S’mores Brownies

I should welcome myself back to my blog. Sorry about the absence but I have been preoccupied (or should I say lazy) these past couple months. But I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and I have lots of yummy recipes in the works.

I made these brownies at our annual Superbowl party. I made the usual wings and 5-layer dip but switched up the dessert. And I’m glad I did because these were ridiculous! (And that’s a good thing.) The crunchy graham cracker crust, the fudgey brownie layer, and the sticky sweet marshmallows were so good that I wanted to hide these from my party guests and hoard them for myself. These brownies were pretty much perfect, I wouldn’t change anything from the original recipe. The recipe is also really easy, just make sure to watch the marshmallows when they are under the broiler, they can burn pretty quickly. So I demand that you make these…. and then send them to me. Thanks in advance :)

S’mores Brownies

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Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (made from 10-12 rectangular crackers)
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, separated
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups mini-marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut two pieces of foil large enough to hang over the sides of a 8- or 9-inch square baking pan (this will look like handles off the sides of the baking pan). Butter the foil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Break the graham crackers into fine crumbs, either by pulsing in a food processor or smashing in a zip-top bag with a mallet. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and salt. Press into the bottom of the baking pan.

In a medium bowl, melt chocolate and the remaining stick of butter in the microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. When smooth, transfer the mixture to a large bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Mix in the remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, and another pinch of salt. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined.

Pour in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs attached. Be careful not to over-bake. Remove from the oven and top with marshmallows.

Adjust the oven rack to the upper third position and heat boiler. Broil the marshmallows until they are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Be sure to watch the marshmallows because they burn easily. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for 1 hour. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil sling and transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into squares, making sure to wipe the knife in between cuts because the marshmallows are very sticky. Enjoy!

Chicken, Spinach, and Crimini Lasagna

I hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and beginning of the holiday season! Our Christmas tree is up and we’ve started enjoying some classic holiday recipes, like mulled wine and hot cocoa. There will be more holiday classics coming up in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

This isn’t one of our classic holiday recipes but it could be because it’s that delicious! Also, this is my first home-made lasagna ever!!! I’m pretty proud of it if you couldn’t tell from all the exclamation points. I know making a lasagna from scratch seems intimidating but it’s really quite easy. I’ll be honest and admit that it was a little time consuming but totally worth it because it easily serves a crowd (or two for several days). The recipe is also easily adaptable. If you want to make it vegetarian, leave out the chicken and add more mushrooms. You need to make this recipe. Sorry to be bossy but go make it now.

Chicken, Spinach, and Crimini Lasagna

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Serves 8-10

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 30-40 minutes

For the filling:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
  • Salt and Pepper

For the bechamel:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • Lasagna sheets, parboiled just until soft
  • 2 cups mozzerella cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a large pinch of salt and a little olive oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook just until it’s pliable, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook the filling:

Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Add olive oil the pan and sear the chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Cut into bite-sized chunks when cool.

In the same pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the spinach until just wilted, 2-3 minutes, and season with salt and pepper. When you are sauteing the spinach, be sure to scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan left
from searing the chicken. Remove the spinach from the pan and set aside.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and olive oil in the pan. Add in the olive oil and add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are brown and most of their moisture has cooked off, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the pan and set aside.

Make the bechamel:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Add in the warmed milk and continue to stir. Cook until think, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Assembling the lasagna:

Coat the bottom of a 8 by 12 inch casserole dish with a little olive oil. Arrange 3 to 4 of the noodles over the bottom of the dish, you may have to piece them together to cover the bottom. Spread some of the sauce over the noodles. Arrange 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/3 of the spinach evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese. Repeat this process 2 times, layering noodles, sauce, fillings, and cheeses. Finish the lasagna with a final layer of noodles, the remaining sauce, and 1/4 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup of mozzerella cheese.

Bake the lasagna for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes at room temperature before slicing.

Smoky Slow-Cooker Chili

Once again, it’s game day. And when I watch football I have a few expectations, like Jeff yelling at the TV, Albus getting stressed because he doesn’t know why Jeff is yelling, and me looking at the football players’ cute butts. Another expectation is that there is cold beer and delicious food. This chili is especially delicious on a cool fall day while you are watching the game.

This recipe is really easy to throw together. Let me show you (now the obligatory food blog step-by-step):

First, brown the cubed meat in a large skillet. You will probably need to do this in batches, otherwise the meat will let off too much liquid and steam instead of sear. See all the yummy seared meat.

Put the meat into the slow cooker and add the vegetables. Sweat the vegetables while scraping the bottom of the pan to get up all browned bits. It seems like a lot of work, but that stuff is flavor!

When the vegetables are nice and soft, transfer them over to the slow cooker. Next, you need to make the seasoning mixture. Puree the chicken stock, chiles, seasonings, and corn meal until the chili’s are broken up.

It doesn’t look too appetizing, does it. But believe me, this adds a lot of flavor and heat. Add the tomatoes, beans, and seasoning mixture to the crock pot and stir. It will look like this:

After 8 hours in the slow cooker, something magical happens. The beef becomes fall apart tender, and the flavors meld together.

Mmmmm. I want this now. You need this now. So go make it. It takes 8 hours, so you better start.

Smoky Slow-Cooker Chili

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Serves 6-8 people

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 8 hours

  • Canola oil
  • 2 ½ lb boneless chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 dried arbol chiles, remove the stem and some of the seeds
  • 1 chipotle in adobo with ½ teaspoon of adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of corn meal
  • 1 (16 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Brown the chuck on all sides, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove the meat and add to the crock pot.

Decrease the heat in the pan to medium; add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sweat the mixture, while scraping the bottom of the pan to lift up the brown bits. Once the onion and pepper mixture is slightly softened, about 5 minutes, add it to the crock pot.

In the bowl of a small food processor (or measuring cup using an immersion blender), add the chicken stock, arbol chiles, chipotle in adobo, cumin, cayenne, salt, and corn meal. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add seasoning mixture to the crock pot. Also add the diced tomatoes, black beans, and pinto beans.

Turn on your slow cooker and set it to low. Allow the chili to cook for 8 hours. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, and tortilla chips.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I originally wasn’t going to blog this recipe, but I changed my mind after some convincing from Jeff. As you can see from the photo above, this dip isn’t very aesthetically pleasing. The photos I took don’t look very appetizing, but believe me, it is delicious. Jeff and I pretty much demolished the entire casserole in one sitting… yeah, it was that good.

It’s all the components of a Jalapeno Popper but in dip form. It’s also ridiculously easy to put together, unlike actual Jalapeno Poppers, which requires all that oil for deep frying. So make this the next time you are craving Jalapeno Poppers but don’t feel like lugging out a gallon of oil. It’s especially perfect to munch on during the game (Go Lions!).

Jalapeno Popper Dip

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Adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, diced green chiles, and jalapeno. Pour mixture in a baking dish. Top with an even layer of panko bread crumbs.

Bake until the mixture is bubbling around the edges and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.

Chicken and Chorizo Empanadas

So much for the unseasonably warm weather. It dropped like 20 degrees in two days, so it’s finally feeling like fall. And all this cool weather makes me want heartier food. This empanada definitely falls into that category. I found the recipe on one of the blogs that I frequent, Smitten Kitchen. It’s a great blog that’s been around for several years. The photos are beautiful and the recipes look delicious. Definitely check it out! Continue reading

Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Sorry about the three month absence. Life got in the way of me cooking, taking pictures of said cooking, and blogging about said cooking and pictures.

But I return to the blog with good news: I got a new job!!! This job has better hours, so now I can cook dinner again! And with a job with hours from 9-5, comes the challenge of finding make-ahead and/or quick-cooking dinners. It seems that being a student/unemployed has left me with an arsenal of meals that are unsuitable for the work week.  So if you have any suggestions for any of those types of recipes, please pass them over to me :) Continue reading