackers.

Covered with homemade caramel.

I call it cracker candy.  You can call it crack candy if you like.

I don't know a whole lot about crack, but it's pretty addictive from what I hear.  And this candy might even be more addictive than crack itself.

One thing is for sure: Butterfinger's got nothing on Pithy.  I guarantee this stuff is easier to eat than Butterfinger Bites.  Go see for yourself.

Georgia Cracker Candy
Very Slightly Adapted from Paula Deen

37-38 saltine crackers
2 sticks butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp almond extract
4 4.25-oz. Symphony milk chocolate bars

Line a 10x15 baking sheet with foil then spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Place the crackers, salty side down, in rows.  You may have to break a couple in half to get them to fit on the ends.

In a saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 1/2 minutes.  Pour over the crackers and bake in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and lay the whole chocolate bars on top.  Let it sit for a minute while the caramel melts the chocolate, then take a knife or spatula and spread the chocolate evenly over the whole pan.  Cool completely then chill until hard before breaking into bark.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cheesecake Bar Cookies

I just love cheesecake.  Who doesn't, right?

It must be creamy and it must have a yummy crust.  Check.

AND - these bars don't crack on top like cheesecake usually does.  Bonus.

Crazy simple, and the ground pecans in the crust and the almond extract in the filling make these bars.

Thanks, Paula Deen, for the awesome idea.

Oh, and you'll want to try the raspberry sauce on top of these bars.  You'll just die.  Die.

And they're pretty outstanding just by themselves, too.

Cheesecake Bar Cookies
Adapted from Paula Deen

6 oz. pecans (about 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
3 eggs

In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind the pecans.  Add the flour, brown sugar and butter and pulse until the ingredients stick together and are well combined.  Press lightly into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and extract.  Add the eggs and beat until smooth, but do not overbeat or too much air will incorporate into the mixture.  Pour over crust and spread evenly.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 24-25 minutes until the filling is still slightly jiggly in the middle.  It will firm up as it cools.  Cool completely then chill before serving.  Delicious with raspberry sauce.