Monthly Archives: January 2013

One Mug Brownie

One mug brownie from LaurenFoodE

Do you ever REALLY want a brownie, but the thought of baking up a whole batch is just exhausting? Plus you don’t want the temptation of a huge plate of brownies sitting in your kitchen, begging you to eat the entire lot? Well then have I got the answer for you… a brownie you can make in ONE MINUTE in a MUG in your MICROWAVE. You’re welcome.

On the menu:
One mug brownie
Serves 1

4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water

In a regular sized mug, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add vegetable oil and water and stir until completely combined, no lumps. Put the mug in the microwave and cook on high for one minute. Since microwaves vary, you may need 10 – 15 seconds more. The center of the brownie should still be a tiny bit undercooked.

Let cool for a few minutes. Devour.

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Chicken Marsala

Chicken marsala from LaurenFoodE
I’ve been told my strength is sauces. My Caesar salad dressing is divine, my vodka sauce could make grown men cry, and last night I perfected another: marsala. There is something so rich and deep about this sauce, it tastes like you cooked for hours to achieve it. Truth: it takes 45 minutes tops.

Note: this is a recipe that looks kind of involved, but it’s really not. Just read the whole thing before you start so you know which step comes when, and so your whole meal finishes at the same time.

On the menu:
Chicken marsala
Serves 2 – 3 (truth be told, this was too much for just 2 of us but if you’re serving 2 big eaters, then this might be perfect for 2)

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half length wise and pounded to 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 large shallot, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
10 oz. white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound angel hair pasta

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling (for pasta).

In a small saucepan, boil chicken stock uncovered until reduced to 1/2 cup. Once cooked down, turn off heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add mushrooms, sage, salt and pepper and cook for around 6 – 8 minutes or until mushrooms have cooked down. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a shallow dish, spread out the flour. Liberally salt and pepper each piece of chicken and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook each piece of chicken for 1 – 2 minutes, just until browned on each side. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and finish the breasts off in the oven, baking for 7 – 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the same large skillet the mushrooms cooked in, add marsala wine and bring to a simmer, scraping off all the little brown bits from the shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. [Now is a good time to start cooking your angel hair pasta!] Add reduced broth, cream, and mushrooms and stir. Let liquid simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Plate pasta, then chicken, then top off with sauce. Serve hot.

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Mexican Meatball Soup

Mexican meatball soup from LaurenFoodE
Last week I spent a full day on the couch due to a wicked case of the tummy aches. Ironically, the Food Network has never appealed to me more. I watched a full day of cooking shows and was actually quite inspired (Little known fact about me: I’m not a fan of cooking shows… I find them quite boring. Give me Kardashians any day.).

In a particularly lackluster episode of Mexican Made Easy, there was a little shining gem of inspiration: Mexican meatball soup. The perky host is one of those people with no trace of a Mexican accent until they’re pronouncing Mexican words and then they’re fresh off the boat from Tijuana. “We’re going to start this taco dish with a TORRRR-TTTEEEEYAAAA!”

Anyway. This soup looked flavorful, easy, and perfect for dinner on a day like yesterday where it finally felt like winter in New York (oh hello there snot-freezing winds, how I’ve missed you). I grilled up some fresh bread and cheddar for grilled cheese and voila: dinner.

On the menu:
Mexican meatball soup
Makes 8 servings
Adapted from Mexican Made Easy

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
8 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Mexican oregano (or regular oregano if it’s all you have)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 Yukon gold potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook onion for around 5 minutes, or just until the onion starts to cook but before it turns translucent. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, combine (by hand) the onion, ground beef, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, rice*, salt, and cilantro until completely combined. Roll into 1-inch balls, wetting your hands with a little water if the ingredients start to stick to your fingers. The mixture should make around 25 meatballs.

In the same large stockpot you cooked the onions in, add vegetable stock, tomato paste, potato, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the meatballs, zucchini, and parsnip. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for around 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Add salt and pepper as needed.

*Note: I know what you’re thinking, raw rice in the meatballs? But it does cook through completely and it is delicious! Promise.

 

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Double Chocolate Cookies

LaurenFoodE double chocolate cookies
I could’ve died for a cookie last night. The BF and I have gone on a major HBO binge and have been watching entire series worth of HBO shows in one go (I’m talking 5 seasons of The Wire in 2 weeks… it’s a sickness, really). And is any TV-watching binge complete without snacks? Of course not. But did we have any freshly baked cookies in the house? No. No, we did not. So tonight, while we embark on the final episodes of Season 1 of Game of Thrones (it took me awhile to get into, but it is soooo good… and those who are attracted to females will like it because there are topless ladies in every. single. episode. yeesh.), I will be eating my weight in chocolate cookies. You should, too.

On the menu:
Double chocolate cookies
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, blend together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a separate smaller bowl, sift (or whisk) together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix by hand to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir together.

Drop by Tbsp sized spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9 – 11 minutes. Cookies will be soft when you remove them from the oven, but careful not to overbake or they will dry out. Let cool briefly on the cookie sheet and then finish cooling on a rack.

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Taco Seasoning

LaurenFoodE taco seasoning
This is one of those posts you should bookmark and reference any time you’re making tacos. If you’re anything like me you accumulate spices like hoarders accumulate cats. This means you can easily make your own taco seasoning whenever the mood strikes you, instead of buying those pre-packaged Ortega thingamajigs in the grocery store. Homemade over store bought? Win.

On the menu:
Taco seasoning
Makes enough seasoning for 1 pound of ground meat

1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can add more if you like your tacos spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk spices together in a small bowl. Cook ground meat (such as beef or turkey) in a skillet with a little oil over medium heat. Just before meat is completely cooked through, add spice mixture. Cook until done and serve.

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Steak Salad with Blue Cheese and Tomatoes

Steak salad by LaurenFoodE
This dinner seems like a no-brainer but I needed to see it on another blog to make me think, “Oh yeah… that’s different!” It is so easy, relatively cheap, and takes all of 15 minutes to prepare. You’re welcome.

On the menu:
Steak salad with blue cheese and tomatoes
Serves 2

1 lb. flank steak
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
6 cups arugula (or however much you want – this is the bed for the salad)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan until the oil shimmers. Cook steak on each side for 4 – 5 minutes. Once cooked, move steak off the heat and cover with a foil tent. Let meat rest for at least 15 minutes. Slice steak with a sharp knife into slices, cutting against the grain of the meat.

Plate the arugula and top with sliced steak, tomatoes, and blue cheese.

Dressing:
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients and pour over salad.

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting by LaurenFoodE
I don’t have to tell you about my problem with late night cakes. There really should be some sort of “Late Night Cakes Anonymous” group or something. In any case, it’s putting a reeeeeal damper on Project Lose That Holiday Weight. I may or may not have gained a small amount of weight due to excessive holiday eating (namely chimichangas and In N Out and Jack In the Box, all of which I blame on The BF and his SoCal roots). And I made one of those stupid New Year’s resolutions that I was going to get healthy in 2013, finally join the gym across the street from me, and stop eating as if I was hosting an un-televised version of Man Vs. Food.

But here’s a short story about me: The BF, being a stand up comic, works weekends and a lot of nights I find myself alone with nothing to keep me warm but a kitchen just begging to be baked in. My pantry had pumpkin, my fridge had cream cheese, and I had a recipe and a dream. You know what that means… pumpkin cake.

On the menu:
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting
Makes one 9 x 13 cake

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together all ingredients with an electric mixer until combined. When cake is completely cooled, spread frosting evenly over top. Refrigerate cake until serving.

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