Buttermilk Ranch

Ranch

Ranch is the perfect condiment to almost every dish! It is creamy, tangy and packed with flavor. It is also really easy to make! After trying my recipe, you will never reach for the store bought stuff again.

 

Recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

1 cup olive oil mayo

1 pint buttermilk

2 tablespoons dried parsely

1 tablespoon dried dill

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well.

2. Enjoy!

 

Want to make this light? Substitue the mayo for greek yogurt!

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Peanut Butter Nutella Cups

peanut buter nutella cups, peanut butter and nutella, nutella, chocolate

From cookies, to crepes, cheesecake and pies, Nutella can be found on almost every dessert menu.

The delicious hazelnut spread pairs perfectly with peanut butter, top it off with toasted pecans and chocolate and you have the most delectable treat! *Best eaten with a cold glass of milk!

When I was searching around my kitchen, for something to use to make an indentation into the cups, I came across a water bottle and to my delight, it fit perfectly into the peanut butter cup!

peanut butter cupsAnother tip for this recipe is to use a sandwich bag to drizzle on the chocolate.

peanut butter nutella cups

Here is my recipe:

Peanut Butter Nutella Cups
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36 mini cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or peanuts
  • ¼ chocolate for melting
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using mixer at medium speed, cream together butter, peanut butter, brown and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs one at at time, mixing well.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in to wet ingredients.
  5. Line a mini cupcake tin. Scoop cookie batter into each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookie will be loose. It will set as it cools.
  6. Using the top of a water bottle (wash it first), make an indentation into the center of each cookie cup.
  7. Spoon 1 teaspoon Nutella into each of the cavities.
  8. Melt ¼ cup chocolate with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (this makes it smooth and gives the chocolate nice shine).
  9. Spoon chocolate into a sandwich bag.
  10. Make a small hole at the end of a sandwich bag and drizzle on the chocolate.
  11. Toast pecans, and sprinkle on top of the chocolate.
  12. Enjoy 🙂

 

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Easy Homemade Pita Bread

I love pita!! It is so versatile. You can use it scoop your favorite dips, like my avocado hummus, or stuff it with shawarma or gyro meat. While living in Dearborn, I was surrounded by delicious pita, I never had to make my own. There was several local bakeries who made fresh pita daily. There were also many local restaurants who served up fresh, made to order pitas, that when pulled apart would release a cloud of steam!

Living in the Pacific North West, I have not found a pita that compares to those made in South East Michigan, so I decided to try and make it myself. To my delight, it was so easy to make and left me wondering why I haven’t made it myself before.

 

Easy Homemade Pita Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen small pita
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1¼ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3½ cups all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Dissolve sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Add in salt and 1 cup of flour.
  2. Using hook attachment on stand mixer, mix to make a dough.
  3. Slowly add remaining flour until a shaggy dough is formed. Knead for 10 minutes until dough comes together and is smooth.
  4. Cover dough with moist kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm, dark place, until the dough has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour). I use the inside of my oven.
  5. Separate dough into equal round pieces. Do this by pinch off a round off the dough mass.
  6. Roll out the dough. It is extremely important to roll the pitas evenly, so they can puff up!
  7. Preheat oven to highest temperature.
  8. While the oven is heating, allow the pita rounds to rest.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven until golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Note: You can make the dough my hand with the help of a flat wooden spoon. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. 

*Like with any yeast dough, the amount of flour you will actually need may vary based on humidty, temperature, and other factors. You may need more or less. Know your dough 🙂

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Avocado Hummus

Avocados are delicious. But when combined with chickpeas, in a smooth hummus blend.. they are out of this world!

Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern side dish, made of smashed chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon. It is high in iron and vitamin C. It is also a good source of protein and fiber, making it a great side to any meal. Hummus is always served with pita bread. Refer to my next post for a very easy pita recipe!

 

IngredientsThis recipe makes approximately 3 cups of hummus.

Ingredients:

1 15oz can of chickpeas

2 medium ripe avocados

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley (more for garnish, if desired)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Fresh ground pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes

EVOO

 

Procedure:

1. In a food processor, pulse together chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, cumin and black pepper until smooth. Add in avocado and pulse until smooth.

2. Top with EVOO, parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve with pita bread!

3. Enjoy!

 

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Blueberry Pie

Today was a beautiful day in the Puget Sound, meaning it could only be spent  outdoors. Wish such lush land and all the rain, there are many farms, even in the cities. We decided to go to a local blueberry farm! blueberries

 

With the pulp berries we picked, I decided to make mini blueberry pies 🙂

blueberries

 

Makes two individual pies

Ingredients:

For pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

1 beaten egg

 

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar in the raw (optional; to top pastry)

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. To make the pastry mix the flour and salt in a bowl. cut in the shortening, using a pastry blender or criss-crossing two knives, until mixture look like a bowl of small particles. It should look something like this:

pie

3. Sprinkle cold water over mixture until pastry leaves the side of the bowl.

4. Gather the pastry into a ball. Turn over onto floured surface and shape into a flattened a round. Place in refrigerator to firm up (this will also help make an extra flaky pastry).

5. While the pastry is in the refrigerator, make the filling. Combine all ingredients.

6. Roll chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a large cutter, to cut out 4 piece. On two of the pieces, using a small cookie cutter, cut out a small shape, in order to release steam (these will be the tops).

7. Spoon filling onto the two bottom pastry pieces. Top with second pasty and use a fork to crimp the edges together.

8. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Sprinkle Sugar in the Raw on top of pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Enjoy!

I had mine with vanilla ice cream! blueberry pie with icecream

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LA Bistro copy cat recipe

If you live in Dearborn, Michigan you have probably been to LA Bistro at least once.. a week! They have many delicious dishes including “New Born Beef”, which I have recreated.

During the month of Ramadan (Muslim Holy month in which we fast from sunrise to sunset), I like to prepare the ingredients ahead of time. This way, I can cook right before Iftar (meal eating at sunset). Preparing the ingredients in such a manner is called, “Mise en Place”, French for putting in place.

It will look a little something like this: Mise en place

 

The recipe is as follows:

Makes 4 servings

For the Newborn Beef:

1 medium white onion chopped

8 oz button mushrooms chopped

2 tablespoons EVOO

1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used what I had on hand; Mexican blend. But cheddar would be great too)

1 green pepper chopped

1 pound beef chopped into 1 inch long strips (like you would cut for fajitas)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper

 

For the rice:

1 cup long grain whole wheat rice

2 cups water

1 tablespoon EVOO

2 threads of saffron

1 star anise

salt and pepper

 

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients for the rice and bring to a boil. Turn down to lowest heat setting and let cook for approximately 20 minutes.

2. Heat pan on medium heat and add EVOO and strips of beef. Add onion, mushroom, green pepper and spices. Cook through.

3. Remove from heat and top with shredded cheese.

4. Serve with salad and ranch. I will post my homemade ranch recipe soon!

5. Enjoy!

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The impossible cookie IS possible!!

By impossible cookie, I am of course talking about French Macaroon. Many before have tried to conquer the most elite cookie of our time and have failed this quest. I too, have failed and failed again. There was always something wrong; the color, the shape, no “crown”. But finally, I have created the perfect French Macaroon. The recipe I found was not the Ladure`e recipe, but one found in Food Network Magazine, May 2014 edition. I made some modifications (as I always do). It is important to know your oven. My oven runs very hot and so I always adjust the temperature on recipes.

 

The recipe is as follows:

Makes 36 cookies, 18 sandwiched macaroons

Ingredients:

1 3/4 powdered sugar

1 cup almond flour

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 drops food coloring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Blueberry Filling:

4 oz softened cream cheese

3 tablespoons blueberry jam

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with silicon mats (I used parchment paper for one tray and it was fine).

2. Mix almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl . Sift mixture thru a fine-mesh sieve. Use a spatula to add in this process. (Yes, it takes a while). Toss whatever does not go thru the sieve.

3. Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually spoon in the sugar and increase mixer speed to medium high. Continue beating until the mixture is stiff and shiny. (Took me 10 minutes total)

4. Carefully fold in the almond flour and sugar mixture into the stiff egg whites. DO NOT STIR. Fold gently together; you want as much air as possible to remain in the egg.

5. Add 2 drops of food coloring and the vanilla extract. Continue to fold until the mixture is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin, flat ribbon.

6. Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch round tip (Wilton #12) and fill with batter. Pipe out the cookies on the baking sheet.

7. Let the cookies set for 15 to 60 minutes. The cookies should no longer be sticky… this means they are ready!

8. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

9. Mix together cream cheese and blueberry jam. Spread onto cookie and sandwich together.

10. Enjoy 🙂

Blueberry Macaroons
Blueberry Macaroons

 

 

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Balsamic Chicken with Red Kale Hash

This light chicken recipe is packed with flavor! A delicious and easy summertime dinner recipe 🙂

 

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon mustard

2 ears corn

1 bunch red kale, chopped

1 large pealed potato, diced into 1 inch cubes

1 medium yellow onion, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

Salt and pepper

 

Process:

1. Preheat cast iron grill pan and placed corn on. Cook on all sides and remove from pan. Allow to cool and cut kernels off.

2. Whisk vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomato paste and mustard in a bowl. Pour over chicken breasts. Cook chicken breasts on preheated grill pan on medium heat. To achieve “perfect” grill marks, cook chicken at 10 o’clock and then move to 2 o’clock. then /

3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook potatoes and onion in remaining 2 tablespoons oil on medium high heat. Add red kale, let wilt. Add corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Remove chicken from heat and serve on bed of the hash.

5. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

*This recipe inspired in part by “weeknight cooking” feature in Food Network Magazine in the June/July 2014 edition.

 

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Peach Dream

If you’re looking for a light, delicious dessert which uses one of the best ingredients that summer has to offer,  then this Peach Dream recipe is for you!

 

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup almond slices

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon butter

2 juicy peaches

4 tablespoons room temperature mascarpone cheese

Mint for garnish (optional)

 

Process:

Step 1. Mix the rolled outs, almonds, pumpkin pie spice and honey together and spread evenly onto a baking sheet.

Step 2. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until golden brown. Approximately 7-10 minutes. Remove and left cool.

Step 3. Melt butter on cast iron grill pan and place halved and pitted peach flesh side down. Cook until the peach is soft (but not too soft) and begins to caramelize. Approximately 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 4. Scoop mascarpone into peach center (I used a small ice cream scoop to create a dome shape) and top with granola and mint.

Step 5. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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