Monday, February 28, 2011

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Stew had been saying that we should make chocolate mousse for a while now. So, for Valentine's day I bought some heavy cream and good quality chocolate and got to work!
I was really impressed with this recipe! It was really easy to make, and was the best chocolate mousse I've ever tasted! The texture was really smooth and creamy, and it was delightfully rich! :)

This recipe is so easy, you don't need a special occasion to make it!

Dark Chocolate Mousse
[ recipe from here ]

4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar (I reduced this a little)
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 64% cacao chips)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)

Finely chop chocolate (but not if using chips). In a double boiler, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, two to three minutes. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in vanilla, chocolate until melted and cocoa until smooth (mixture will be thick). Cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Whisk half of whipped cream into room-temperature chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Divide mousse among four serving dishes. Chill*, covered in plastic wrap, at least two hours and up to one day.
Remove from fridge and garnish with shaved chocolate, powdered sugar, or more whipped cream.

Makes four servings.

*Tip: place a paper towel under the plastic wrap to prevent condensation from dripping onto mousse!

Enjoy! I know you will!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken Bowl

This recipe sparked my interest, mostly because it is topped with ranch dressing! Honestly, I wasn't sure how good it would be, but we both loved it! The barbecue sauce with the pineapple is sweet and tangy, and the ranch dressing is a nice addition. It's a super easy recipe too, which is always a plus!

Hawaiian Chicken Bowl
[ original recipe here ]

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple
2 cups barbecue sauce (we love Famous Dave's Rich & Sassy BBQ Sauce)
Broccoli, steamed
Brown rice, cooked
Ranch dressing

Place meat in a crock pot. Combine pineapple and barbecue sauce and pour over meat. Cook on high for 3–4 hours, or on low for 6–8 hours. Shred chicken with two forks.
To serve, layer rice, chicken, broccoli and ranch dressing.

*Note: We liked the ranch dressing a lot and added more after we tasted it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coconut Tortilla Soup

I saw this recipe on a blog and it was a copycat of Rumbi' Island Grill's Bahama Mama Tortilla Soup. I love Rumbi, but I remember not loving their soup. However, I couldn't get this recipe from my mind! I made it one evening when I had been sick all week with a cold/sinus infection (TMI?), and this was so perfect. It was easy to make and healthy! It looks like a pretty bland soup, but the smell and the taste is phenomenal! The coconut milk adds a subtle richness. It's not the most filling soup in the world, but it's perfect for a light dinner! I changed the name of this soup because from what I remember, this soup was not too much like Rumbi's soup.

Coconut Tortilla Soup
[ recipe adapted from here ]

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp ground allspice (I didn't want this to be overpowering—I just used a shake of nutmeg and cloves)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped, or a pinch of dried thyme
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated (I think I used more, but I loved it)
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup shredded or matchstick carrots (shredded carrots were a tad small, I think the matchstick would be better)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup mozzarella or monterey jack cheese, shredded
Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, for topping
1 lime, cut into wedges (we just use our lime squeezer)

Preheat grill to medium heat (I used a George Foreman grill). Salt and pepper chicken breasts and grill until browned and cooked through. Remove from grill and cut into chunks.
In a large pot, combine the chicken broth, allspice thyme, cinnamon, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the coconut milk, carrots, tomatoes (can reserve some for topping) and chicken. Let it sit for a few minutes to heat the chicken.
Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, tortilla chips and lime wedges or a squeeze of lime juice. Makes about 4 servings.

*Note: this soup separates if it sits too long, but just give it a stir!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

It's been so cold lately that I've been in soup mode! I love this soup. It's easy to make, the texture is smooth, and it's great with some crusty bread. I've posted another cauliflower soup recipe here (which is a lot healthier), but I think this recipe is tastier, and since it is richer than the other recipe, you don't need to eat much to feel full. :)

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
[ original recipe here ]

2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk (I've used fat free evaporated milk)
1 1/2–2 cups chicken broth
1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese (I've made it with only cheddar before, and even only used one cup of cheese)
Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional

In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, 10–15 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth, or desired consistency. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Basic (Half Whole Wheat) Waffles

This is Alton Brown's recipe, and it's seriously good! These waffles are crispy on the outside, which I love. The crispiness held up to syrup too—bonus! They are half whole wheat flour (which I also love), but you can't even tell! I love breakfast for dinner; we're going to start doing it more often!

Basic Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk (or 4 Tbsp lemon juice, filled to 2 cups of milk)
1–2 tsp vanilla, optional

Preheat waffle iron.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. In another bowl beat eggs and melted butter, then add buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Ladle batter onto greased waffle iron. Cook waffle until golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200ºF oven until ready to serve.