Tag Archive | Cooking

National Mac & Cheese Day Recipe: Creamy Cheddar Mac & Cheese Donuts!

Mac N Cheese Donuts

Holy Mother of Gouda, will you look at that photo? Did you ever imagine that such a thing as a Mac & Cheese Donut even existed? I did not, and yet, there it is. With today (July 14th) being National Mac & Cheese Day, I snagged this recipe for Creamy Cheddar Mac & Cheese Donuts from the website of Three Bridges [www.threebridges.com] — a chef-crafted pasta, sauce, and meal brand that makes clean eating easy. If donuts make you go nuts, this is the dish for you. Breaking the mold, these donuts trade in the sweet for the savory, but don’t be fooled — they’re just as addicting!

Here’s how to make them!

Creamy Cheddar Mac & Cheese Donuts

Ingredients:
1-12oz pkg Three Bridges Creamy Cheddar Mac and Cheese Kit
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp flour
sauces, vegetables, or other toppings of your choice
Instructions:
  1. Prepare Three Bridges Creamy Cheddar Mac n Cheese per directions, let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix the panko bread crumbs, one tablespoon of melted butter, and half of the cheddar cheese (1/2 cup). Set aside.
  3. Mix the mac & cheese with the egg and flour and remaining shredded cheddar cheese (1/2 cup).
  4. Use remaining butter to grease donut pan. Spoon the mixture equally into greased donut pan and sprinkle with the panko breadcrumb and cheese mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and donuts feel firm.
  6. Add your favorite toppings to the donuts. Serve & enjoy!
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How to Get The Most Out Of Your Kitchen!

Woman in Kitchen
Image Source

Your Kitchen should be so much more than a space for chores and microwave meals: it should also be a place in your home that you go to for fun and relaxation. It  If you feel guilty about leaving your kitchen in neglect, now is the time to turn things around. There are plenty of exciting ways for you to engage with this space. Below are four suggestions to get you started!

Making Cocktails

Prepare Your Own Cocktails

If you are someone who loves to spend time socializing with your friends, you should think about making your own cocktails. This is a brilliant way for you to save money and to create drinks that are perfectly suited to your tastes. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You can start off with incredibly simple recipes and then work your way up to more complicated concoctions. If you have an eye for interior design, you could even treat yourself to a vintage drinks cart or invest in beautiful glassware. Many Los Angeles custom closets are made of glass, not just for the kitchen but even in the bedroom. Just imagine how impressed your loved ones will be if you are able to prepare their beverages from scratch.

Home Brewing

Make Your Own Beer

Another great idea, for lovers of alcohol, is to use your kitchen to brew your own beer. Home Brewing is a wonderfully creative opportunity for you to make a product that you are truly proud of. Once you are happy with your recipe, you should consider sharing your beer with your loved ones. You could even think about setting up your own business. Why not start by designing custom beer labels online? This is a free and simple way for you to upgrade your bottles.

Prepare Your Meals From Scratch

Even if you are far from a culinary expert, you should still have a go at preparing your meals from scratch. There are plenty of cost-effective and simple dishes that you can prepare in under ten minutes. Once you have mastered the basics, you can start experimenting with unusual flavors and ingredients. You could also start to create your own recipes instead of following someone else’s. Then, you could celebrate your progress by hosting a dinner party or throwing a party!

Edible Gifts

Make Your Own Edible Gifts

Alternatively, you could spend time in your kitchen making edible gifts. Home-made gifts the perfect option for anyone who is operating on a tight budget. However, even if money is no object, home-made gifts are still a brilliant way for you to show your loved ones just how much you care. You could start by preparing do-it-yourself kits for hot chocolates, gingerbread houses, and cookies. Then, you could have fun completing your own projects. Finally, you should have a go at combining all of your skills. Why not create a gift basket that is filled with a DIY cocktail set, a selection of your home-made brews, your favorite recipe cards, and a generous helping of edible treats? What better way to get the most out of your kitchen?

More Thanksgiving Recipes Featuring Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry!

Sausage Stuffing Pastry
Sausage, Cranberries & Stuffing Pastry, Recipe Below!

A traditional Thanksgiving meal often means a chance to enjoy all of your favorite holiday dishes, but it can also be about changing it up and discovering new and innovative recipes to please yourself and your family! A good place to start for easy and delicious recipes is Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. Check these out!

For Sausage, Cranberries & Stuffing Pastry, Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is woven around a comforting mixture of Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing, sausage, green onions, mushrooms and dried cranberries, and baked until golden to make a festive and delicious dish. It’s also a great idea for using up any leftovers! I always have so many left overs, ever since I got one of the best vacuum sealers for my birthday, I’ve been saving food like a pro!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. water
2 eggs
1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 cup Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing
4 green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 oz. chopped mushrooms (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup sweetened sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 tsp. dried sage leaves, crushed
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed according to package directions
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s Turkey Gravy, warmed (optional)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375°F. Beat the water and 1 egg in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.

Lightly stir the sausage, stuffing, green onions, mushrooms, cranberries, sage and the remaining egg in a medium bowl.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. With a short side facing you, cut slits 1-inch apart down both sides of the pastry sheet, from the outer edges to the fold marks. Spoon the sausage mixture down the center of the pastry sheet. Starting at the short side closest to you, fold the pastry strips over the sausage mixture, alternating sides, to cover the sausage mixture.

Place the pastry onto a baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Slice the pastry and serve warm with the gravy, if desired.

Find out more about this and other recipes at This Link!

Turkey Pot Pies

Creamy Turkey Pot Pies are a fantastic idea for using leftover Turkey. Convenient products like puff pastry shells, frozen vegetables and cream of mushroom soup allow you to whip-up mouthwatering, individual pot pies in less than an hour. They make a great weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request )
1/2 cup milk
1 pkg. (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups shredded or cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 pkg. (10 ounces) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells, prepared according to package directions

Directions:

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir the soup, milk and peas and carrots in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the turkey and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Spoon the turkey mixture into the pastry shells. Add the pastry “tops,” if desired.

Get more information about this recipe at This Link!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas from Pepperidge Farm

Harvest Spiced Envelopes
Harvest Spiced Envelopes – Recipe Below!

Hey what’s up. Thanksgiving is less than a week away and you’ve got some cooking to do, I know. You might recall that this past July we ran a sumptuous holiday feast preview, courtesy of our friends at Pepperidge Farm, which you can revisit now to get some awesome recipes as well as ideas on menu planning and decorating. You’re welcome!

One of my favorite Pepperidge Farm products is their puff pastry, which is super versatile, easy to work with and can be used for both savory and sweet creations. Let me share a couple new Dessert recipes that you might like to try out for this holiday season.

Harvest Spiced Envelopes are a tempting dessert features white chocolate, apples, cranberries, cinnamon and walnuts enveloped in puff pastry and baked to a golden brown. The combination of flavors is outrageously delcious!

Ingredients

1 orange
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups diced Gala apples
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 dash salt
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pistachios, toasted
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 pkg. (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips

Directions

1.Heat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely grate 2 teaspoons zest from the orange.

2.Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cranberries and cook for 6 minutes or until the apples are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Season with the salt. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the walnuts and orange zest. Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes.

3.Sprinkle the flour on the work surface. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square. Cut the pastry into 12 (4×3-inch) rectangles. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.

4.Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons white chocolate chips in the center of each pastry rectangle. Top each with about 1 tablespoon apple mixture. Brush two opposite corners of each pastry with water. Pull one corner up over the filling. Pull the opposite corner up over the filling and tuck it under the pastry, enclosing most of the filling but leaving the ends open. Place the filled pastries on the baking sheets.

5.Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes.

6.Heat the remaining white chocolate chips in a double boiler until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Drizzle the white chocolate over the pastries.

7.Recipe Note: Parchment paper keeps the pastry from sticking to the baking sheet and also makes for easier cleanup. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can spray the baking sheet with cooking spray instead. However, cooking spray may cause the bottoms of the pastries to brown more quickly, so begin checking for doneness 5 minutes early.

8.Flavor Variation: To serve these pastries as a gourmet appetizer, omit the white chocolate and substitute 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced, for the apples.

More information on this and other recipes is available at This Link!

Mini Pumpkin Pie Brulees
Mini Pumpkin Pie Brulees

You will absolutely wow your guests when you serve these Mini Pumpkin Pie Brulees for dessert! Puff pastry cups are filled with a rich pumpkin mixture and baked until golden. Dressed up with a caramelized sugar round, they’re guaranteed to earn rave reviews.

Ingredients

3 egg yolks
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
3 tbsp. granulated sugar

Directions

1.Heat the oven to 400°F. Spray 36 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups with vegetable cooking spray. Beat the egg yolks, pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl with a fork or whisk.

2.Sprinkle the flour on the work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 12-inch square. Cut the pastry into 36 (2-inch) squares. Press the pastry squares into 36 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups. Spoon about 1 tablespoon pumpkin mixture into each pastry cup.

3.Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown and the filling is set. Let the pastries cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove the pastries and let cool completely on the wire racks.

4.Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Heat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Create 18 (2-inch) circles of sugar on each baking sheet, using about 1/4 teaspoon sugar for each circle.

5.Bake one baking sheet for 5 minutes or until the sugar circles are bubbly and a deep caramel color. Let the sugar circles cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining baking sheet. Using a small metal spatula, remove the sugar circles from the baking sheets. Press 1 sugar circle at an angle into the top of each pastry.

More information on this and other recipes is available atThis Link! Bon Apetit, Everyone!

Fall Editor Showcase Highlights Cooking and Entertaining for the Holidays!

Full Room View
All Photos By Gail

In anticipation of an extra festive holiday season — which always seems to arrive sooner than you expect — The fall Editor Showcase food and networking event took place on October 15th at the New York Marriott Marquis. This fun and well-attended event was packed with tastings and cooking demonstrations for over two dozen brands of food and kitchen equipment to make sure everyone is fully prepared for all of the parties and food-centric events that will kick off with Thanksgiving in just two short weeks!

Here are some of our favorite exhibitors from the show!

Farm Rich Snacks

Farm Rich makes a line of frozen snacks that you just pop in your oven to create amazing hot hors d’oeuvres that will win you fans every time. We fell in love especially with their Chili Cheese Bites (filed with real chili, not just chili peppers), which are just insane. Their Toasted Raviolis were also a huge hit with the crowd.

Athens Mini Fillo Shells Box

Athens Mini Fillo Shells are a product that every party hostess will want to have on hand for easy preparation of both sweet and savory snacks! The shells come fully pre-baked and all you need to do is add your favorite filling and heat. So convenient!

Athens Mini Fillo Shells

Of course, Athens had an assortment of prepared mini quiches and tiny cheese cakes, as well as other taste tantalizing surprises, to give use more clever ideas of how to serve these shells at your next party! So yummy!

Legends from Europe SignageLegends from Europe Display

Legends from Europe is a campaign uniting five authentic PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products from Europe, including Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigianio Reggiano — two of our favorite things to eat! Legends from Europe offered show attendees the chance to sample a full spread of snacks featuring its products and also had recipes on hand so you can make these delicacies at home.

Bertolli Olive Oil Display

Bertoli Olive Oil has grown to become the world’s Number 1 Olive Oil brand. Bertoli offers a variety of oils which we were able to sample brushed on delicious Italian bread. Bertoli had something else going for them at their booth which we found hard to resists: Chef Fabio Viviani!

Gail and Fabio

What a charmer he is! Bertoli were very smart to align with Fabio because I’d buy whatever he is selling.

Success Rice Display

Success brand boil-in-bag rice has been a best selling brand for years and it tastes great in a variety of recipes, samples of which they had on hand at Editor Showcase.

Success Rice Pudding

Bourbon Raisin Rice Pudding made with Success Basmati Rice is super easy to prepare and tastes rich, sweet and exotic.

Success Jasmine Rice Balls

Success Jasmine Rice is used in this exceptional recipe for Laotian Nam Khao (Crispy Rice Balls), which were devoured by attendees very quickly!

Alouette Cheese Spreads

Alouette Cheese Spreads had a couple of exciting new “Bold” flavors to preview including Wasabi Cheddar, which is just mind blowing, and Buffalo Cheddar — which is sure to become a favorite as well! While these new flavors will not be available until February, 2014, there are tons of other flavors for you to try in time for the holidays. Alouette Cheese Spreads are convenient for entertaining on the fly, and come in resealable tubs which keep them fresh.

Alouette Cheese Spreads Display

If you want to get super fancy you can even hollow out a pineapple and impress your guests by serving your favorite dip made from Alouette Cheese Spreads right from the pineapple! Crazy!

Pasta Month Display

Just look at this lovely display courtesy of the National Pasta Association. Nobody loves pasta more than I do, so I was way into all of the tasty and healthy recipes they had to give out as part of their Pasta Fits promotion, such as this yummy past salad picture below.

Pasta Month Salad

Ninja BlenderNinja Blender in Action

If you enjoy making your own healthy juices, smoothies and sauces — or just like to cook a lot of recipes that require a first rate food processor — then you will not be able to live much longer without a Ninja Ultima Blender. The Ninja distinguishes itself by the multi-blade core that does a superior job of chopping and pureeing foods. Check out the side by side comparison above: Some Other Brand on the left, Ninja on the right. Behold the clear winner in blended results.  Ninja!

Cooking Plan It Cookie

Cooking Planit was giving out these cookies as well as bad ass magnetic photo recipe cards to promote this super cool website and mobile app that provides home cooks with step-by-step instructions to create full meals. They call it a “GPS for the Kitchen” – what an exciting and fun idea! Visit Cooking Planit at This Link!

Mann's Veggie Mac N Cheese

Okay, here is product that I would literally eat all the time: Mann’s Sunny Shores Veggie Mac-N-Cheese, which contains everything you need to make a fine dinner of Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli in one bag! Also, please note above they it comes in a bacon variety, ‘Nuff said.

Sartori Cheese Gift Bag

Last, but not least, I would like to give an extra special shout out to Sartori Cheese, producers of artisan and premium cheese for seven decades! Sartori makes the most delicious cheese you have ever tasted — and I have tasted a lot of cheese. They also gifted me with this coveted swag of a reusable insulted canvas tote filled with five different varieties of their awesome cheese plus a set of wine glass charms! Sartori Cheese!

As always, Thanks to Formulatin PR for the Hook Up!

OWG Presents Cake That Microwave Cake for One!

Cake That Packaging

Do you like warm chocolate cake? I sure do. Old World Gourmet Foods (Their Slogan: Serving Fun for Over a Decade) has recently introduced Cake That – an individual cake in a cup that you can make at your home or office with just a microwave and a few tablespoons of milk. I’m not even kidding!

OWG sent me a sample of the Chocolate variety of Cake That and I brought it to the office so I could make it, take some pictures, eat it and tell you all about the experience. Here we go!

Cake That Ready to Prep

Cake That comes with an envelope of dry cake mix inside the cup, which will serve as your baking vessel. I recommend using a scissor to cut across the top of the envelope, which will make it easier to get the dry mix into the cup without spilling it all over the counter.

Simple directions are printed along the bottom front of the cup. Once the mix is in the cup, you need to add three (3) tablespoons of whole milk (recommended). I brought a measuring tablespoon from home, because I wanted to be as exact as possible with my milk measuring action. Sadly, the milk was a little overzealous coming out of the carton, and I definitely got a bit too much milk in the mix. And once it’s in there you can’t really take it out.

Find out how I adjusted cooking time to cope with the excess of milk by reading further!

Cake That Mixed

Here’s a shot of the wet cake batter as I mixed it with a plastic fork. Directions advise against “over-mixing” but I wanted to get rid of as many of the dry cake mix lumps as possible, and there were a lot of them. So, you know, mix it until you feel satisfied, is what I say.

Cake That Baked
Smells Like Chocolate Cake!

Baking time is estimated at “one minute, fifteen seconds,” but may vary depending on your microwave. I checked doneness after 60 seconds and this (above) is what it looked like. I zapped it for another 20 seconds and then took it out for a taste.

Remember: once you remove your Cake That from the microwave, you will need to let it cool for a few minutes to avoid burning your mouth.

Cake That Bite

Here’s what it looks like all baked and on the fork ready for a bite. It definitely looks like chocolate cake and it smells just amazing! Everyone in my office was like, “Who made chocolate cake?” Just being serious.

Now, about that ‘extra milk in the mix’ situation: while the top half of the cake was baked to a delicious, chocolatey, moist perfection, the lower half was basically raw, like brownie batter. So, after I after I ate the part that was cooked properly, I put the cup back into microwave to cook for another full minute, and it was perfect, if a bit on the moist side.

Cake That would be especially delicious served with vanilla ice cream, and there is definitely enough in the portion to share, or to eat some now and save some for later, which would be my preference.

Cake That can be purchased for $4.95 per two-serving cup (with free shipping!) at the OWGShopOnline.

AOL Presents Now Eat This: Italy, Cooking with Rocco Dispirito!

Rocco Books
All Photos By Gail

When you hear the name Rocco Dispirito, you may at first think, “What a hottie” — amiright? But also, Rocco is a skilled and charismatic Celebrity Chef who has hosted and starred in many TV shows (Rocco’s Dinner Party, how fun was that?) as well as being a restaurateur and author of many best-selling books on food and cooking. Rocco Dispirito!

Rocco Dispirito
How Cute Is This Guy?

If you have been following his career for as many years as I have, you may recall that Rocco, while consistently adorable, was not always as lean and trim and he is now. He got into shape by learning to cook in the same manner as his Italian ancestors: and not just by incorporating fresh, local ingredients and creating preparation techniques which reduce the use of traditional fats and carbs, but also by adopting a more leisurely-paced approach when it comes to the experience of social eating.

Tuna Crudo
Tuna Crudo, One of Rocco’s Low Calorie Yet Gourmet Specialities

Rocco’s latest New York Times best-seller, Now Eat This! Italian, takes on all of your favorite Italian food recipes by reducing them calorically while keeping the very fresh and authentic flavor. In fact, most of these dishes come in at 350 calories and under without sacrificing deliciousness.

AOL Sign

In the book’s accompanying video series, which debuted on AOL.com earlier this month, DiSpirito travels to various regions in Italy to learn from the foremost Italian food experts, real Italian Moms! The show is a lot of fun and also lets you see the beauty of the Italian countryside.

Kitchen
International Culinary Center Test Kitchen

Last evening, AOL hosted a hands-on cooking event with Rocco at The International Culinary Center for a select number of lucky bloggers and contest winners, where we all had the chance to cook a meal with Rocco and then sit down together to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Rocco lead the class with his step-by-step recipes and stories behind each dish and he was very patient with those of us who are challenged even by slicing a tomato (raises hand). It was a great time and I learned that making lovely homemade Italian food does not have to be intimidating at all.

Here’s what was on the menu:
Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad

Pasta with Clams
Pasta with Clams

Roasted Chicken
Roasted Chicken with Zucchini

Rocco Making Dessert

Rocco was kind enough to make the evening’s dessert – a fresh Strawberry Italian Ice – for us tableside so we could enjoy our after dinner drinks. This quick and simple frozen dessert is basically just fresh berries (I suppose any fruit could be swapped out if Strawberries are not your thing), ice and the same thickening agent used in the faux olive oil salad dressing. Sweet and refereshing!

Strawberry Granita
Strawberry Italian Ice

Proseco
After Dinner Proseco

Rocco Signed Book

Because Rocco is so awesome, he took the time to pose for photos with every single person at the event and also gave each of us a personally signed copy of his book, so that we could cook his recipes at home. The first episode in the Now Eat This: Italy! series, in which Rocco makes Caprese salad after visiting the actual cheese makers, can be enjoyed at This Link. Thanks again to Rocco and AOL for a very fun evening!