Monday, March 31, 2014

Roasted Chili-Garlic Endive

Normally my biweekly CSA delivery comes with a big head or two of lettuce that we use for our regular lunch salads. This week, I received a little note in my box saying they ran out of lettuce and were giving me curly endive (also known as chicory) instead. It looks pretty much like lettuce, but when I tasted it, I realized it's pretty bitter (at least to me). I don't do raw bitter greens. But there was no way I was letting the endive go to waste. So, I did what I do with other veggies I don't love raw--roast them!

Roasting tones down the bitterness in the endive and generally mellows out the flavor. I added some crushed red pepper for heat and garlic-infused olive oil for yummy flavor. It may not look like much, but it really was delicious! And so healthy, too! I think this recipe (if you call it that, it's so simple) would also be good for kale and swiss chard--probably any of the greens you might not like to eat raw.

One thing that always surprises me--and that I want to warn you about--is how much these greens cook down. I used about 2 packed cups of greens, which filled a 9x13 pan about half-way up the side:

When roasted, it's barely 1/2 a cup!

You've been warned!

Roasted Chili-Garlic Endive
(Serves 1 as a side dish)

2 cups curly endive
1.5 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil (regular will work, too)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Tear endive into small pieces (2-3 inches or so) and place in a medium-sized bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over endive and sprinkle with crushed red pepper and salt. Toss to coat evenly.
Spread endive out in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
Roast at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until soft and browned around the edges, stirring halfway through.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Duo of Chocolate Desserts with Milky Way and 3 Musketeers

#shop, #EatMoreBites

I have got a treat (well, two treats) in store for you today: 3 Musketeers® S'mores Pie and Milky Way Simply Caramel® Cheesecake - both using the new 3 Musketeers Bites and Simply Caramel Bites. Why a duo of desserts today, you ask? Isn't one enough? Not when my parents are coming to visit! They always take on projects around the house while they're here, but I still try to make it feel like a vacation for them by planning a few day trips and, of course, feeding them yummy desserts! (I don't know about you, but for me, it's not a vacation unless there's dessert. And wine...)

To prepare for their visit, I headed out to Walmart so I could stock up on my dessert supplies and everything else I needed (like cleaning supplies - oh how I turn into a cleaning machine when company comes!). As part of the work I do with #CollectiveBias, I was asked to try out the new 3 Musketeers and Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites, which were a great fit for my dessert plans. I found them right off the bat in the candy aisle:

#shop, #EatMoreBites

They were situated along with all of the other mini candy bars. But unlike a lot of mini candies that are individually wrapped, these bites come in a convenient zip package all unwrapped for you. I have to say, I love this concept. Being able to grab just a few bite-sized pieces out of the package makes baking (or having a little post-shopping snack, eh hem) so much easier than having to unwrap and cut up larger candy bars. I know that doesn't seem like it should be hard, but they always seem to stick to the knife and the chocolate flakes off and makes a mess. These bites are a great no-muss, no-fuss solution (not to mention yummy!)

After I found those, I went on to get the rest of my dessert ingredients, cleaning supplies and of course, plenty of tea for my Irish mother. (Gotta have regular British Blend and decaf so you can have a cup at all times of the day!)

Once I got home, it was time to get to the good stuff -- the desserts!

#shop, #EatMoreBites

I plan to serve this Simply Caramel Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce as my first dessert when my parents arrive tomorrow. I thought it would be a great way to celebrate my father's birthday, which was this past weekend. My dad has been scaling back on eating flour and grains, so I used a nut crust for this cheesecake--which also happens to make it gluten-free!

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The second dessert, the 3 Musketeers Bites S'mores Pie, will be more for my mom (and me!) throughout the week as we need a little something sweet after dinner that's super easy to put together for just 1 or 2 people.(Seriously, it takes less than 15 minutes from prep to eat.) These are a sugar-bomb delight, so be sure whoever you serve it to really likes sweet desserts (as I happen to).

Both of the recipes are below. If you like them and want to give them a try (which you should!), you can get some great coupons right now to use at Walmart:
#shop, #EatMoreBites

Also be sure to join the #EatMoreBites Twitter Party on Friday, March 14, from 1:00-2:00 PM EST for a chance to win $550 in Walmart Gift Cards!

Simply Caramel Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce {Gluten-Free}
(Makes 1 6-inch cheesecake; double recipe for a 9-10 inch)

1 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. sugar

2 packages (8 oz. each) light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. fat-free Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 eggs
1 c. Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites, divided
Salted Caramel Sauce (for topping)

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Prep: Preheat oven to 325°F and assemble ingredients.
1. Mix finely chopped pecans, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly into the bottom of your 6-inch springform pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth.
3. Beat in vanilla.
4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
5. Fold in Greek yogurt.
6. Fold in 1/2 c. Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites.
7. Pour cheesecake mixture into springform pan over crust.
8. Give the pan a jiggle to settle the cheesecake down so the top is relatively flat.
9. Place the remaining Simply Caramel Bites evenly on the top of the cheesecake.
10. Carefully press each bite into the cheesecake so it's just even with the surface. (This should help keep all of your bites from falling to the bottom of the cheesecake, though some will naturally go there.)
11. Give the cheesecake one last jiggle to even the top out again (if needed).
12. Place cheesecake pan in a large casserole dish and carefully fill the casserole dish with hot water for a water bath. The water should go about 1 inch up the side of the springform pan.
13. Bake in water bath at 325°F for 50-60 minutes until the outer edges of the cheesecake are set and the middle is just a little jiggly (it will set up after cooling). Cool for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
15. Drizzle the top of the cheesecake with the Salted Caramel Sauce, serve and enjoy!

3 Musketeers Bites S'mores Pie
(Makes 1 individual pie; easily scales up for as many as you need!)

1 premade mini graham cracker pie crust
1 handful 3 Musketeers Bites
1 handful mini-marshmallows

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1. Start with a mini graham cracker pie crust.
2. Add 3 Musketeers Bites to the bottom (I find 7 to be the best fit).
3. Top with a handful of mini-marshmallows.
4. Bake at 350°F for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Don't forget to get your coupon for $0.75 off coupon for 2 small (2.83 oz.) bags of Milky Way Simply Caramel or 3 Musketeers Bites or $3.00 off two 6 oz. bags or larger!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

I am kind of obsessed with salty-sweet combinations--salted caramel being the ultimate sweet treat of late for me. So I decided I might as well learn how to make it myself! I found great instructions from Sally's Baking Addiction that use 4 simple ingredients:

Sugar, cream, butter and salt. (I used sea salt, specifically -- see my version of the recipe below).

The instructions were super easy--no candy thermometer required. The only thing I learned is that you really have to tweak the heat based on your own stove. Medium heat was a little much on my gas stove (if your heat is too high, your sugar can easily burn), so I went down to medium-low. Sally's blog has step-by-step instructions with photos if you need. Here's my version of her terrific recipe:

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
(Makes about 1 1/4 cups)

1 cup white sugar
6 Tbsp. salted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. sea salt

Assemble all of your ingredients first. You're going to need to stir this constantly--no time to run off and get butter halfway through!
Pour 1 cup sugar into a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-low to medium heat (see above). Stir constantly until sugar starts to melt. (Be patient; this will take 3 or 4 minutes before you see the sugar start to clump up.)
Keep stirring until sugar is fully melted and no clumps are left.
Carefully add in the butter all at once (it will bubble up, so watch your hands). Keep stirring until butter is fully melted, about 2 minutes.
Now, very slowly start to drizzle the whipping cream into the sugar butter mixture, stirring constantly. (Again, the cream will make the mixture bubble up, so watch your hands.)
Once the cream is all added, let the mixture boil for about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in your sea salt.
Let cool completely before using in a recipe or storing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Good luck making it last that long!)