#12NewTreats :: March :: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

In case you were unaware, March is my birthday month!

I normally like to celebrate as many times as possible, going to as many restaurants as people feel like taking me to, eating as much as people feel like feeding me.

This year was no bueno.

I woke up on my birthday with a sore throat, but thought it was allergies or a cold coming on.  I popped some Sudafed and felt better in a couple hours, then met my lovely coworkers for lunch and found I didn’t have much of an appetite.  Uh oh.  That usually does mean I’m getting sick.  (I mean, I always have an appetite.)  So I went to my next task for the day, which was some pampering at the salon.  I got my hair cut and a pedicure.  And halfway through the pedicure I could feel the medicine wearing off and I just started spiraling downwards, and fast.

By the time I got home an hour or so later, I had cancelled my birthday dinner plans with my family at a new steakhouse I’d found.  Such a sad.  😩  I ended up spending the night on the couch fighting off a fever that got as high as 103.7 at one point.  By the time I went to bed, I thought my fever had broken, but it got up again pretty high overnight.  Ugh.

I ended up cancelling my dinner plans the next night with my girl squad.  More sad.  I went to the doctor and they diagnosed me with strep.  Wah!!

Also ended up cancelling my dinner plans a couple days later with the rest of my family!

My birthday sucked this year!

But I’ve been trying to make up for it since.  We had a couple of make-up dinners, but it’s never the same as when you’re in the birthday spirit.  By a week later my birthday spirit had abandoned me and it just felt like another dinner out.  I have a make-up dinner with my girl squad next Friday.  And then all the make-ups are done.  lol

Well anyway.  To get to the point of the recipe.  I fought and fought and fought my kid on the 12 New Treats recipe for this month.  My argument was, hey, it’s my birthday month, we should make something that I choose.  And everything I picked, she shot down.  🙄  I finally just put my foot down and said NO.  WE ARE MAKING THIS FUDGY CHOCOLATE CAKE.  LOOK HOW DELICIOUS IT LOOKS.  NO?  OK.  WELL THEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT IT.  THIS IS WHAT WE ARE MAKING.

And like all the other make-ups I had to do for my birthday, this cake also got delayed until this weekend!  Well, it was worth the wait!!

I messed up the recipe though.  I put too much cocoa in.  It didn’t taste bad at all.  It was very chocolatey, obviously, but it wasn’t a problem with me.  This recipe was super easy and, I noticed, has no eggs in it, so if you are looking for an egg-free chocolate dessert, this could be it!

We of course topped it with vanilla ice cream and it was da bomb.

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup packed brown sugar
1¼ cups hot water
Vanilla ice cream, if desired for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine ¾ cup of the granulated sugar, flour, ¼ cup of the cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, melted butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into an lightly greased 2-quart ceramic dish or a 9-inch square baking pan (if it’s a non-stick pan, you don’t have to grease it) and spread evenly.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, remaining ¼ cup cocoa and mix well. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter in your dish or pan. Microwave the water for 2-3 minutes, until very hot, but not boiling or simmering. Pour the hot water over the top – but do not stir!

5. Bake 35-40 minutes if using a ceramic dish (or 30-35 minutes if using a metal pan) – or until the center is almost set. Remove your dish from the oven and allow it to stand for 15 minutes.

6. After 15 minutes, spoon the cake into individual serving bowls – making sure to spoon the fudgy sauce from the bottom of the pan over the top of the cake. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired and serve immediately.

#52NewEats :: Week 12 :: Paleo Bearnaise Sauce

Paleo Bearnaise Sauce

A few years ago, before it became ridiculously popular and was still relatively unheard of, I went strictly Paleo for more than a month (no grains, no sugar, no dairy, no legumes) and saw some serious results in the way I looked and felt.  Paleo was really hard for me to maintain though, because I don’t really like enough of a variety of proteins and vegetables to keep it interesting.  So since then, I have dabbled off and on with the Paleo diet – sometimes I will go strict for a month to clean up my diet; sometimes I will be Paleo during the week and eat whatever I want on the weekends.  And sometimes I just go off the rails completely and turn into a pasta-eating fiend.

What can I say, ya girl loves carbs.

But then, with the rise of Crossfit in popularity, I feel like I also saw an equivalent rise in the popularity of the Paleo diet.  I mean, back when I went Paleo a few years ago, I could barely find any Paleo recipes on Pinterest.  It seemed like the same 20 recipes over and over.  I had to get creative with menu planning.  Now – gosh.  Go search ‘Paleo Recipes’ on Pinterest and be wowed.  They have recipes for Paleo sandwich bread now, Paleo fudge, Paleo brownies, Paleo hamburger rolls, Paleo this and Paleo that… it’s a lot easier to be Paleo now than it was when I did it!

I even found a cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (whom I trust on all things food) called //Paleo Perfected//.  You know I had to buy it!  Well imagine my delight when I paged through to find a recipe for Paleo Bearnaise sauce…. 😍

Bearnaise sauce is only the greatest sauce of all time.  I put it on steak, I dip French fries in it, I ladle it all over baked potatoes.  I use it indiscriminately on anything and everything.

(Shh.  I have even been known to dip pretzels in it.)

But anyway, I saw this recipe and had to try it.  Homemade Bearnaise sauces are not easy to make – there is much tempering of yolks and hot melted butter and whisking and such.  But this was a blender recipe, so I figured I’d give it a go.

I happened to think this sauce turned out very good.  It was pretty vinegar-y, but I modified it a little bit.  I kept some of the shallots in the sauce, while the recipe asks you to discard them.  Also, I like a tangier, more vinegar-y Bearnaise.  My husband wasn’t a huge fan, but I loved it.

(For the record, we both thought the homemade //blender Bearnaise// by Ina Garten he’d made for Valentine’s Day was much better and more traditional-tasting – but that was not Paleo.  😉)

Anyway, I hope you make this and enjoy it!  This one is staying in my recipe rotation fo’ sho’!

Paleo Bearnaise Sauce
From America’s Test Kitchen’s book, Paleo Perfected

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
10 tablespoons ghee, melted and still hot

1. Bring vinegar, tarragon sprigs, and shallots to a simmer in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until vinegar is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 5-7 minutes. Discard tarragon sprigs. If you like shallots in your Bearnaise sauce, leave a few in the skillet and discard the rest; otherwise, discard altogether. (I chose to keep a few, it was delicious.)

2. Process egg yolks, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and vinegar mixture in blender until frothy, about 10 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in hot melted ghee until fully emulsified, about 1 1/2 minutes. Adjust sauce consistency with hot water as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Pour into a gravy boat or a bowl. Stir in finely chopped fresh tarragon, season with salt and pepper, and serve with a big, juicy filet mignon.

#52NewEats :: Week 11 :: Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy

Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy

I’m not sure if you’ve paid much attention or not, but, I love Mexican food.  LOVE.  Mexican food.  Nachos are my absolute favorite food ever, but, enchiladas come in as a close second.

I typically prefer chicken enchiladas, but these beef enchiladas caught my eye some time ago, mostly because of the enchilada sauce recipe.  Most enchilada sauce recipes I’ve seen use Ancho or Guajillo chilies, and this was the first I’d seen using Pasilla and Chipotle chilies.  I’ve been on a hunt to recreate my favorite Mexican restaurant’s enchilada sauce, and this combination sounded unique enough that I thought I’d give it a shot.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed!  I thought these enchiladas were pretty damn tasty!  I would make them again, for sure.  The only thing I would change is I would stir more enchilada sauce into the beef mixture prior to stuffing them.  I like the innards of an enchilada to be somewhat saucy.  Also, I forgot to add cheese to the inside, and I would definitely do that too.

I always struggle with corn tortillas, and in fact I was half expecting them to fall apart once I scooped them out of the dish to serve them, but they held together very well.  I heated them up according to package directions (not recipe directions) prior to rolling.  Maybe that was the trick.  😊

You can find the original recipe //here//.  I am actually so excited to have found this blog, because so many of the recipes look amazing!  I shall go troll now and pin like a fiend!

Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy
Serves 4-6

For the pasilla-chipotle chili gravy:
1 or 2 dried chipotle chiles (depending on how hot you want it), seeds and stems removed
4 dried pasilla chiles, seeds and stems removed
1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the enchiladas:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced and divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

1. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla and chipotle chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Once hydrated, discard the soaking water and rinse the chiles. Place in a blender.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, in heat up the vegetable oil and while occasionally stirring cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Place cooked onion and garlic into the blender, along with the cumin, oregano, and the broth. Blend until smooth.

3. In a pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil on low heat, whisking in the flour until well incorporated. Pour in the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust other seasonings as needed.

4. Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium heat (I use the same one that I used for the onions and garlic) add the ground beef, half of the diced onions and garlic. While stirring occasionally, cook the meat until browned, about 10 minutes. (If you like, you can drain the extra fat once the meet is browned.) Stir in the cumin and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust seasonings. Stir into the meat 1/4 cup of the chili gravy.

5. To make the enchiladas, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking dish. Heat tortillas according to package directions, and keep warm in a towel as needed. Lay each tortilla on a plate or clean cooking surface and add about 2 tablespoons of beef and some of the cheese. Roll the tortilla and place in greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining grated cheese and diced onions. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

#52NewEats :: Week 10 :: Soft Pretzel Bites

Soft Pretzel Bites

After a few weeks of #52NewEats recipes that fell flat with my daughter, I thought I’d look for something more up her alley.  And voila!  I found this recipe pinned from way back in da day for soft pretzel bites.

My kid LOVES soft pretzels.  Like every time we go to Target – “Mom can I get a soft pretzel?”  Lucky her she lives in the Land of Soft Pretzels.  Philly is known for them.  I love them too – particularly after a workout.  There is just something about the carby, salty soft pretzel that sets me right after busting my ass at the gym.

So kiddo was pretty excited when I told her we’d be having these for one of our ‘snacks for dinner’ nights.  This recipe took some planning – you have to let the dough rise for a while – but they were very good!

My husband is a salt addict, and some time ago I’d been at some market in Amish country and found a bag of pretzel salt.  I actually bought it for him as a joke, figuring he would sit on the couch and just scoop it into his mouth.  Luckily, he didn’t.  So luckily, we had pretzel salt in the house already for this recipe!  You can probably find pretzel salt in any kind of market that sells items in bulk – like those bags and bags of gummi bears, or tubs of candies or cupcake decorations.  Otherwise, just go with what the recipe recommends!

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Soft Pretzel Bites

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda (for boiling the pretzels)
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt)

1. Combine the 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

3. Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and carefully add the baking soda. It will boil over, so add slowly and be careful!

5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.

6. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches, for about 30 seconds per batch. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed heavily with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

7. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.

#12NewTreats :: February :: Galaxy Ice Cream

Galaxy Ice Cream

Now that March is almost over, I figured it was the perfect time to post about our February #12NewTreats recipe!  😂

My daughter picked this recipe because she is obsessed with rainbows and ice cream, so it was perfect for her.

The recipe itself was very easy to make – I would not have done this without a stand mixer though.  But I love that it doesn’t need the ice cream maker – even though I have one, it is nice to not have to use one!

For me, the ice cream was a little too sweet.  But, I am not the biggest ice cream person.  I know, who am I, right?  I mean I like ice cream, but I’m not the I CAN EAT A WHOLE PINT person like my husband is.  I’m the let-me-take-a-couple-spoonfuls-and-be-done person.  Literally.  I will go through phases where I’ll want bowls of ice cream but they are few and far between.  So for me to say that this is a touch sweet for me probably doesn’t mean anything to the real ice cream eater champions of the world out there.

My daughter certainly enjoyed it!

The ONLY bummer about this ice cream had nothing to do with the recipe – our food coloring pots were mislabeled, so we ended up with an icky mauve color instead of the bright teal color we were hoping for.  🙄  Thanks //Wilton//.  But we got that sorted out and should have the right colors next time!

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Galaxy Ice Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 8oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Food coloring of choice
Sprinkles & decorations of choice

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the whipping cream on medium until soft peaks form. (Make sure you watch the video on the blog website to see what soft peaks look like!)

2. Once soft peaks form, add in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and mix until well combined.

3. Separate ice cream batter into separate bowls and color with food coloring of choice.

4. Combine each color into a large container and use a skewer or a spatula to swirl it around. Decorate with sprinkles and decorations. Freeze for 4-6 hours before serving.

#52NewEats :: Week 9 :: Buffalo Cheese Fondue

Buffalo Cheese Fondue

Buffalo cheese fondue is another one of those recipes I pinned some time ago and WAS SO EXCITED TO MAKE and then just… never… made it.  Which is the whole point of the #52NewEats project!  To force me to go and make some of these recipes I’ve collected over the years.

And like a total duncecap, I was all like yeah, let’s make this buffalo cheese fondue!  Even though I don’t have a fondue pot!

Not quite sure what I was thinking.  Because I didn’t realize, hey, duncecap, I don’t have a fondue pot, until after I’d already bought all the ingredients and stuff.  But that’s ok!  Like a true kitchen innovator, I improvised and used a small cast iron skillet.  (That I had actually bought for the express purpose of making another recipe that I’d never made…. I have many weeks left in the year to get to it!)  This worked out pretty well, although, the dip didn’t stay very fondue-like, but that’s ok.  It WAS delicious, and was very good as a dip for French fries!  The original recipe //found here// recommends dipping chicken nuggets and celery into it – I couldn’t get with the idea of cold celery and hot cheese, but I did make some chicken fingers to dip, and wasn’t a fan.  But a dip for French fries – yes!

It was a tasty treat for a game night for us, but I would like to give this recipe another shot sometime with an actual fondue pot.  🙂

Buffalo Cheese Fondue

3 tablespoons buffalo sauce
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4oz crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup milk
Celery sticks
Fried chicken strips or nuggets

1. In a fondue pot or regular pot, melt cream cheese with the buffalo sauce over medium heat. Stir it frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn.

2. Once the cream cheese and buffalo sauce are melted together and saucy, add the rest of the cheeses and stir to combine. Then add the milk. Stir to combine until all is melted together nicely.

3. Serve with celery sticks and fried chicken strips (or French fries!).

#52NewEats :: Week 8 :: Salsa Baked Cheese

Salsa Baked Cheese

Chips and salsa is one of our FAVORITE snacks around here.  And //this salsa// is one of our favorites.

My daughter is so picky.  SOOOO picky.  SO.  PICKY.  And I don’t even know how she got that way because her father and I are pretty good eaters.  But she does like chips and salsa.  If you count, dipping your chip into the salsa and shaking off all the chunky veggies, ‘liking’ chips and salsa.

Anyway, that’s one of the reasons she really loves THIS Frontera salsa, because it doesn’t have giant chunks of tomatoes or onions – they are pretty small chunks, and I’m pretty sure she has absent-mindedly accidentally ingested vegetable matter while eating chips with this salsa.

So, what sounds better than creamy cream cheese and tangy goat cheese mixed together, covered with salsa, and baked?!  To her – so many things.  She wouldn’t touch this.  Even though she likes a) cream cheese, b) goat cheese, and c) this salsa.  She has major issues with eating foods she likes that are all mixed together.  However, hubby and I both really enjoyed this dish.  It would be great to have out at a party, and I think I might do it differently next time…

You can find the original recipe //here//, or on the back of the jar of salsa.  🙂

🍴  The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds but I omitted them bc ew, pumpkin.

🍴  The recipe also instructs you to form the mixed cheeses into a disk – next time I make this, I might spread it around the bottom of a baking dish.

Salsa Baked Cheese

4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz soft goad cheese, softened
1 jar Frontera Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa
Minced fresh cilantro, as desired
Tortilla chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix the cheeses together until well combined and form into a disk. Place into a baking dish and pour the jar of salsa over top.

3. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until piping hot.

4. Sprinkle with fresh minced cilantro if desired, and serve with tortilla chips.

Favorite Chicken Salad

Favorite Chicken Salad

There’s this Jewish deli in Bala Cynwyd, PA, near where I used to live, called Hymie’s.  And Hymie’s makes THE BEST chicken salad I have had ANYWHERE in this entire world.

I know, I know, again – here we are – really SFB?  Chicken salad?  I know.  It’s so simple, probably everyone has a recipe for it.

But do you know how to make it like Hymie’s makes it?

I will tell you that if you are in the Philadelphia area and consider yourself a chicken salad aficionado, then you should take a Saturday and head out to Bala Cynwyd and pick up a pint of it at Hymie’s.  Pick up a couple of their pickles too.  Ugh, mouth watering.

So, there’s also this kinda sorta popular food blogger, Mel Joulwan, who was my idol during my Paleo days, and in one of her cookbooks she has a recipe for deli tuna salad.  But ew, fish.  So I skimmed over the recipe ingredients and thought hey, maybe I can just swap out the tuna with shredded chicken, and voila, chicken salad.  Well, I did exactly that, AND OMG WHAT ARE THE CHANCES BUT IT TASTED JUST LIKE HYMIE’S.

That might have been the most excited I’d been while following Paleo.

But the beauty of this chicken salad is that it can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be.  There have been times where I’ve just wanted to throw something together for lunch for the week and I toss only some of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up and it’s still delicious.  But the full recipe – listed here – is, dare I say, a Hymie’s copycat chicken salad recipe.

My absolute favorite way to eat this chicken salad is as pictured – wrapped in butter or Boston lettuce leaves.  But, if you are going for a non-Paleo, Jewish-deli style experience with your chicken salad, pile it up onto some rye bread and nomz it down.  With a big ol’ pickle on the side.  😉

Favorite Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (you can roast or poach, then shred)
1/4 medium yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash cayenne pepper
1 rip celery, finely diced (or more, depending on your taste)
2 tablespoons dried chives
1/4 cup dill relish
2-3+ tablespoons mayo

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. You will want to add enough mayo to hold it all together, but not so much that it is sopping wet. Start with 2-3 tablespoons and go from there. Once you reach desired consistency, refrigerate to let the flavors combine. It should keep for a few days in the fridge. Enjoy!