Friday, January 29, 2010

Espresso Ice Cream

Mark and I are having some friends over this evening so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use my new ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid. I have only used it one other time so I was very excited to try out a few different recipes. Yesterday I made both rocky road ice cream and espresso ice cream. I will save the rocky road for another post but today you will get my espresso ice cream recipe. I am a little frustrated with my ice cream maker at the moment though because I cannot use it without making a royal mess. I don't know if it is a flaw in the design or if I am just going about it the wrong way, but as a result of this, I spent a long time yesterday cleaning my kitchen. But, like most good things in life, it was worth the work. Both ice creams came out very tasty! Here is the recipe for the Espresso Ice Cream...

Espresso Ice Cream
3 cups half and half
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 1/2 T ground espresso coffee beans
1 T Kahlua
1 t vanilla extract

Heat the half and half over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add the half and half to the egg mixture VERY slowly (so you don't make scrambled eggs). Wipe out the pan and pour the entire mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 10-12 minutes, until it has thickened and the cream coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Pour the cream through a sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso beans, Kahlua and vanilla and refrigerate until completely chilled. (Overnight works great.)
Pour the espresso cream into an ice cream maker and follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. Return to a container and freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.

Notes: The ground espresso beans can be replaced with just regular coffee from the can but I think the freshness from the espresso beans is worth the extra trouble. Also, the finer you ground the beans the better. The larger coffee grinds leave an odd texture and get stuck in your teeth easier, and that is just not attractive.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken Parm Sandwiches

First, I was told that my mom has started reading this, so, Hey mom! Welcome!

Ok, now onto the food. Lately Mark and I have been eating these sandwiches pretty often. They aren't exactly easy or quick but they are ridiculously tasty. I usually serve them with fruit or a Caesar salad.

Chicken Parm Sandwiches (makes two sandwiches)
1 chicken breast or 6 chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 Kaiser rolls
Garlic Salt

Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
Trim the fat and tendons from the chicken. If using the breasts, pound until very thin and cut in half, creating 4 pieces. If using the tenders this is not necessary.
In three separate bowls place the following: bowl one - flour and salt and pepper, bowl two - egg with a splash of water, bowl three - breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Heat a skillet over medium heat with enough olive oil to just barely cover the bottom of the pan.
Take the chicken pieces, one at a time, and cover them with flour, dip in the egg wash, and roll generously in the breadcrumb mixture. Place into the hot skillet and repeat with remaining chicken.
Flip chicken after about 3 minutes and cook until both sides a nice, goldeny brown.
Remove chicken from skillet and place on a roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, cut the kaiser rolls in half and sprinkle with garlic salt.
Remove chicken from oven and switch on the broiler. Toast the kaiser rolls to desire crispness.
To assemble the sandwiches take the bottom of a kaiser roll, spread on some tomato sauce, place as much chicken as desired, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on it and more tomato sauce and top with the remaining half of the kaiser roll.
Ta da! You are done. Now, this takes a while to prepare, anywhere from 30 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on how many times you have done it, and it will be gone in about 5 minutes. It is so worth it though! They are like a big Italian meal all squished between two awesome pieces of bread. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Porcini Mushroom Tortellini

I would love to say that I spend hours making my own pasta and filling for these amazing tortellinis but I must not tell lies. They are ready made from the HEB frozen section. They are Central Market brand and they are divine!! Mark and I eat them at least once every two weeks and often once a week. I boil them as directed but then I saute them in olive oil and garlic to finish them. No other sauce is needed; actually, other sauces hid the awesome flavor which was a crime. I usually serve them with a ceaser salad, nothing fancy. This meal, start to finish, takes about 20 minutes and is my favorite go to meal! It feeds Mark and I and leaves left overs for my lunch at work which is great because I am SO tired of sandwiches and goldfish. So yes, today is quite a boring post, but it is one of my favorite dinners so go try it!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dried Cranberry and Almond Cookies

I made one of the variations of these at Christmas but I have since tried a few others. The original recipe was Dried Cherry and Almond cookies but I quickly learned that my grocery store only offers one kind of dried cherries, and they are $16.99 a pound!! That is a little expensive for our budget so this time I tried dried cranberries. They were just as good and actually much easier because there was no chopping necessary. Here is the recipe for what is currently my favorite cookie!

Dried Cranberry and Almond Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
handful of dried cranberries (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

In a larger mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon and salt until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour gradually and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Stir in the almonds and cranberries.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a skinny, long log. About 12-14 inches long and about 1 to 1.5 inches diameter. Wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This dough can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the log crosswise into 2 halves. Put one half back in the fridge so it doesn't get warm while you are making the first batch. Cut the remaining half into 1/2 inch slices. Transfer the dough slices to the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake about 14-17 minutes, until the edges are golden, almost brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and repeat with the other half of the dough.

The original recipe had an icing that I will post the recipe for but I found that I prefer them without the icing. They are plenty sweet without the icing and I think it over powers the flavor of the actual cookie. I do not recommend using it, but to each their own.

Put 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of water. Add more water as needed until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies and let them sit until the icing has hardened. Here is what the final product looks like with icing...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Immitation Ice Cream

Among my many food loves is ice cream. I like it from an ice cream parlor, the freezer section at the grocery store, homemade, a name it, I will eat it. The only problem with this love is that ice cream is not very healthy in massive quantities. I have tried to trim the calories, the fat, the sugar...just about everything that makes ice cream good. Nothing tastes like the real deal though and then I just feel bad for putting chemicals and artificial flavors in my body. There really is no substitute for ice cream but I have found something that is frozen and delicious and has the texture of ice cream that is....wait for it....healthy! Here is a recipe for One Ingredient Ice Cream...

One Ingredient Ice Cream

Bananas, ripe but not overly brown

Peel the bananas and break into 2 inch chunks.
Freeze chunks until frozen.
Place chunks in food processor and pulse until the substance looks like pie crust dough (kind of balled up).
Use a spatula to smooth out the puree.

It tastes very banana-y but it has a great texture and it a great dessert. I mixed in some Nutella and it made it divine!! Took away some of the healthy factor, but it was very good. I plan on trying to mix in some frozen strawberries next time to see how that tastes....I will let you know!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Queen Bed Frame for Sale

So I am taking a short break from food posts to try and sell our Queen bed frame. Mark and I are upgrading to a King size Tempur Pedic bed, yay!

The bed is from Star Furniture and is called the Artisan Leather Platform bed. It is dark cherry wood with a leather, padded headboard and wood railing all the way around. It is only 7 months old and looks brand new. Here is the link to the website...

Here are actual pictures...

We are asking for $450 (brand new from Star Furntiture is $599) but I am open to negotiations! If you are interested, leave a comment or email me at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Chicken

"I do not like them, Sam I am, I do not like Green Eggs and Ham."
Well, if Sam won't eat green food then he would have been quite unhappy in my household yesterday.

I am attempting to try out more recipes so that Mark and I can have more variety (aka nutrition) in our diets. This is very difficult because we both have many dishes that we love that we would be more than happy to eat all the time. But, as it turns out, pasta every night is not the healthiest way to live, so instead we are branching out. Last night I made a variation of a recipe that I found on a slow cooker blog. The original recipe was called Green Pepper Chicken but I decided to spice it up a bit by using Pablano Peppers. I also cooked it in the oven rather than a slow cooker. It came out very tasty and will be a versatile meal in the future. Here is the recipe!

Green Chicken

3 chicken breasts
2 pablano peppers, chopped with seeds removed
1 can diced green chilis
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 t basil
1 t garlic salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 325*.

Put the chicken in the bottom of an oven safe dish (that has a lid) and add pablano peppers, the whole can of chilis and diced onions. Add the basil, garlic salt and black pepper. Stir around so everything is equally coated with spices. Pour in the 1/4 cup of water. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 90 minutes (on in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours).

Remove the chicken from the dish and set aside. Use an immersion blender and blend the remaining ingredients in the dish. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup shredded cheese until fully combined. Slice the chicken and return to dish. Turn oven up to 360* and bake the dish for an additional 15 minutes.

The meat can be served in many ways: in a tortilla, over rice, as fajita meat....basically anything! Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nutella is my Vice

Some people are day time television junkies, some people can't resist smoking, some people turn to booze, but me, I have a weakness for tasty sweets. One of my most sinful indulgences is Nutella. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is a chocolate hazlenut spread that can be found in the peanut butter isle. I first had it on a crepe with bananas at Sweet Eugene's in College Station with my good friend Sarah Pat. Ever since then I have been addicted. I have tried it on just about anything from tortillas to fruit to pretzles to toast, but now, I have made...Nutella Ice Cream!!!!

My brother and sister in law got me the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer and this was my first test to see if I could make edible ice cream. Not only is it edible, it is probably one of my favorite desserts now! It is so creamy and delicious, everyone should try it!

The recipe is easy, the hard part is all the waiting time involved...

Nutella Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream and 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
In a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until the eggs become thick and pale yellow. This should take about 4 minutes.
Pour a small amount of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This should take 8-10 minutes.
Place a strainer over a medium sized bowl and pour the warm mixture through the strainer to prevent and lumps in the ice cream. Stir in the vanilla and Nutella until it dissolves. It will still have small flecks of Nutella in it. Chill the mixture for at least 8 hours but no more 16 hours. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow directions to freeze. When ice cream has formed, transfer to a sealable container and freeze for up to a week.

I hope everyone enjoys this as much as Mark and me!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Soup and Cornbread

It has been unusually cold here in Houston over the past few days and nothing tastes better in cold weather than a warm bowl of soup. My mom is out of town for a few days so we invited my dad over last night for some Chicken Enchilada Soup and homemade Cornbread. They were both AMAZING!!! I have never made cornbread before but it went over very well. It is actually a little bit funny because all my life I have loved my mom's cornbread. For those of you who know my mom, she does not cook much, so for me to covet one of her recipes is a rare thing. I decided to call her up and find out this awesome recipe of hers...only to find out that it is the recipe on the back of the Aunt Jamima corn meal box! Guess it wasn't a family recipes after all. It turned out very good though, I made both mini muffins and normal muffins and they were both really good. Between the three of us (Mark, my dad and me) we ate all of the mini ones! Here is one of the normal muffin ones...

The Chicken Enchilada came out amazing! I forgot to take a picture of it in the pot so instead you get to just imagine how good it was. This is one of my favorite recipes that I have tried since Mark and I got married because we both love it and it is rather healthy. The only draw back is that it takes a while but this can be avoided if you get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead of boiling your own chicken. Other than is so easy! Here is the recipe:


3 cooked shredded chicken breasts (or a mix of white and dark meat of your choice)

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup premade queso (we used HEB brand)

1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)

1 tablespoon powdered enchilada sauce mix

1-4 teaspoons minced jalepeno (depends on how spicy you like things)


~Saute the onions in a soup pot until soft, add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes

~Add broth, queso, tomatoe sauce and enchilada sauce mix to pot and stir until combined

~Add jalepeno and simmer for 10 minutes

Store overnight and reheat the next day for the best flavor

I hardly ever eat soup the day I make it...same goes for my tomatoe sauce. If you let things sit overnight you will find a much deeper, richer flavor. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Cookies Part 2 of 2

Although Christmas is over, I never actually finished
talking about my Christmas cookies. The picture
shows all of the goodies (except my puppy chow) that I brought for my family to indulge on. My favorite cookies are the ones on the left that for some reason are all blue (I did blue, green and red ones). They are an old sugar cookie recipe from one of my Dad's co-workers' wife. They are the most amazing cookies in the world. My first batch came out awful so I decided to head to the Elkin household to see what I was doing wrong. My dad spent an afternoon teaching me how to make the best, most fluffy cookies. They were quite the success. I know that I will be making these every year for as long as people will eat them. The only draw back was that Mark saw how much margerine is in he won't eat them!
On another note, I got a lot of kitchen related gifts for Christmas this year and I am looking forward to blogging my new experiments. Specifically, I got a Crock-Pot. I am really looking forward to trying it out and seeing what all kinds of yummy creations it can produce. Wish me luck!