Thursday, September 29, 2011

Turkey Pesto Panini

I can only imagine how real Italian food tastes. My brother served a mission for our church in Italy. When he was finished my parents went out there to visit before he came home and unfortunately that was about 2 weeks before I got married. Not wanting to leave my soon-to-be husband for soo long (a week), I decided not to go. What was I thinking?? Right? So now he owes me a trip to Italy. He knows this and actually brings it up often. Last night's dinner was Italian inspired. I've been sick the last couple of days and cooking is on my list of last things I want to do when i'm sick, so panini's it was. You can use whatever kind of sandwhich fillings you like, I used the traditional flavors of fresh mozzarella, basil, pesto and turkey (my husband opted for pancetta). I also bought some smore's gelato cause hey, it's Italian night, i'm sick, and I have a thing for smore's.
P.S.- you don't need any fancy panini press to make the sandwhich.

Turkey Pesto Panini

Bread- you can use whatever type you prefer, I had a loaf of sliced sourdough that I used and it was great.
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Pesto- homemade or store bought. I went the store bought route.
Fresh basil (optional)

Preheat grill pan, or skillet.
Spread a layer of pesto on one slice of bread.
Top with mozzarella, turkey and basil then top with another slice of bread.
Butter the outside of top slice of bread then lay buttered side down in preheated pan.
Using another skillet, place it on top of sandwhich and press down slightly.
Cook until golden brown then remove skillet and butter the slice of bread facing up then flip sandwhich over.
Replace skillet back on top of sandwhich and grill other side until golden brown. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Friday, September 23, 2011

Smore's Pie

Today is the first day of Autumn, and i'm posting a smore's pie. Hey, I don't just eat smores in the summer, it's a year round thing for me. My mom came to visit a couple weeks ago and i've been wanting to try this pie for a while, so I decided then would be a good time. My mom says she doesn't like smore's (crazy woman) but she liked this pie. This is so super simple to make and tastes amazing. I would find myself cutting off a thin slice, then going back again for another thin slice, repeat process. It's much richer cold and while it's still good from the refrigerator, I prefer it much better heated up in the microwave for a few seconds. And don't forget to drizzle some hot fudge over it. Totally optional, but more chocolate is always better :)

Smore's Pie

Yields 6-8 servings
Graham Cracker Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant.
Keep oven running.

Chocolate Filling:

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup milk

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Pinch of salt

2 eggs, whisked

1 bag of large marshmallows

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Slowly add whisked eggs and mix until smooth.
Pour chocolate filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not move when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.
Using a kitchen shears, cut marshmallows in half. Place halves in concentric circles over the top of the pie until covered.
Set oven to broil. Place pie under the broiler and lightly toast the marshmallows. This can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, so watch those marshmallows closely!
Chill pie in the refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours.

To serve, spray a knife with non-stick cooking spray and cut the cold pie into slices. Heat if prefered and drizzle with chocolate sauce, if desired.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Snickers Cupcakes

See the cupcake stand? I made it. It's really easy, you can make one a number of ways and you can find step by step tutorials online. I even reused this one from Landon's baby blessing by recovering it with a different color cardstock and changing the ribbon. It makes things a lot easier that way.
I've posted this cupcake recipe before, when I made the chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes. It's a great doctored up cake mix and the cupcakes turn out incredibly moist. With sourcream and pudding in the mix, how could they not?? I'm not so much a fan of the candy bars baked into the middle. They melt into the cupcake so you can't tell so much that it was a candy bar. Except I have put a whole reese's cup into the bottom of a cupcake before and baked it and that was really good, it held pretty well. So next time I would just skip baking it in and just put them on the top. It's up to you, either way they're good!

Snickers Cupcakes
My Baking Addiction

Makes 24-30 cupcakes
For the cake:

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs; lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
24-30 frozen Snickers Miniatures

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, vanilla and water.
4. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans.
5. Gently push a frozen Snickers Miniature bar into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy bar with batter.
6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool cupcakes thoroughly on wire rack.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping; plus more for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel syrup and combine well.
2. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more caramel syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.
Garnish with chopped Snickers bars and a drizzle of caramel of caramel syrup. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

He's done! Matt finished Chiropractic school about 2 weeks ago (real world here we come!) And of course that calls for a celebration. We had a little party, bbq-at Matt's request, and these cheesecake strawberries were a great option. Especially to counter all the chocolate. The best part about serving these to a large crowd is they are so so fast to prepare and you can make them the day before and store covered in the refrigerator.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

The Sweets Life

1 lb large strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
graham cracker crumbs


1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife. Prep all strawberries and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.
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