Recipes

Pumpkin Biscotti with White Chocolate

white chocolate pumpkin biscotti

Happy October!! Thought I would kick off our favorite month with a recipe for some pumpkin treats! What’s better on a cold autumn morning than a hot cup of coffee and some homemade baked goods? Not much. Especially if those goodies involve pumpkin. If you agree, then make yourself a batch of these white chocolate dipped pumpkin biscotti to welcome Fall this weekend!

pumpkin biscotti dipped in white chocolate
Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
white chocolate morsels

pumpkin biscotti dough
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F

In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and ginger. Beat just until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. You can also substitute an equal amount of “pumpkin pie spice,” which is just each of these spices pre-mixed together! I prefer using fresh ginger though, I think it adds a little something extra to the flavor that is really worth it!

Working a small portion at a time, add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly until dough forms.

shaping biscotti dough

Split dough into two equal portions and shape each half into a flattened log shape, like you see  in the picture above. Place these on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. But don’t throw away your parchment yet! …Stuff is expensive…

how to cut biscotti

Once cooled, slice each “loaf” diagonally into pieces about one inch thick. This will give you the classic, elegant, biscotti shape. Biscotti actually means “twice cooked” so you will be popping these babies back in the oven again! They are meant to be crispy crunchy and dipped in coffee!

Lay them out flat side down back on your parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for another 15 minutes on each side, flipping them over in between.

baking biscotti - twice baked

Set up a double boiler and melt white chocolate morsels. If you are having trouble getting the melted chocolate smooth enough for dipping, stir in a spoonful of vegetable shortening. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted white chocolate, and lay back onto parchment sheet to set.

pumpkin biscotti with white chocolate

Personally, I think biscotti are best enjoyed in the morning, preferably on a Sunday… when you have refused to get dressed and instead cozy back in on the couch with your cup of joe and plate of cookies… and proceed to watch an hour or two of Netflix…  Enjoy!!! :)

Easy Homemade Bruschetta

easy homemade bruschette

This time of year I’m always looking for ways to use up the last of our summer tomatoes. Last year I did some slow roasting and shared my experience making my own oven dried tomatoes, which turned out absolutely fantastic! But let’s be real, those babies took a pretty significant amount of time to make. And large blocks of time I rarely have.

If I’m being honest, my go-to tomato recipe year after year is this simple, classic bruschetta. It’s one of my favorite appetizers, and being able to make it using fresh picked tomatoes from my garden is the best! Although it ultimately signals the end of summer which is sad. At least there are always pumpkin treats to look forward to around the corner. (I already have a pumpkin treat coming up for you guys but in case you already have pumpkin fever and just can’t wait, you might wanna check out our pumpkin scones or mini pumpkin doughnut muffins from last fall! Yeah, yeah… SO “basic.” Whatever.)

what you need for bruschetta
Anyway, let’s get to the BRUSCHETTA! Yum.

You don’t need a whole lot to whip up this simple healthy dish, just some fresh ripe tomatoes, an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, olive oil, and Italian style herbs and spices. I use fresh thyme, dried basil, salt and pepper. You’ll also wanna pick up some good crusty bread to spoon it onto. All good stuff.

make bruschetta with fresh thyme

My secret to a really good tasting bruschetta is fresh thyme. We grow it in our garden but you can pick it up in the produce aisle as well. Can’t beat this stuff. It’s the perfect compliment to anything tomato and it smells incredible!

how to make homemade bruschetta

This isn’t the kind of recipe where I can give you exact amounts for anything, you just kinda have to taste as you go. I like to keep the ratio of tomato to onion something like 5 to 1…ish… but it’s really up to your own tastes! Dice up your tomatoes and onion nice and small, then mix those together. Finely dice your garlic cloves and throw that in there too.

spices to use in tomato bruschetta

Drizzle on a healthy amount of olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, basil and thyme. Just pull all the little leaves off the thyme and discard the stalk. Stir that all up and stick it in the fridge until chilled. Boom. Done.

easy homemade summer bruscetta with thyme

My favorite way to eat bruschetta is just on top of some sliced Italian bread, maybe with a little hummus on there too. Add some good cheese, olives, and grapes on the side and you have perfection!

But wait, there’s more! There are about one million other ways you can use bruschetta! Throw it in a pasta or on top of an omelette, mix it into a salad or a sandwich, sprinkle it your ice-cream or run it through your hair!…. okay maybe not but you get the idea…

Coconut Creamsicle Smoothies (and Popsicles!)

orange coconut smoothie recipe

We’ve been having some very hot summer days here lately, and I was in need of a cool refreshing treat.
I am one of those people who likes absolutely anything with coconut. I wanted to give a coconut-y spin to the classic combo of orange and cream, so I blended up these Coconut Creamsicle Smoothies for the boyfriend and I one afternoon.

I’ll definitely be making them again and again, because they are downright delicious! Cool and creamy, they’re great for summer breakfast or dessert.

Orange and coconut smoothies or popsicles

The main components I used were frozen orange juice concentrate and coconut milk, but the full ingredient list includes:

1 12oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2  12oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
a handful of ice cubes (to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely shredded coconut
coconut rum (optional)

making smoothies with juice concentrate

Throw the coconut milk, OJ, sugar, vanilla, and ice all in a blender and blend until fully combined and creamy. Then you can either blend the shredded coconut in if you like a smooooooth smoothie, or simply stir it in if you like the added texture (I do)!

shredded coconut in smoothies

I absolutely love this brand of coconut flakes for everything from baking to yogurt topping. It comes in this fine shredded texture and also in big flat flakes that are awesome for food decoration or adding to granola! I find mine at Wegmans.

DIY coconut orange juice smoothies

Pour into frosty glasses, add some festive toppings and stick in a straw for easy sipping! Next time I am definitely going to try these with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. Yum.

You could make this a boozy smoothie as well, by adding in some coconut rum or vodka!

coconut creasicle popsicles

If you have leftovers, pour them into popsicle molds! Keep the frosty treats comin’!

coconut creamsicle smoothie

Happy summer sipping everyone!

Chewy Blueberry Cookies Two Ways

cookie exchange cookie recipe

 

C is for <chewy blueberry> cookie that’s good enough for me! Well, they’re actually good enough for not just me, but to share with the internet world as well! I set out on a cookie journey experiment to come up with a sweet, chewy, but not flimsy cookie dough recipe that would remind me of summer, and man did this do the trick. These cookies use a combination of sugars, and an additional egg yolk to keep them moist & chewy and obviously divine. Basically, I’ve come up with jacked up versions of white chocolate chip macadamia nut and lemon tea cookies with my new secret ingredient…dried blueberries.

dried blueberry cookies

I’ve been addicted to cookies and a non-discriminatory dried fruit consumer for years, but never thought of combining the two (aside from that traditional oatmeal raisin, which I don’t actually ever make). You heard it here first, friends. Dey goooood. They’re smaller and sweeter and more flavorful than your average raisin, and have an added tartness that pairs them well with a sweet cookie. Plus they’re chewy, and the cookies are chewy, and blueberries are summer and raisins are fall, and it all just makes sense.

Ingredients:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-½ t baking soda
-½ t salt
-1 cup butter, unsalted (2 sticks) room temperature
-1 cup light brown sugar
-½ cup granulated sugar
-1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
-1 T vanilla extract
-1 ½ cups of dried blueberries
-½ a bar of good quality white chocolate
-a few handfulls of macadamia nuts
-1 lemon
-1:1:1 ratio of brown sugar to flour to butter, optional (2T each)

how to pack brown sugar

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and two sugars until fully combined and airy. Add in the eggs (save the white for breakfast later?), and vanilla, and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this dry mix into the wet mix until fully incorporated – don’t over mix, ever! Next, stir in all of tbe blueberries.

blueberry cookie dough

Here’s where things get interesting. I separated the dough into two, because I wanted to experiment with the same base cookie but two different recipes. Originally, I thought one would fail and one would be succesful, but as it turns out lady luck was on my side and they were both delicious! Feel free to follow the recipe out for both cookies by separating the dough, or just pick one flavor and go with it! Be sure to double the add-ins if you aren’t separating the dough, so that the flavor combination is just right.

white chocolate chip macadamia nut blueberry cookies

For the macadamia nut cookies – chop up the chocolate and nuts and add them to the cookie dough base. Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto a parchement lined cookie sheet (about 1 ½ T of dough) with some space in between so they can spread out. Bake for 12-14 minutes, then cool.

cookie dough balls edible

ice cream scoop cookie dough

chewy cookie recipe

white chocolate chip blueberry macadamia cookies

For the blueberry lemon “cobbler” cookies (the fan favorite) – add in the juice of lemon, and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This is important. I didn’t do this the first time, and the added liquid from the lemon made them spread so much thinner than I had expected! They will be thin regardless of cooling time – and still so so so so perfectly chewy – but the refridgeration helps keep them at just the right texture. While they are baking, mix together that “optional” 1:1:1 combination until it looks like crumb cake topping, and at the 8 minute mark, sprinkle it on top of each cookie. It doesn’t look perfectly like a crumble when they are done baking, but that added buttery-sugar mix is divine. I also sprinkled on some coarse sugar for texture. In total, these cookies bake for about 10-13 minutes.

blueberry cobbler cookies

Both versions were delicious, and so easy to make. The key here is to find a base dough recipe with a flavor and texture that you like – that is also sturdy enough to handle hefty add-ins or a little extra liquid – and experiment! This was the first time I made this base recipe and definitely not my last. What combinations should I try next? Let me know in the comments below, or by commenting on our Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

blueberry lemon cobbler cookies

Summer Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

 Strawberry Salsa Recipe

 

Another bright, summer celebrating, share with friends recipe comin’ atcha! We’ve got a new sweet & healthy remix to a summer party staple – move over chips & queso!!!

This is not my original idea – one of my best friends (and sorority little) used to bring this to movie nights and other social gatherings, and it was the perfect treat – Thanks LAURA :)  Sweet and light,  this fruit salsa hits all the major bases of versitale entertaining.  Its customizeable, and great for individuals with food allergies – plus, it’s a guilt-free-eat-all-day treat that is so satisfying, and so unpresent at most get togethers…you won’t ever have to worry about someone else bringing this recipe to the party…and you can make it in advance!  Left overs make great cereal, yogurt, and ice cream toppings, if you’re lucky enough to have any.

 Healthy Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
-Your favorite seasonal fresh fruit!
-Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips OR a DIY sweet pita chip – see recipe ideas under the instructions below!
-Citrus juice, Mint leaves – optional

Healthy Summer Dessert Recipe

Instructions:
Buy, wash, and dry your fruit. I used one pint – minus a few, for quality assurance/side snack purposes – of strawberries, one white nectarine, one yellow nectarine, and some blackberries to top it off.  When picking your fruit, always go for seasonal bunches and when you can, local and organic! (ugh, she said organic – re: be kind to the bees! and yourself).   Also try and choose fruit that’s either just ripened or still slightly firm, that way you can dice it up and mix it around without it turning to mush.

Fruit Salsa Healthy Summer Recipe

Next, dice up your fruit into little cubes – layer in a bowl, gently toss (here is where you would add lime/orange juice if you want an extra POP of flavor, and a mint garnish), and serve!

 Summer BBQ dessert recipe

 

I used store bought pita chips, mostly for convenience purposes, but also because they’re just really good…

 Healthy Fruit Dessert Recipe

But, if you want to make your own, it’s simple! Take your favorite tortilla – this is a great idea if you have food alergies, or too many tortillas lying around – brush with coconut oil, sprinkle with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to cinnamon, and place on a foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until crispy.  Then break them up and serve!  You can always get creative with the flavors too, of course…try adding some more cinnamon sugar while they are still warm but after they’ve baked, or substitute some white sugar for brown sugar, add some nutmeg, mabye even some citrus juice! 

 Summer Fruit Salad Recipe
Guess I’m making more, because I definitely want to try that last brown sugar orange cinnamon combo. Remember our brownie batter hummus recipe? Let us know if you’d like more sweet & healthy summer recipes on instagram @Whattodowithlemons, and don’t forget to try and tag your creations using the hashtag,  #WTDWLemons!

Crispy Kale & Maple Roasted Chicken Sliders

Kale and Roasted Chicken

KALE. (Not Beyonce’s sweatshirt, we’re talking vegetables here). To be honest, I don’t love kale, and the feeling has been mutual.  That is, until I did some travelling and enjoyed some kale as a side dish to crunchy maple waffles and fried chicken. Life. Changed.  The salty-soy earthy crunch from the kale was (surprisingly) an amazing flavor pair to the also crunchy very sweet maple wafles and savory chicken – it was a forkfull of deliciousness.  I knew right away I was going to make a sandwich out of it.  After all, why go through the tedious process of cutting the chicken, waffle, and kale into eatable pieces then stack them all onto a fork in perfect proportion THEN devour? Leaves too much time to decide not to eat the kale…no thanks.

Now, I didn’t use fresh kale, but think twice before you start knocking me for using frozen steam-ready kale…not only did I not have to look for a fresh bunch, but I also didn’t have to wash, de-stem, potentially blanch, and cut the kale before I used it. I did us all a favor here. Kale gets such a bad rep to begin with…so why not boost our confidence in it with a fun recipe? We’re breaking stigmas here, people. Let’s eat some KALE!

Kale Appetizer

Ingredients:
– 1 package frozen chopped kale
– 1 chicken breast, cooked
– 2T olive oil
– fresh, toasted cibatta rolls
– ½ T reduced sodium soy
– a few drops of Worchestershire sauce
– a few sprinkles of garlic powder
– 4t unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft – but not microwaved, please!)
– 1T pure maple syrup

Steamed Kale

Instructions:
Steam the kale according to package directions. While the kale is steaming, mix the maple syrup and butter together until completely combined, form into a log using plastic wrap, or keep it in the original bowl, cover, and refrigerate. (This can be done way in advance, and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, or until you need a topper for your chocolate chip pancakes…). Remove the kale from the package, set aside in a bowl to let it cool.

Crispy Kale recipe

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat – add 2T of olive oil, and when the kale is no longer scorching hot, add that in too. Be sure to mix it all around so the kale is covered in the oil and is spaced out in the pan. We want crispy kale, so don’t be afraid if it gets a little darker than usual – in total, you will sautee the kale anywhere from 12-15 minutes. About 8 minutes in, add in the soy, garlic, and Worchestershire – stir, and keep crisping! When you’ve reached a good texture, turn off the heat, and get ready to prep those sammies!

How to cook Kale

I toasted mini ciabatta rolls from the store as my roll, and I found this worked great. I also used a rotisserie cooked chicken breast from my local grocery store, which ended up being a huge success – what a time saver, and the roasted chicken flavor was exactly what I was going for.

Maple Butter Roasted Chicken

To assemble, spread some maple butter on each side of the bread, add some kale, then chicken, then kale, and then the top of the roll. I sliced mine in half again to make them super bite sized, and because I also wanted to see what it looked like… :)

Kale recipes

I’d say THAT was a success! Ever have a dish at a restaurant that you want to personalize and recreate? Or an ingredient that you just can’t figure out? Let us know on instagram, @whattodowithlemons or send us an email!  Oh yea, and EAT YOUR KALE!

Fried Kale Sandwich

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Beef in Endive Cups with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted Sesame Spicy Beef Asian Endive

Remember the meat party that I attended last year?  (Hint: Browned Butter Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies & Mini-Meatloaf Cupcakes)   Well, this year’s celebration marked the 5th Annual B.Y.O.M(eat) cookout, which means it was time for a new MEAT recipe!  I know that I cook with a lot with ingredients that “true” carnivores might not consider meat (i.e. chicken, turkey, eggs, fish…chocolate…), so here’s to you, meat lovers!  A sweet and spicy BEEF recipe comin’ your way!  I did break the rules a little bit…there are some non-meat vegetables in here – but it turns out there were some party guests with food alergies, and this was right up their ally!  Beggers can’t be choosers here, people…but I will say, these endive cups were enjoyed by all guests, myself included.  Fun, fancy, and of course, simple and delicious – did I mention I made the dish start to finish a half hour before the party, after a 4 hour NYC bootcamp morning adventure? What ELSE could you possibly need? MAKE THEM.
Endive Appetizer Easy

 

 Ingredients:

-1 lb ground beef (I used an 85/15 blend)

-3 large carrots

-3 large celery sticks

-3-4 smaller heads of endive – you dont’ want them to be too leafy

-5 oz mushrooms

-2T butter, unsalted

-1t garlic powder

-about &frac13; of a container of your favorite sesame dressing

-sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

-pepper to taste

-1T sesame seeds

Stir Fry in Endive Leaves

 

Instructions:
Clean, peel, and dice your vegetables – not the endive – and set aside.  In a frying pan, heat 2T of butter over medium heat, and add in the carrots. Sautee for about 3-5 minutes, then add the celery.  After another 3 minutes, add the mushrooms, and sautee another 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low, add in the garlic powder and pepper, stir, and continue to sautee until the vegetables are tender but not mush, which will be about another 3 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooking, fully cook the ground beef over medium heat (in a separate pan).  When the beef is completely cooked, add in the vegetables and the dressing, and reduced to a simmer.  Let the beef simmer for 5 minutes, add in the red pepper flakes, then simmer for another 3 minutes.  When done, turn the heat off and remove the beef from the stove – we’ll need it to cool for a few minutes before we add it to our endive leaves, so that it isn’t too messy.  While you wait, toast up about 1T of sesame seeds in a dry pan, moving the seeds around in the pan over medium heat for 5 minutes.  This would also be a good time to wash and separate your endive leaves, and get out a platter or tray to put them on.

PF Changs lettuce wrap copy cat

 

If you’re not going to serve this right away, no problem! Don’t assemble the leaves, and refridgerate the meat and endive until you’re ready.  Or, if you want this to be more interactive,  serve the meat in a bowl with the endive leaves on a platter, and let your guests serve themselves!  This can be served warm or room temperature, so it’s a great dish for a cocktail party (or B.Y.O.Meat party).

 

Endive Appetizer

 I was serving mine for a big crowd in a more casual setting, so I chose to assemble the leaves myself.  I added a heaping tablespoon (the type you use for coffee, not for measuring ingredients) of the mix to each leaf, and sprinkeled the toasted sesame seeds overtop.  Seriously, so simple, and so good. Like little asian tacos! Or PF Chang (beef) lettuce wrap copy-cats?!  What appetizers are you serving up for your BBQs this summer? Need ideas? Have something you’d like us to try? Let us know on instagram @Whattodowithlemons or email us whattodowithlemons @ gmail.com – our tastebuds will be waiting :) 
Sweet and Spicy Beef Appetizer

Brownie Batter Hummus

Dessert Hummus

 

May, what a whirlwind.  I traveled out of the country, I traveled accross the country, and I was sick – more than sick…ill – for about three weeks.  And considering my diet consisted mostly of saltines and white toast and my energy level was 0, I didn’t have many interesting things to share with you all! Consider this bowl of chocolatey goodness our little celebration – I’m back!

Healthy Chocolate Dessert Fruit Dip

 

There are a ton of recipes out there for cookie dough hummus, and let me tell you, they don’t disappoint.  And as much as I love that raw-dough taste, I’m a sucker for brownie batter.  I’ve definitely made brownies just so that I could lick the spoon, and I know I’m not alone in that indulgence.  This brownie batter hummus is the least time consuming recipe that I’ve ever made, and is so ridiculously delectably delicious (and nutritious!) that I think it’s going to be a part of my weekly grocery haul.

Chickpea Dip for Dessert

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-½ cup water

-2T sugar, or more to taste  (I used 1T sugar and 1T coconut nectar, but agave would work too!)

-5T unsweetened cocoa powder

-2t vanilla extract

-chocolate chips, nuts, or any other mix-ins

 

Instructions:

Put all of the ingredients – except the mix-ins – in a food processor, or high powered blender, and blend until smooth – about 2 minutes.  Fold in the mix-ins, and eat!

Healthy Chocolate Chickpea Dessert

“S” for sharable superfood snack…but I’m probably not sharing…

 

Chickpea Brownie Dip

I let mine chill for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors come together – it took every bone in my body – but you don’t have to!  This dip is good on fruit, bagels, toast, yogurt, ice cream…you name it.  I’d love to pair it with some cinnamon sugar crispy pita chips for that mexican-spiced hot chocolate flavor, or even add some marshmallows and dip in good ol’ grahams!

 

 

S’mores Bark

S'mores bark recipe

For some reason, Katie and I have BOTH been obsessively craving s’mores lately… But being the busy gal that I am, I don’t always have time for a bonfire. I needed a way to get my s’mores fix on the go. Something that I could snack on at work or in the car, but still gave me that classic s’mores goodness.

I decided to try to make s’more in the form of a “bark”, kinda like the peppermint bark everyone makes around Christmas time, but a Summer version. Well, let me tell you, it is GOOD! The classic summer treat, but crazy easy and made in one big batch that will last all week.
grahm cracker marshmallow chocolate bark

Beautiful.

s'mores bark ingredients

You only need three ingredients, the same as a regular s’mores, but in mini sized: mini marshmallows, milk chocolate chips, and crushed up graham crackers.

S'mores bark tutorial

Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and cover it evenly with crushed grahams and mini mallows. I like the texture to be a little more on the crunchy side, so I tore the marshmallows in half for even smaller pieces.

S'mores chocolate bars

Set up a double boiler and melt the chocolate over low-medium heat. You can add a tablespoon of vegetable shortening if it doesn’t seem smooth enough to pour. Then carefully pour over your prepared tray, and spread gently with a rubber spatula until you have an even layer of all three ingredients.

Make your own S'mores bark

Add some extra bits of graham and marshmallow on top to make it look pretty (and perhaps a little sea salt), then pop in the freezer for about an hour. Once fully hardened, crack the sheet into pieces for easy snacking!

DIY S'mores Candy

I like this s’mores bark best when still frozen, so I store the whole batch in the freezer. Couldn’t be easier. Craving satisfied. Time to make s’more. (haha sorry, couldn’t resist)

Easy Apricot Cream Cheese Danishes

cheese danish with apricot

Ahh the cheese danish… my favorite pastry. I could write poems about it, but I’ll spare you. Anyway, there’s something about Spring that makes me want to have brunch, and in my mind no brunch is complete without some sweet pastries!

If you’re hosting a brunch or just craving some of these bad boys for yourself, fear not,  you don’t have to get up at 5am and slave away with your rolling pin to make these fresh mini danishes. Thanks to some convenient frozen puff pastry dough, they are a cinch to whip up!

easy cream cheese danish recipe

Ingredients:
(makes 32 small danishes)
– 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
– 1 jar apricot dessert filling
– 8 oz cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 tbsp of milk
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– splash of milk
– 1/4 tsp almond extract
– sliced almonds

fruit filling for danishes

I am partial to Baker Brand fruit fillings for these, in part because this is what we always use when making my family’s traditional Slovak cookies! I chose apricot just because it’s my favorite, but any fruit filling would be delicious. I recently discovered that they make a pineapple version which I would love to try!

cream cheese filling for danishes

For the cheese filling, mix up the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp of milk. Beat until smooth. You will probably have some leftover when you’re done, so keep in mind that it makes an excellent fruit dip! Waste not, want not, right?

scoring puff pastry for square danishes

Next, open up each puff pastry sheet and cut into sixteen squares. Then, using a knife, score a smaller square into each one, making sure not to cut all the way through. The scoring helps the pastry to puff up on the edges and keep the filling in its place while in the oven.

fill danishes with cream cheese and apricot

On each square, place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture and a dollop of the apricot filling, then swirl together a bit.

Make a simple egg wash by mixing one egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water. Brush this around the outside edge of each pastry. *Note* – You might want to transfer the squares over to parchment paper before doing this step. They are a little harder to pick up after the egg wash. Clearly I forgot, but everything turned out just fine!

Egg wash the edges of pastries

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. They will look really puffy and rounded when you first pull them out, but they will quickly deflate a bit.

While they are baking, mix up the almond icing. Place one cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl, and add small splashes of milk until you reach a smooth glaze-like consistency. You won’t need much milk, so add in small increments! Stir in 1/4 tsp of almond extract.

Apricot Cream Cheese Danishes

Once the danishes are cooled, drizzle on the glaze and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Perfection.
Happy Brunching!

Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?

Ingredients:

-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!

 

BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot

Instructions:

Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

 

 

 

 

Lighter Brunch Quiche

Vegetable Pie Recipe

Breakfast post alert!!! (Surprised?)

The weather is warming up, and restaurant patios are opening.  We all know what that means…brunch season is here!  I love a good breakfast/brunch outing, but I also love eating healthier and that can be tough when you’re out with friends.  Thankfully, cooking healthy is easy, affordable, and contrary to popular belief, FLAVORFUL.  Bring the BYOB to your place for a change, and serve up this lighter spin on a brunch staple.  Throw whatever vegetables you have on hand into this lower-fat version of a classic quiche, and enjoy an extra mimosa (or two three) instead!

Egg White Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

– 1 Wholly Wholesome Organic Whole Wheat Pie Shell

– 1 16 oz. carton of egg whites

-10 oz package of mushrooms

-4 cups raw spinach

-1 bell pepper

-1T minced garlic

-½ T olive oil

-reduced fat feta, asiago, or other cheese to top

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your pie shell out of the freezer, and let thaw.  I placed mine on my preheating oven, to help speed up the process.  Next, chop up your vegetables – including the spinach – and heat a large skillet on the stove over medium heat.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, and vegetables – sautee until the peppers are soft and the spinach has wilted.  Remove the sautéed veggies from the heat, and let cool until at room temperature – be sure not to mix anything that is too hot with raw eggs, or else you might start cooking them!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Quiche

When cooled, add the veggies to the thawed pie shell and place on a baking tray. Carefully pour the egg whites over the veggie mix – it will look like you won’t be able to fit all of the egg whites, but you will!  Cook for 30 minutes, then shut the oven off and keep the quiche in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes.

Low Calorie Brunch Recipe

You can enjoy this quiche warm, room temperature, or my favorite, cold!  It’s a great make-ahead dish, and can even be frozen after it’s cooked! I know that you can freeze casseroles and other dishes with cream and cheese, but I prefer not to when it comes to egg based recipes.  I did, however add some crumbled feta to my serving…because you just can’t have a quiche without cheese.  I picture this quiche on a brunch table with fruit, some grilled/roasted asparagus, and a strong cocktail.

Low Calorie Vegetable Quiche

Now, if you’re NOT looking for a lighter recipe, substitute the egg whites for 4 eggs and about half a cup of cream or a cup of crumbled/shredded cheese.

Loren’s Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

My boyfriend Loren has always made the BEST homemade hummus. I wanted to share his recipe, but when I asked, he told me he doesn’t really have one and just makes it each time by memory and taste. But I still wanted to share an easy, basic, homemade hummus recipe with you guys… SO we made a batch together and I took studious notes! This is a recipe for a basic hummus base which you can mix up to make dozens of different delicious versions!

Here’s what you will need:
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
2/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

The prep couldn’t be any easier – just throw all of the ingredients in a food processor (or blender – but this takes more patience) and pulse it all together until smooth!

My favorite add-in for this basic hummus is olive tapenade. I’ve recently made my own which I might share soon! It gives an awesome added Mediterranean flavor. Roasted red peppers, hot peppers, and roasted eggplant are also great additions! Get creative and create your own mix or enjoy it plain. Serve it with fresh cut veggies, bread and crackers, or spread it on toast or a sandwich.

Loren's Hummus Recipe

Soft Pretzel Twists with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Sauce

soft pretzel twists

Soft Pretzels are one of those foods that remind people of good times. Maybe its memories of ball games, amusement parks, or if you’re like me: mall shopping with Mom and splitting a big Auntie Anne’s pretzel… because of course she had a coupon! Whatever the memory, soft, warm, doughy pretzels are generally a fun time food.

While not the quickest recipe, making them at home is a lot of fun too. I have to confess that since I’ve been playing around with pretzel dough in preparation for this tutorial, I’ve become a little obsessed. They’re so good. I could eat them all day. And apparently so could my cat, Luna! Cats love soft pretzels… who knew? Anyway, without further ado: Homemade soft pretzels. And cheese. Did I mention the cheese? Wow.

pretzel twists and cheese sauce
I adapted this pretzel dough recipe from my kitchen hero Alton Brown on the food network. Its largely the same except that I don’t use a stand mixer. You really don’t need one as long as you have two arms!

For the pretzels you will need:
– 1 package of active dry yeast
– 1 1/2 cups warm water
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 2 tsp salt
– 4 1/2 cups of flour
– 1/2 stick of butter (melted)
– 2/3 cup baking soda
– 1 egg yolk
– course salt for sprinkling
Making soft pretzel dough
Mix the sugar and salt into the 1 1/2 cup of warm water, then add the yeast packet on top. Don’t stir it, just let it sit for about 5 minutes while you measure out the flour and melt the butter
mixing soft pretzel dough
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, melted butter, and yeast mixture. Fold together with a rubber spatula until a dough ball forms. Once the dough has come together into one mass, pick it up and move to a large cutting board or clean floured counter top.
hand kneaded soft pretzel dough
Now knead away! If you’ve never kneaded a yeast dough before, you basically flatten the dough ball with the heel of your hand, fold the dough back onto itself, and repeat. Check out YouTube for some great video demonstrations of the kneading process.

Kneading strengthens the dough by forming strands of gluten. Gluten free diets be damned, this technique is centuries old! You’ll know your dough is well kneaded when it’s smooth and velvety to the touch.

Spray a large bowl with some non-stick spray and place the kneaded dough ball inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm room for about 1 hour.
rolling soft pretzels
Once your dough has doubled in size, cut it into 15-20 evenly sized pieces. You can vary this depending on what size and shape of pretzels you want to make, anything goes!
twisting pretzels
Roll each section out into a long snake. Then fold in half, pinch the two ends together, and twist 2 or three times. Place each twist onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
boiling the soft pretzels
Around this time is when you’ll want to preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Fill a large shallow pot with about ten cups of water and mix in the baking soda. Bring to a boil.

Gently place the pretzel twists into the boiling water and baking soda mixture, a few at a time. Let them boil for 30 seconds, then lift out with a slotted spatula or spoon and place back onto the baking sheet. This step is what gives the soft pretzels that lovely toasted brown outer layer and soft white middle!
egg wash and salt
Thin one egg yolk with a spoonful of water, and gently brush over the top of each pretzel. Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. You can season your pretzels with anything you like here. I made one batch with some everything bagel seasoning and they came out awesome!!

Bake for 15 minutes, then allow to cool a bit before stuffing your face! These are best served fresh and hot! Because I loathe mustard, I served them with a hot cheddar cheese dipping sauce (recipe below!). But hey, if mustard is your thing, go for it. It is traditional I suppose.

Extras can be stored in a zip top bag and taste pretty great warmed up briefly in the oven or toaster oven.
pretzel twists and cheese sauce
Spicy Cheddar Cheese Sauce:

– 1 cup milk
– 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
– 2 tbsp butter
– 2 tbsp flour
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 dash hot sauce
– sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

Heat the milk in the microwave until steaming. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Sprinkle in flour, whisking constantly, to form a rue. Slowly add in the warm milk, keeping the mixture moving. Toss in the cheese and stir until melted. Add cayenne, red pepper, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Serve along side your fresh homemade soft pretzels and enjoy!
Yummy baked soft pretzel twists

Winter Greens with Citrus Thyme Dressing

Blood Orange Tangerine Salad Dressing Recipe

It’s CITRUS SEASON!  Here at Lemons we are so so excited for citrus season.  It brings a ton of brightness to our foods – in taste and in presentation – and helps us dream of warmer weather while we’re stuck in this winter tundra.  Plus, lemons are a citruis fruit, so it’s almost like a celebration for us…and as I’m sure you can see, we love to celebrate.

 Orange Honey Dressing

I love love love vegetables, and I’m not ashamed of it!  So many people think it’s sarcasm, but as my sarcastic/joking skills are not resume worthy, I can assure you it’s the truth.  But in the winter time, all I want is BREAD.  Anything bread-y.  And dense and rich and carb-centric.  Another wonderful thing about citrus?  It is an amazing compliment to lighter proteins and (almost) all vegetables, and starts to pull us out of our carb-induced hybernation and into the fresh and even raw foods that we enjoy in the spring and summer months.  In this case, we’re complimenting sweet citruis and raw honey with sharpness of fresh shallots, and keeping it winter appropriate with the bitterness in the greens and warmth from the thyme. 

Swiss Chard Salad Recipe

 

Ingredients:

-fresh juice from 4 small citrus fruits – I used 2 blood oranges and 2 honey tangerines

-2t raw honey

-1 shallot, divided

-2-4T extra virgin olive oil – this just depends on how light you want to make the dressing

-2t dried thyme

-salt and pepper to taste

-winter greens – I used swiss chard

Orange Thyme Salad Dressing

Instructions:

(If you’re making the salad and not only the dressing…) Wash your greens!  When choosing your greens for this salad, pick something in season and hearty – for winter, that means dark, leafy, and nutrient PACKED!  I chose a mixture of white and red swiss chard.  I love the texture of both, and the color and earthy flavor of the red chard – it’s almost beet like.  The white chard is much more mild in it’s earthiness, so if you’re not a fan of anything remotely similar to beets, stick with the white.  Plus, its a good winter green that is still enjoyable raw!  If chard’s not your thing, try kale, escarole, collard greens…anything that looks fresh.  Just keep in mind, some greens are best when cooked, and some leafy stems are just not fun to eat (i.e. kale).  Not sure what green to use? Ask your produce man, or better yet…ask us!!

Swiss Chard Chopped

I washed, rinsed, and de-stemmed the chard, keeping the stems for later on.  Stacking the leaves on top of one another, I tightly rolled them almost like a sleeping bag and cut the chard into ribbons.

How to Cut Swiss Chard

Next, juice your citrus.  I don’t have any type of citrus juicing tools, and find that a good squeeze works just fine.  If your fruit is a little stubborn, try using a fork like a traditional reamer.  Remove all seeds using a strainer or fork. 

 Healthy Citrus Salad Dressing Recipe

Add the honey, and whisk.  I’m LOVING raw honey these days – the texture is almost like gooey table sugar but the taste is sweet and floral.

 Raw Organic Honey Recipe

Next, mince the shallot, and add half to the bowl.  Crush the dry thyme in your palm, and add all spices to the bowl, whisk.  Finally, add your olive oil, and you guessed it, whisk again.  At this point, you can pour the dressing over the greens and mix, or you can store the dressing for use, later.  If you are using the dressing in a hearty-greens salad, it’s perfectly OK to make this dish in advance and let it sit in the refridgerator.  Winter greens are very strong and will actually benefit from this pseudo marinating technique both in texture and in flavor.

 Healthy Dressing Swiss Chard with Shallots and Citrus Juice

 

Heat the rest of the shallot in a little olive oil in a sautee pan.  Chop the stems of the chard – which will look like celery and rubarb stalks – and sautee in the pan for a few minutes, just to slightly soften and remove some bitey bitterness. 

 Citrus Salad Recipe Winter Greens

Add the stems to the dressed salad, mix, and enjoy!  This would pair wonderfully with roasted chicken, walnuts and cranberries, or heighten the earthiness with beets and goat cheese!  How do you eat your greens?? Let us know!!

Kitchen Sink King Cake for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras King Cake

Happy Mardi Gras, Friends!!! There is nothing we love more at What to do with Lemons than fun – and tasty – traditions, and Mardi Gras has been something we’ve celebrated together for years.  One of our good friends would get a king cake delivered to her dorm room every year to celebrate the season – we’d all get a good laugh in about how much she’d wished she didn’t get the apple kind, and then all indulge in this sweet treat in hopes of finding the baby for good luck.  As you can imagine, the cake never lasted very long in her dorm room, but the fun of it all became one of our favorite memories.  There are a “few” other religious aspects to this tradition, but for us girls it was all about that cake. And the luck!
 

Cinnamon Roll Cake

had to keep the tradition alive, so I set out to make this EASY recipe – all you need are a few standard ingredients, and you’ve got yourself one delicious treat.  Think giant gooey cinnamon roll here…yes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Pecan Cinnamon Roll Ring

Ingredients:

-refrigerated not sweet dough – I used pizza crust

-butter

-brown sugar

-cinnamon

-vanilla

-candied pecans

-cream cheese

-sprinkles – purple, gold, green

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven according to the dough package instructions.  Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out on parchment paper into a big square.

Pizza Dough Sweet Roll

Mix 1 cup brown sugar and 1-2T cinnamon in a bowl.  Brush the entire dough surface with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar – you may/may not use all of it, and that’s ok! Use your own discretion.  Chop up the pecans, and evenly top the sugar mixture with the nuts.  Using the parchment to help lift the dough, roll it up in cinnamon roll style, and pinch the seam shut.

Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cake.IMG_2693

Next, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, and shape the dough into a circle.  Brush the outside of the dough with more melted butter, and bake in the oven according to the time on the dough package, about 8-12 minutes.

Pecan Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll

While the dough cooks/cools, heat 1 package of cream cheese in the microwave until easily mixable – I did this in 30 second intervals.  Add a heaping quarter cup of white sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract and stir.  Spread the frosting onto the outside of the cake, and decorate in traditional Mardi Gras sprinkles.  Then EAT…don’t forget that.  It is Fat Tuesday after all…

Fat Tuesday Recipe

I called it the kitchen sink recipe, because I used stuff I (mostly) already had.  Aside from the dough, I almost always have everything else.  So, I threw it all together and was actually pretty surprised as to how well it turned out! Sweet, sturdy but not soggy, and perfect for the celebration.  OK, maybe not perfect.  I didn’t have a baby, but I did have a mini wrestler figurine, so he was our lucky trinket for the year. *Note – if you’re participating in the hidden baby aspect of this recipe, cut a small slit in the COOKED cake, and place the baby in after you’ve already COOLED the cake but before you’ve frosted it…don’t cook the baby.

Baby King Cake Recipe

I made this recipe in about 40 minutes total, before jumping on a plane to meet up with some friends last week…you have no excuse not to try it.  I’d eat it for breakfast or dessert, and it’s definitely bead worthy, if you catch my drift.  How’d you celebrate Mardi Gras this year? Let us know @whattodowithlemons on Instagram!!

Perfect Fudge Brownies

Heart Brownies for Valentine's

I started making these brownies about 4 years ago, for one of my best friend’s 21st birthdays – in fact, they’re still called “Ashley’s 21st Brownies” in my recipe book!  Shout-out to Ashely, our fellow blogger and fashionista, featured in our Constellation Tights Post – follower her blog, AUGoldStandard, she is incredible.  Ok, back to the brownies.  They are the chocolate-iest, densest, fudgiest, most delicious perfect brownies I have ever had.  Ever.  And I’ve had my fair share of brownies.  If you like cake-like airy, light, artificially tasting brownies, well then these just aren’t for you.  These brownies are everything. And they are the only recipe you’ll need to celebrate Chocoholic’s Anonymous Day.  I mean Valentine’s. Whatever.

Chocolate Chip Brownies Recipe

 

Ingredients:

-1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 ¼ cups sugar
-¾ cup plus 2T cocoa powder, unsweetened
-¼ t salt
-1T vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-½ cup flour
-half of a bag of mini-chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Fudge Brownie Ingredients

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350. In a glass bowl, combine butter, sugar,  salt, and cocoa powder. Heat over a double boiler, stirring until ingredients have melted together but are still slightly gritty. Remove from heat, and let the chocolate mixture cool. When the batter is still warm – but not hot enough to cook your eggs – add the vanilla, and mix until just combined. Add each egg one at a time, and stir until the eggs are incorporated – don’t over mix! Next, add in the flour, and once again, stir to combine. This last step shouldn’t take you more than 30-40 stirs. We want to keep these brownies dense and fudgy! Add in the chocolate chips, and stir until the chips are sprinkled throughout. “Pour” this thick batter into a parchment lined 8×8 pan, and spread it around with a spatula until you have even thickness. Bake for 20-25 minutes – it’s ok to keep them slightly under-cooked. Less stirring + less cook time = PERFECTION. There isn’t much flour in this recipe – these are not cake-y – so there won’t be much batter left on the spatula…but the batter will stick to a wooden spoon, just FYI.  Taste testing is important.

Fudge Brownie Batter Homemade

Remember when I said these brownies are thick and fudgy?  Well that means they need to be cooled before you cut them, or else they’ll just get stuck to your knife, and you’ll end up with less squares for sharing and more scraps for snacking…not like that’s a bad thing…

Fudge Brownies No Mixer

 

I usually cut my brownies into squares, but you can use most cookie cutters to make shapes in your brownies – I’d avoid anything with thin/delicate areas, as they will break off and you’ll end up with a headless brontosaurus, not like I tried that or anything.

Brownie Heart

This time I used heart cookie cutters – it is Valentine’s Day after all!I I allso melted up some white chocolate chips and decorated a few brownies, just for some added color and fun.

Valentine's Day Dessert

Do you also remember when I told you to make the blondies that week?  Yea, welll, this time I’m “suggesting” that you make these right now, and I mean right now, like…ASAP.  And, if your Valentine’s Day plans are anything like mine…sharing is optional.

 

What To Do With: Juice Pulp

 
Juice Pulp Recipes

Did I mention I got a juicer for my birthday? 2014 was the year of kitchen gadgets, and I’m NOT upset about it.  It saves a ton of money for someone who enjoys a good juice – NYC juices are $$$.  One thing about my juicer – and there’s only one thing – that I don’t love, is that there is just so much pulp left over after I’ve juiced all my vegetables, and I don’t always know what to do with it.  Composting would be great, but I don’t have that resource where I live.  And there are only so many times you can add the pulp to eggs…why not stretch the buck – and the nutrition – of these veggies into some other, more fun, recipes???

Juice pulp from Juicer Recipes

I juiced 3 cucumbers, one package of celery, one package of carrots, one large bag   of spinach, and one large head of romaine.  I also juiced half a pineapple – sometimes I like a little sweetness to my green juice.  Keeping my carrot juice separate, I mixed all of the green juices together, added the pineapple juice and one container of unsweetened coconut water, and ended up with a TON of delicious juices for the week, and with these recipes, I really stretched out the value of these veggies – aside from the peels from the carrots, I didn’t throw out anything.

Fresh Cucumber Relish

1) The Easiest Relish…Ever!

This is the only “recipe” that I know that takes less than 30 seconds, and is perfect every time.  Mix the cucumber pulp with some pickle juice from your favorie pickle.  Refridgerate overnight. That’s it.  It’s like pickle up-cycling!

Green Vegetable Spread

2) Roasted Vegetable Tapenade

Take one cup of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp mix, and all of the romaine.  Add some fresh minced garlic and 1T olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a blender or food processor with salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like – I added some onion powder – and another 1T of olive oil. You’ll end up with a flavorful and nutritious spread for crackers, paninis, or even other veggies to dip in!

DIY Veggie Burger Recipe

3) Quinoa Edemame Veggie Burgers

I impressed myself with this one.  Take the rest of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp, and warmed it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, just until the flavors came together – about 5 minutes.  Once the mix is cool, add a cup of cooked and cooled quinoa, just shy of a cup of shelled edemame, and one whisked egg.  Stir all of these together – I used my hands – and refridgerate a few hours.  Form the veggie mix into burger shapes, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan.  When the burgers are frozen solid, move them into a freezer safe container or bag for long term storage.  I’d recommend reheating these burgers in a sautee pan.  I served my burger on a toasted Ezekiel sprouted english muffin with a smear of Trader Joe’s tzaziki and a simple watercress side salad.

 Quinoa Veggie Burger Edemame Juice Pulp

Do you have any favorite recipes, or recipes you want us to experiement with? Let us know in the comments!  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and now announcing, TWITTER!

Double Take: Easy Game Day Appetizers

Superbowl Snack Ideas

Game Day.  And this weekend, its the ultimate game day – the Super Bowl.  From the start of pre-game conferences and split-square bets, to cheering on your team, to half-time scandals and ranking new commercials, we all know what the real highlight of the day is…the food.  A marathon of food, to be exact.  Not everyone will wake up ready to bring their A-Game but we can guarantee that everybody brings their appetite to the Super Bowl. We’ve got two quick and simple recipes that are both large group friendly and delicious.  Everybody wins.

And in true team fashion, we made this post a DOUBLE TAKE.  We both set out with the idea of Super Bowl Snacks in mind, went our separate ways, and then shared what we came up with.  Hayley shared her mom’s perfect pepperoni bread recipe, and Katie altered her mom’s buffalo chicken recipe to make chicken vodka-parm dip.

PEPPERONI BREAD:

Easy Superbowl Snacks: Pepperoni Bread

This pepperoni bread is an appetizer that my mom has been making for all kinds of gatherings for as long as I can remember. It is sooooo good! And with only three ingredients, also really easy and affordable. Perfect combination for the Super Bowl.

three ingredient pepperoni roll

All you need is some frozen bread dough, pepperoni, and provolone cheese! I like to go with a plain white dough and some large sandwich pepperoni from the deli. Just keep in mind that your dough will need a good amount of time to thaw and rise – about two days in the refrigerator, so plan ahead!

assembling the pepperoni roll
Once your dough is thawed and soft, spray a large bowl with non-stick spray on place the ball of dough inside. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it sit out at room temperature until it doubles in size.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, then on to the assembly! First, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Then place an even layer of pepperoni, leaving an inch or so around the edges uncovered. Follow with a layer of provolone. Fold in the shorter edges, then roll up lengthwise and pinch the seam and the ends closed.
Simple pepperoni roll
Place the roll onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and poke a couple holes in the top so that steam can escape. If you would like, you can add an egg wash here to help make the top of your bread nicely golden brown and shiny, but if you’re short on time or eggs, don’t worry about skipping this part. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the pan half-way through.

It’s going to smell really really good at this point, but try to hold yourself back – it’s best to let your pepperoni roll rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting, or you’ll have a greasy mess!
Superbowl foods - quick and easy pepperoni bread
Slice that baby into thick pieces and serve warm!  If your timing isn’t spot on for your game day festivities, no worries! These are just as good (if not better) toasted back up in the oven for just a few minutes.

 CHICKEN VODKA-PARM DIP:

Superbowl Appetizer Dip Recipe

I wanted to make a dip recipe for game day, but knowing how popular Buff-Chick dip is nowadays, I tried to come up with something a little different.  This dip is inspired by one of my cousins’ favorite sandwiches that can be found at a local pizza shop.  The brother cousins are still fighting over ownership of the idea to replace the marinara sauce on a chicken parm sub with vodka sauce, but I’d guess the “invention” originated somewhere in the late 90s.

I took my mom’s famous buffalo chicken dip recipe, and replaced the ingredients to change the flavor. You’ll need a rotisserie chicken, vodka sauce, ricotta cheese, creamy garlic parmesan dressing (creamy caesar could also work), grated parmesan, and shredded mozzarella.

Chicken Vodka Sauce Ideas

Start by preheating your oven to 350 and shredding the rotisserie chicken breasts – I used my hands, its messy.  Mix the chicken with 1 and a half cups of vodka sauce, and sautee over low heat in a large skillet.  When things are starting to simmer, add a quarter cup of the creamy garlic dressing, and a quarter cup of the ricotta cheese, and stir.  Once everything looks well combined, remove from the heat, add one third cup grated parmesan cheese, mix, and pour into a baking dish.  Cover the top with the mozzarella, and bake covered in the oven for ten minutes, then uncover the dish and bake for another 10 or until the cheese is starting to brown.  Not many (any) process pictures for this dip because well, it’s just not too pretty when it’s being mixed together.  But rest assured.  Once those cocottes come out of the oven with the cheese all brown and bubbly, you won’t be able to resist.

Chicken Vodka Sauce Casserole

I think the dip tastes best when eaten.  But if you’re looking for some dipping options, I’d choose toasted bread – I used a seeded semolina loaf from a local italian bakery, and would love to try it with some crispy garlic tostadas.

This is not your average dip recipe.  It’s a creamy tomato garlic italian chicken cassarole overload.  I kid you not I made a test batch of the recipe and ate it with a spoon. By myself. At 7am.  New high, definitely – Chicken Vodka-Parm dip FTW!

Buffalo Chicken Dip Spin off Recipe

And just like the pepperoni bread, this recipe can be made a day or two before and baked off fresh before kickoff.  I’d actually recommend letting this one sit overnight in the refridgerator to let the flavors meld together

Fudgy Butterscotch Blondies

Perfect Blondie Bar Recipe

Prepare yourself, for the best and only blondies recipe you will ever need.  Ever.  Unlike other blondie recipes, this bar style dessert will NOT remind you of a cookie.  They are the EXACT texture of the dense, fudgy, most wonderful brownie of your dreams (recipe for that one to follow).  The only difference between these heavenly squares and their brownie cousin is the chocolate factor.  My sister doesn’t like chocolate – I KNOW, I know.  I don’t get it either.  To be honest, I felt bad for her.  Not only because she misses out on all the wonderful chocolate recipes out there, but because she also misses out on that texture element – and after a ton of experimentation, this sinful recipe was born!   Do yourself a favor.  Buy the ingredients. Make these blondies. Don’t share.

White Chocolate Chip Blonde Brownie Bars

Ingredients: (for an 8×8 pan)

-1 ⅓ cup flour

-1t baking powder

-1t ground cinnamon

-¼t ground nutmeg

-¼t cream of tartar

-½t salt

-1 cup brown sugar, packed

-1 stick unsalted butter

-1 egg

-½-1T vanilla extract

-½-1 cup both white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips

*see some of our other baking posts for flour/vanilla measuring and mixing techniques!

Butterscotch Blondies

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350, and line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment, butter and flour the pan to prevent sticking.  Measure all dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar until well combined.  Next, add the egg and vanilla and mix until it looks like the second image above.  Gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined – don’t over mix! Add the chips and stir by hand, then scoop this heavy sticky batter into your pan and (patiently) spread it out until you have an even layer of deliciousness.

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

Bake for 20-28 minutes, until the middle is just set (remember, not cookies, brownies).  When the top is glistening but slightly brown, take the pan out to cool.

Homemade Blondies Recipe

When cooled enough to handle, lift the parchment out of the pan and slice your bars – try not to take a bite. I dare you.

Best butterscotch bars ever

Sometimes, I like to make these bars extra cinnamon-y – like snickerdoodle blondies – and replace the chips with cinnamon chips, add some more spice, lean towards the 1T side of the vanilla pour, and add a spiced whipped cream drizzle.  Is it time to eat yet?

White Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

If you do nothing else this week…make/devour these blissful little squares.  You will feel more accomplished than you ever have, not to mention totally sweet-tooth satisfied.  I failed a ton of times until I came up with this recipe – I can’t WAIT to know what you think!

Dirty Rice with Roasted Chicken and Turkey Sausage

Turkey Sausage Creole Rice

“Dirty Rice” is a creole spiced dish that has earned it’s name from the brown-ish color the rice turns when you cook it down with seasoned poultry innards.  Now, as much of a eat-with-your-eyes kind of person that I am, I’m starting to discover that I’m also sensitive to how things are cooked, and what they are cooked with.  Something about changing the color of rice because it becomes “dirty” from livers and such just didn’t seem appealing to me, especially because I love the creole spices. 

Choosing black rice gives this recipe rich color, and replacing the protein with roasted chicken and sausuage adds to the smokey flavor of the dish – nothing dirty about it!

Black Rice Trader Joe's Recipe

Ingredients:

-chicken, cooked – I prepared boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven

-smokey sausage – I used turkey

-1 cup black rice

-1 zucchini

-1 red pepper

-half of one onion

-1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

-1T minced garlic

-2T olive oil

-2t creole seasoning

-¼ – ½ cup white cooking wine

-½ t cayanne pepper

-salt and black pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

Start by cooking your chicken –  I cooked my chicken in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, brushed with some olive oil, salt and pepper – and cooking your rice according to package directions.  One that’s all cooking, chop up your vegetables.  I like a good half moon for the zucchini, a bite-sized dice for the peppers, and a finer dice for the onions.  I also ran my knife through the thawed, chopped spinach just to break it up.  In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil, onions, and garlic over medium heat,  Once the onions become translucent, add the rest of the vegetables.  Remember to stir so that all vegetables are coated and get equal time to brown on the hot surface.

Clean Eating Dirty Rice

 After about 8-10 minutes, add in the seasoning, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Cube the chicken and the sausage, and add the sausage to the dish – cook another 5 minutes.  By now, your rice should be done. 

Zucchini Dirty Rice with Chicken Sausage

Add the rice, chicken, and wine to the pan, turn the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes so that the flavors combine.

Dirty Creole Rice Low Fat

I’m so happy with how this recipe turned out – like most of my savory dishes, it’s simple and healthy, and packed with flavor.  And, it’s pretty flexible!  Use whatever leftover starch you have lying around – quinoa, orzo, riced cauliflower – or add to the flavor pallet with some rotisserie chicknen.  So long as you keep the seasoining the same and be sure to add a protein with some smokiness, you won’t be dissapointed!

Black Creole Rice

Jumbo Frosted Animal Cookies

home made frosted circus animal cookies

Remember those awesome little Circus Animal Cookies many of us used to eat as kids? I loved them. For me, their appeal was more about the aesthetic quality: bright happy colors and adorable animal shapes… what’s not to love? Eating them always felt like a mini party!

This week I decided to recreate this classic treat in jumbo size, using some cute animal shaped cookie cutters that I have been meaning to put to use. While my party animals are not all exactly “circus” animals, they still put a big smile on my face, and that’s really the best part!

Frosting Cookies with Candy Melts

You could use any plain sugar or shortbread cookie recipe to make these yourself. The plainer the better, I think, since the candy coating will ultimately steal the show! I’ve shared the recipe I used below.

cut out animal cookie shapes
You will need:

For the dough:
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp vanilla
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 3 cups flour

For the decoration:
– some cookie cutters in animal shapes
– candy melts in white and pink
– rainbow nonpareil sprinkles

shortbread animal cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. First, cream together the butter and sugar. Then stir in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder and flour until a homogenous dough forms, divide into 3 balls, then chill the dough for at least an hour.

Using a little extra flour for sprinkling, roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out the animal shapes. Place your party animals on a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart (they won’t spread much). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned along the edges.

cover cookies with melting chocolate

For the frosting: set up a double boiler by filling a medium sized pot with water about half way, then placing a bowl of slightly larger size on top. (If you have a bowl with handles it will work particularly well here.) Heat the water on medium and fill the bowl with one color of the candy melts. Stir until smooth and melted through, then turn the heat down to low.

Dip each cookie face down into the coating, then gently lift out and place onto a sheet of wax paper or a wire rack. This part can be a little tricky, so its nice to keep a spoon on hand to help cover any missed spots. Don’t worry about them looking perfect, a generous helping of sprinkles with cover any imperfections! After you’ve frosted about half your batch of cookies, wash out the bowl and continue coating cookies with the other color. The coating sets pretty quickly, so don’t forget to pause after every few cookies and sprinkle with nonpareils!

pink and white frosted animal cookies DIY
Aren’t these guys so festive and fun? The pink piggies are my favorite. I think they would make a really great Birthday surprise for someone, or you could customize with other shapes or colors.

It’s a lot of fun to try to recreate your favorite classics at home. Sometimes the homemade version turns out even better (and usually healthier). Are there any other classic snacks or treats you would like to see us DIY on What to do with Lemons? Let us know! We would love to hear from you!

Chicken Broccoli and Orzo en Cocotte

 Chicken Broccoli Orozo and Parmesan

I must have been good this year, because Santa brought me some amazing kitchen gadgets that I can’t wait to use (and share!).  I’ve always wanted cookware from Le Creuset, and I fell in love with the concept of these little cocottes when I was at a restaurant out west.  All of the sides – roasted broccoli, cheesy potatoes, brussels sprouts – were served to the table en cocotte, and all of a sudden the dinner out with friends felt more like a meal with family.

They are like mini casserole dishes meet ramekins meet tiny dutch ovens. Did I mention they’re mini?!  But don’t be mistaken – they are marketed as “individual servings” but I think you can get a full meal out of a cocotte, or a side to share!

Cooking in Cocotte

Aside from the presentation, finishing off a dish by baking them in the cocottes really helps to meld all of the flavors together, and that’s where this recipe comes into the story.  My mom used to mix pan seared chicken, steamed broccoli, cooked orzo, chicken broth and spices together in a big pan and serve it to us on cold nights.  What better first meal to make in my new cocottes?

Ingredients:

 -1lb chicken breast

-1 head broccoli

-1 cup orzo

-4 cups chicken stock, unsalted

-minced garlic

1 T olive oil, divided

-salt & pepper, to taste

-parmesan

Instructions:

Start by cutting the chicken into bite sized pieces.  Heat a large skillet over medium, add 1 t of olive oil, and sautee the minced garlic – I used 2 heaping teaspoons.  Once the garlic starts to brown, add 1t of olive oil and all chicken.  Cook the chicken through, making sure to brown on all sides.

Pan Seared Garlic Chicken and Orzo

While the chicken is cooking, heat 3 cups of chicken stock in a pot, and cook the 1 cup orzo according to instructions on the package.  Be sure to slightly undercook the orzo, as you will be heating it later in the oven.  I like to use stocks instead of water to bump up the flavor.  When it comes time to drain the orzo, pour the leftover stock into a bowl – we’ll use it later in the dish.  Mix 1t of olive oil into the drained orzo to prevent sticking.  At this point you can also steam/blanch the broccoli, and start to prepare your cocottes!

Chicken Broccoli Orzo Broth

Preheat your oven to 300.  Layer the orzo, broccoli, and chicken into each cocotte, and pour overtop a few ladles of stock (use any from the extra 1 cup if necessary).  Top the cocottes, place on a baking tray, and heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Finish each dish off with a sprinkle – or six – of parmesan.  When serving the cocottes, keep in mind they will be very hot to touch!  Chicken Broccoli Orzo

The cocottes really bring the flavors all together, in an almost stew-like way.  Can’t wait to see what else these little guys can do!

Make Your Own Flavored Coffee Syrups

make your own flavored coffee syrups

You guys! I got an espresso machine for Christmas this year and it might be the best thing that’s ever happened! I’ve had to limit myself to only making lattes on weekend mornings, or I would be a total caffeine crazed maniac 24/7. I’ve been a little obsessed with all the possibilities this opens up for my daily coffee fix, and in the midst of all that orange-mocha-frappachino dreaminess I made some flavored syrups. They turned out to be incredibly easy, and surprisingly versatile!

You know that lineup of sweet Italian syrups they use at Starbucks to make your regular latte a hazelnut, pumpkin spice, or cinnamon dolce? These are just like those, and quick and easy to whip up at home. You can use them in an espresso drink, regular coffee, hot chocolate, tea, cocktail…. virtually anything that you would normally sweeten with regular sugar, but this way it’s just… fancier. I made four flavors: vanilla, almond, dulce de leche, and cinnamon. (Side note: you only see two flavors pictured above because I only had two cute glass bottles on hand, but I promise the other two are just as good!)

easy coffee syrups

The recipe for these syrups couldn’t be simpler: Mix equal parts water and sugar. Heat until dissolved. Add desired flavoring. Pour into a bottle. Done.

making cinnamon syrup with whole cinnamon sticks

Just start with a basic simple syrup: sugar supersaturated into water. Based on the size of my containers I used one cup of each. Heat the sugar and water mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Then, stir in your flavor (amounts of each below) and continue to heat until just a bit thickened.

DIY cinnamon coffee syrup

For Dulce de Leche syrup: add 2-3 tbsp dulce de leche sauce (this works the same with caramel sauce)

For Vanilla syrup: add 1 tsp of vanilla extract

For Almond: add 1 tsp of almond extract

For Cinnamon: add 2-4 whole cinnamon sticks, depending on size of sticks and desired amount of flavor

DIY flavored coffee syrups

These are so easy to make, it’s no problem to make one of each to have a whole arsenal of flavor on hand. Having overnight guests or hosting brunch? Your new barista skills are sure to impress! Did I mention these are perfect for iced coffee? The sugar is already dissolved, so they mix in easily.

So. Many. Options.