Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cheater's Creme Brulee

Pin It So my husband absolutely LOVES creme brulee.  He scans every restaurant dessert menu and tries as many as he can.  He appreciates straight forward, no added flavors, colors or decorations creme brulee.  I have made traditional versions, but I am horrified by the amount of calories and fat present in that tiny dish.  I can't enjoy a dessert if I know that the only ingredients are heavy cream, eggs and sugar.  So I decided to come up with a less fattening version.  I consider it cheating because there is no cooking or skill involved.  However, I have managed to trick my husband into thinking these were the real thing more than once.  To get the full effect you will need a pastry torch.  I found mine in a creme brulee kit at my local Target store.

Cheater's Creme Brulee
1 box vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
4 T white sugar

1. Whisk milk into pudding mix until smooth.
2. Divide evenly between 4 ramekins.
3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, until set.
4. Just before serving sprinkle 1 T of sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin.
5. Use a pastry torch to brown the sugar.
6. Allow to cool so a crispy sugar crust forms.
7. Enjoy.

Lobster Pot Pie

Pin It Comfort food at it's finest.  Juicy lobster and crisp veggies in a creamy sauce covered by a perfectly flaky crust.  Great for cold fall evenings.  Delicious with a glass of white wine.  This recipe makes 2 large potpies.  You could easily make 4 small servings or put it all in an 8 X 8 baking dish for a family style meal.

Lobster Potpie
Adapted from Cosmopolitan Magazine
1 T butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c frozen peas
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lb cooked lobster meat (I cheated and used imitation lobster meat and it was very delicious)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet heat butter until melted.  Add onions and carrots and cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add corn and peas, cook for 2 minutes until thawed.  Add flour and cook for 1 minute (to eliminate the raw flour flavor).  Slowly add milk and chicken broth, stirring constantly until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add lobster and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spray inside and top of outside of ovenproof bowls with cooking spray.  Spoon mixture into 2 bowls or ramekins.  Flatten the puff pastry sheet.  Cut squares large enough to cover the tops of the bowls.  It is ok if it overlaps down the sides a bit since you sprayed with cooking spray.  Press down the edges to seal it to the bowl.  Cut a small slit in the top to vent the steam.  Using a pastry brush, cover the entire top with the beaten egg.  This will give it a nice brown color when baked. 

Place the potpies on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Pin It I love soup on cold, rainy days.  I find it so comforting and I love the delicious smell that takes over your house.  It's a great way to spend a lazy day inside.  If you like stuffed peppers you will love this easy soup.  I actually like the soup better because you don't have to fight with the pepper skin when you are eating it and all of the flavors are blended together perfectly.  Makes great leftovers for lunch for several days (if it lasts that long at your house).

Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 bell peppers, diced (any color, I used red, yellow and green this time)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can beef broth
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 c brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pot, brown ground beef.  Drain and set aside.
2. Add onions and peppers to the pot and let them brown/cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.  Stirring occassionally.
3. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar and beef broth.  Bring to a boil.
4. Add cooked rice and ground beef.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Can simmer all day if you want.
5. Serve with warm rolls to soak up the juices and enjoy :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fool Proof Shrimp Boil

Pin It My friends and I have a dinner club once a month.  Last month the host made a down home shrimp boil in her tiny apartment kitchen.  I had always shied away from this East Coast staple because of the amount of food it makes and the multitude of ingredients I was convinced I would need.  However, after our delicious meal at dinner club, I was inspired to make a mini shrimp boil at my house.  This version serves 4, but could easily be halved or doubled to fit your crowd.  (I would recommend making more than you need because the leftovers are quite delicious).  I call this recipe fool proof because you only need 1 large pot and you keep adding ingredients to the pot at different times.  I don't think the outcome would be any different if you accidentally added an ingredient at the wrong time or if you overcooked the whole meal.  It would still taste wonderful.  You would have to try really hard to mess this one up!
I cannot take full responsibility for this recipe.  It is adapted from the original Old Bay Shrimp Boil.

Fool Proof Shrimp Boil
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
2 onions, chopped into wedges
1 tsp salt
1 can of beer
4 medium sized red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 2 inch sections
2 ears of corn, broke in half
1 lb shrimp with shells

1. In a large stock pot, bring 2 quarts of water, beer, salt and Old Bay to a boil.
2. Add onions and potatoes and cook for 8 minutes.
3. Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add corn and cook for 7 minutes.
5. Add shrimp and cook until pink (about 5 mintues).
6l Remove from heat and spoon into bowls.  I like to serve mine with a little of the cooking liquid and a sprinkle of Old Bay.  Also delicious with a slice of warm cornbread.

I stored my leftovers in the fridge with the container about half way filled with cooking liquid so the leftovers would not dry out when reheated.  It was just as delicious for lunch as it was the night before.