April 27, 2010

Green Bean Casserole

I wish you could see the inside of it! 
Sadly I was too late with my camera to get that picture.

Growing up, I wasn't the biggest fan of Green Bean Casserole. I used to HATE mushrooms, so I would always have to pick them out. You see, a very popular green bean casserole uses cream of mushroom soup. Ick. You will notice that two of my recipes on Ice Cream & Wine use "cream of somethings," but that's it...just two. And to be honest, I'll probably be adjusting those recipes soon to swap those ingredients out. I'm just not a fan of that processed gooeyness.

So anyway, I knew that I had to have green bean casserole at my Easter dinner (yes, friends, I'm still talking about Easter!). What to do, what to do? After searching on All Recipes, I found a great one - one that did not include cream of mushroom soup. (This recipe does use canned green beans - just be sure to get the "no sodium added" kind!) I knew my mom was very hesitant about this, but in the end she LOVED it. This casserole is absolutely amazing - to be honest, I'm sad I only had one serving during Easter! My dad and husband finished it off! :)

Source: All Recipes - Grandma's Green Bean Casserole 

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup sour cream - I used low fat  
3 (14.5 oz.) cans of French style green beans, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese - I used about 1.5 cups
1/2 cup crumbled buttery round crackers (such as Ritz)
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute. Stir in the salt, sugar, onion, and sour cream. Add green beans and stir to coat. 

Transfer the mixture to a 2.5 quart baking dish. Spread shredded cheese over the top. In a small bowl, toss the crumbled crackers and butter. Sprinkle over the cheese. 

Bake for 30 minutes - or until top is golden and cheese is bubbly.

April 25, 2010

Curry Chicken Tenders

 [Served with sugar snap peas & curry quinoa]

Well, well, well. You must be thinking we don't eat many main dishes in the Ice Cream & Wine household. Those recipes seem to be disappearing into the depths of my computer's hard drive. I seem to feature a lot of baked goods and great side dishes. But good news - this post features a main dish recipe! And it's Indian, so seriously, life is good.

My husband loves Indian food. To be honest, I had never had it until I started dating him. Oh the things you do for love! I'm very happy that he makes me try new things - Indian food is so flavorful and absolutely delicious. I have a big ole jar of curry powder up in my cupboard that is always calling my name and begging to be used. I finally listened, and I'm glad I did. These Curry Chicken Tenders are magnificent. The curry isn't too overpowering...it's just right. Enjoy, my fellow foodies!

Source: Cathy's Kitchen Journey - Curry Chicken Tenders

2 T. soy sauce
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. curry powder
1 T. packed brown sugar
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. Chinese five spice powder - I didn't have this, so I just used onion & garlic powder
4 chicken breast 

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients (except chicken). Set aside.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place chicken on top and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet with the flat side. Remove plastic wrap. Cut into 1 inch wide strips against the grain at an angle. Add chicken into the marinade, mixing well to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Fire up your grill (or in our case, plug in the Foreman!). Grill until chicken is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear. It's about 4 minutes on the Foreman.
*You can pour the remaining sauce over the chicken just before serving.

April 23, 2010

Food Obsession: Almond Butter

I started following multiple health blogs a few months ago: Carrots 'N' Cake, Kath Eats Real Food, Oh She Glows, Healthy Tipping Point & Iowa Girl Eats...just to name a few! :)

Through these blogs, I have become exposed to many creative and healthy food ideas and exercise regimens. Although many of these bloggers do enjoy good old peanut butter, I've realized that many enjoying branching out and trying different nut butters. They inspired me to get out of my comfort zone. Comfort zone = peanut butter. Now I like peanut butter - the natural stuff that requires you to stir it every time you open the jar. It just tastes real. But then I got to thinking...I really like almonds. I would rather eat a handful of almonds than a handful of peanuts. Hmm. I was on a quest to find almond butter!

Luckily I shop at Trader Joe's (hello cheap and healthy food!), so finding almond butter (crunchy!) was not a problem, and it was relatively inexpensive. I'm going to be completely honest with you - I just dunked a spoon right into the jar for my first try. I FELL. IN. LOVE. INSTANTLY. Almond butter is a great source of protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin E. It is rich in monounsaturated fats making it a heart-healthy choice (source). 

Here are some ways to enjoy almond butter:
  • Right out of the jar with a spoon :)
  • On top of a banana
  • Use as a dip for apples
  • On multigrain toast or bagels
  • In Green Monsters
  • Topping on oatmeal - so good!
Seriously, your options are endless. I have a good feeling that I'll be trying to make almond butter cookies in the VERY near future! Stay tuned!

April 21, 2010

Cinnamon Streusel Bread

While my parents were here over Easter weekend, I wanted to make them a special treat for breakfast on Easter morning. I had made wonderful applesauce oat muffins for Saturday (recipe to come soon!), and those called for buttermilk. Buttermilk is not a common household item for us, so I needed another recipe that would use it up! After searching on Google Reader, I was directed to one of my favorite blogs, Stephanie Cooks (read the review here!). Cinnamon Swirl Bread? I'm in! This was wonderful - no need to add on any extra butter when consuming - it's perfect straight from the pan!

There were a few slices left over, which I was very excited about. I only had one slice for breakfast - I had to eat quickly, so I could begin preparing my Easter dinner. When I woke up the next morning, I ran downstairs, knowing exactly what I was going to eat for breakfast. Except, wait a second....it was GONE! That's right, during a late night study session, my husband finished off this bread. He's lucky I like him - I could have been mad! :)
Source: Stephanie Cooks - Cinnamon Swirl Bread

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup oil - I subbed applesauce
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. softened butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bottom of a 9x5 loaf pan. Combine all ingredients and beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Prepare streusel topping and sprinkle half over the batter. Pour on the rest of the batter and top with remaining streusel. Bake for about 45 minutes. 

April 19, 2010

Scalloped Pototoes & Onions

Mmm...potatoes. Seriously I could eat a baked potato (or sweet potato) with every. single. meal. So classic but so delicious. We all know I'm a big fan of food that is extremely versatile - think pasta, chicken and add potatoes to that list! Fried, mashed, scalloped, baked - even made into a potato salad. The possibilities are truly endless!

I hosted (!) Easter dinner this year. Let it be known that this holiday was quite exciting in many ways. Number one, this was my first Easter as a WIFE - yay! Number two, this was the first holiday that I hosted. Number three, this was our first holiday in Baltimore (we found wonderful reasons to leave for Thanksgiving & Christmas!). And number four, my parents flew all the way from Nebraska to Baltimore to spend it with me and my husband. So fun!

I spent months OK weeks figuring out the menu. It had to be perfect and all traditional Easter dinner components had to be represented. I was at odds trying to decide the cooking method for my potato dish. I stumbled upon a great recipe on All Recipes (love that website) and was instantly sold. I present to you Scalloped Potatoes & Onions - enjoy this at your next holiday dinner (or comforting weeknight meal!).

Source: All Recipes - Scalloped Potatoes & Onions

5 large potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped onion - I used white
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons mayo
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Set oven to 325 degrees. In a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish, layer the potatoes and onion. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually add broth, mayo, salt & pepper. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes, or until thick and bubbly. 

Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake for 2 hours, or until tender.

April 17, 2010

Blog Review: A Scrumptious aFare

Shameless plug for a friend/faithful foodie? No! That's what friends are for...here goes!

My best friend Sarah from A Scrumptious aFare was truly the inspiration behind Ice Cream & Wine. She started her food blog in October 2009, and I was immediately in awe of her little kitchen creations. Realization started to sink in that our college days were over, and we were now in charge of our own kitchens (goodbye to sketchy sorority food & dessert with every meal!). Sarah has a mix of easy and intense recipes - but I never feel intimidated - she has a great sense of humor that is completely evident in her posts. Check out her blog, and you'll understand!

Here is her description of A Scrumptious aFare:

"As I navigate my way through being the head chef of my very own kitchen, I am documenting my favorite and inventive kitchen concoctions. My goal is to cook outside of my comfort zone and enjoy meals I make right out of my own home!"

I enjoy Sarah's blog because she has a great mix of flavors - everything from Cajun to Indian. She also has good ideas when it comes to saving a dollar: making fresh salsa instead of buying the expensive pre-made stuff, and buying things on sale (such as taking advantage of buy one, get one half off specials). She always finds a good deal!

Sarah and I have quite the same mentality when it comes to cooking and baking - you don't have to slave away in the kitchen to enjoy a delicious meal or a decadent dessert. Of course we do enjoy the time spent in our kitchens - but we also have lives! Trust us, there are some things we'd rather be doing than standing over a hot stove including (but not limited to): drinking wine over a great conversation, eating ice cream, playing golf, making crafts, discussing how we wish Harry Potter was real, or reminiscing about our college days. *Le sigh*

I encourage you to check out A Scrumptious aFare - you'll drool over what you see!

Ice Cream & Wine's pick for casual indulgence: Irish Car Bomb Surprise Cupcakes

April 16, 2010

Supper Potluck

[Insert appetizing photo here] :)

There's a blue sky and 75 degree weather here in Baltimore today. And what am I doing? Blogging about a nice hearty, warm and comforting meal. I must be confused! I will admit - I'm pulling this recipe from my archives. I made this wonderful Supper Potluck back in February. As you may recall, Baltimore experienced one of the worst blizzards in its winter history! Of course the meal hit the spot at that time. Why am I blogging about this now? Well, to be honest, I didn't blog about it before because the picture turned out...well...awful. I hate when a meal tastes so yummy but looks absolutely disgusting does not photograph well. That does not make for a good blog post! 

I was scrummaging through my old pictures and I came across the bad photo - even two months later it still looks not-so-good. But I realized that you deserve to have the recipe because it is truly a yummy and hearty comfort dish. AND it's healthy! AND it uses the crock pot - how I love thee. Enjoy!

Source: Weight Watchers - Supper Potluck

1 lb. ground turkey breast (or beef)
3 cups sliced raw potatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
In a large skillet, brown the turkey.  Meanwhile place potatoes, celery, carrots, and onion in your crock pot.  Sprinkle peas over top. Spoon browned meat over vegetables. Stir Italian seasoning into tomato sauce. Evenly pour sauce over meat. Cover. Cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours. Stir well just before serving.

April 13, 2010

Breakfast Maple Quinoa

You knew it wouldn't be long until you saw another quinoa recipe pop up on good ole Ice Cream & Wine, right?! So. In. Love. In case you missed my complete adoration for quinoa, you can check it out here. Absolutely versatile and always delicious. Seriously, I just don't think you can mess up quinoa. It's like pasta - anything you add to it will be tasty. I promise!

So the very next morning after I made Salsa Quinoa, I tried my hand at breakfast quinoa. There are MANY recipes out there for breakfast quinoa. After scouring the blogosphere and taking notes, I came up with this mighty fine maple quinoa. Holy. Yum. Please, I'm begging you, make this recipe. Now. You will love me forever.

Source: An original Ice Cream & Wine recipe

1/2 cup milk - I used skim
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
Brown sugar, if desired

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Reduce to a simmer immediately and add in the quinoa. Cover and cook until the milk has been absorbed - roughly 15 minutes). Pour into a small bowl and add maple syrup. Stir to mix well. Add sliced almonds and cranberries and stir well. Sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar, if desired. Enjoy!

*This makes 1 serving

April 12, 2010

Peanut Butter & Cream Brownie Torte

Sweet name, huh? I do think so myself! I made this decadent treat for my 23rd birthday in March. I received a springform pan as a birthday gift and knew immediately that I needed to use it right away. I wasn't in the cheesecake mood, but I did know that I was craving chocolate (but let's be honest...when am I not?!). While looking through my "starred" recipes in Google Reader, I came across this one for Peanut Butter & Cream Brownie Torte. YUM. Very simple to prepare - the brownie part is actually from a boxed mix. But don't think less of me...let me explain. I wanted a great birthday treat, but since I would be making it myself, I wanted it to be easy. So think what you want (but I'm begging you not to judge me!).

Source: Lemons & Love - Peanut Butter & Cream Brownie Torte

cooking spray
1 boxed brownie mix - I used Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened - I used light
1 cup peanut butter - I used all natural
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-12 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided - I used the kind from a can because Trader Joe's does not sell Cool Whip - didn't have the same effect, but still good!
Chocolate chips (for garnish, if desired)

Heat oven to temperature listed on your boxed mix. Spray an 8 or 9-inch round springform pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Prepare brownie mix as directed on box. Pour into springform pan and bake in the oven. The time will depend on your mix - 35-45 minutes is common. Be sure to check the middle with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it's done! Cool while in pan.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in peanut butter, powdered sugar and 3 cups whipped topping until well combined. Keeping dessert in springform pan, spread mixture evenly over cooled brownies.

Top with remaining whipped topping. Use the tines of a fork to create swirls in the whipped cream. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top - if desired.

Refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Remove side of pan just before serving.

April 6, 2010

Salsa Quinoa

I have recently become obsessed with quinoa and have enjoyed making it a variety of ways these past few weeks. Salsa Quinoa was the VERY first way I prepared quinoa, and my oh my, it got me hooked! It's unbelievably easy to make and unbelievably nutritious & delicious. Perfect!

Source: an original Ice Cream & Wine recipe

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup corn - I used frozen & heated it in the microwave
1/2 cup edamame
1/4-1/2 cup salsa
Chili powder

In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid (about 10-15 minutes). Stir in the corn, edamame & salsa. Cook until heated through - about 2-3 minutes. Season with chili powder to taste. Enjoy!

*Makes 2 servings

April 1, 2010

Blog Review: Stephanie Cooks

When I first started blogging in December 2009, there were only a few food blogs that I knew about. Thanks to the What's Cooking board on The Nest, my food blog awareness increased rapidly. However, I feel like I have always had this loyalty to the initial food blogs that piqued my interest in this crazy blogosphere.

The first recipes I posted on Ice Cream & Wine were from cookbooks and All Recipes. It wasn't until a month into blogging that I actually made a recipe found on another blog. Stephanie Cook's Parmesan Orzo takes that award! I believe I then made like 3 of her recipes in a row - I loved them all!

I know exactly what drew me into Stephanie Cooks - her recipes are not intimidating and she just seems normal. But if I had to be honest with you (and myself), it may have also been that she has 16 Peanut Butter tags - yum! Here's a little blurb taken from her blog:

"I don't cook elaborate meals. Rather, I cook meals that are simple, use common ingredients, and result in delicious food!"

I love that - meals that anyone can make! She's been blogging since 2008 and has such a variety of recipes listed. 70 Pasta tags, 49 Cookie tags, 75 Chicken tags and 22 Asian tags - seriously, just very well-rounded. 

Stephanie Cooks also features a lot of Weight Watchers recipes. I am not in the Weight Watchers program, but I can see how convenient and reliable this would be for people who do belong to WW.

I encourage you all to mosey on over to Stephanie Cooks - I promise you will like what you see!
Ice Cream & Wine's pick for casual indulgence: Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies