Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Celebrate Mardi Gras with King Cake Monkey Bread




Are you all aware of how extremely difficult it is to find a tiny plastic baby in central Indiana the week before Mardi Gras? I started looking for a tiny baby over a week ago when I decided to make this King Cake Monkey Bread for Fat Tuesday. This obviously isn't a traditional King Cake, but I still wanted to stick a tiny plastic baby in the center just for fun. I even looked on Amazon, but I couldn't get any delivered before the holiday. They were all going to ship on February 15. What good does that do anyone? No one needs a tiny plastic baby after Fat Tuesday. My mom suggested that I make a tiny baby, which was a very... unique idea. But I was not up for the task. So that's the story as to why there is no tiny baby in this cake. All of you are "kings" or "queens" anyway. You don't need to get a tiny plastic baby in your slice of cake to tell you that!

King Cake Monkey Bread
Ingredients
For the Monkey Bread
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Challenge cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
For the icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk, add more if too thick
  • Purple, green, and yellow sprinkles
Directions
For the Monkey Bread
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Mix melted butter and brown sugar; set aside. 
  3. Cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla 
  4. Press the biscuits out with your fingers and scoop 1 teaspoon cream cheese into center, wrapping and sealing the dough around the cream cheese. 
  5. Place the prepared biscuits in the pan. 
  6. Pour the melted butter mixture over the biscuits.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 
  8. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and invert.
For the icing
  1. Mix together powdered sugar and milk to make icing and drizzle on top of monkey bread.
  2. Sprinkle with purple, green and yellow and sprinkles.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Valentine's Day desserts for 2 people







It kills me when people say they aren’t very good at baking. Can you follow instructions? If the answer is yes, then I believe you can be a successful baker. You see, baking ingredients and directions should be followed with the same care as a TV stand from IKEA.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received emails from viewers telling me, “Hey this didn’t work.” When I inquire about their process, most always they tell me about a substitution they made or a step they skipped.

You cannot make substitutions without seeing an impact on the final product.

Unlike cooking where you can add a little more seasoning here, and substitute chicken for beef there, baking is a science, people! And what’s great about that is if you follow the directions and use the right ingredients, the end result should be the same every single time.

I wanted to bring this up on this particular blog post as a form of encouragement to any first-time bakers who may be attempting to treat their Valentine with a special dessert.

Red Velvet Cookie Skillet for 2
Yield: Serves 2 people or one really hungry person
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour (90 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (16 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (106 grams)
  • 1  egg yolk
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix together butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, milk, vanilla extract, and red food coloring. 
  4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Press dough into small, 6-inch skillet
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes; remove from oven and serve warm with ice cream.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Lava Cakes for 2
Yield: Makes 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Challenge butter, melted
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (63 grams)
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons flour (24 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 6-ounce ramekins by greasing them well with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine peanut butter, 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon melted butter and set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave bowl for 1 minute. If chocolate is not smooth after 1 minute, continue to melt in microwave at 15-second intervals.
  4. Add powdered sugar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla to bowl, and mix until smooth.
  5. Add flour and salt mix until just combined.
  6. Evenly distribute 2/3 batter between two ramekins. Divide peanut butter mixture in two and drop in center of each lava cake. Top with remaining cake batter.
  7. Place ramekins on baking sheet so they’re easier to remove from oven.
  8. Bake between 12 to 14 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cake sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Run pairing knife along edges of ramekin to loosen cake.
  11. Invert cake onto plate by placing plate upside down on top of ramekin and flipping the cake so that the plate is on bottom and the cake is upside down on top.
  12. Tap the ramekin a few times and then lift straight up.
  13. Garnish with berries, whipped cream, or ice cream and serve immediately.





Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mini Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches for the Super Bowl




This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

It’s 2:30 in the morning on a Tuesday, and I am crying uncontrollably. Why? Because onions. I love onions so much, but my eyes just can’t handle cutting them. I have tried every trick in the book, but nothing alleviates the burning sensation that takes over my eyeballs immediately after cutting through one. Sometimes I buy the pre-chopped onions at the grocery store just because I am unable to mentally prepare for the pain, but it’s like $3 more. And I needed a lot of onions for today’s recipe.

(Fun fact: The style of cutting onions in long strips is called Lyonnaise, named after the city Lyon in France)

As you all know, the Philadelphia Eagles are joining Tom Brady and his crew in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl. So I thought it would be appropriate to make Philly cheesesteak sandwiches in honor of the Eagles.

The Philly cheesesteak consists of (you guessed it) steak, green pepper, and onion. I wanted to make it as easy as possible, so I put everything on one baking sheet, and it turned out great. I think this method would also be good for steak fajitas as well.


Once the filling was prepared, I stuffed it into mini croissants with provolone cheese; placed them in a baking dish; brushed Challenge butter on top; and stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese was melted. Delicious and easy!

Mini Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Yield: Makes about 12 mini sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 pound skirt steak or ribeye steak
  • 2 green peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 croissants
  • 12 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, melted
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and soy sauce and set aside
  3. Place steak in center of baking sheet; add pepper and onion to baking sheet without covering steak
  4. Pour sauce mixture over everything, making sure to rub it into the steak
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the center of the steak is no longer bright pink
  6. Cut steak into small pieces
  7. Split open croissant and add one piece of cheese and steak / veggie mixture; place in baking pan and continue with remaining croissants
  8. Brush melted butter on top of each croissant and place back in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and serve warm

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Chocolate Turtle Pie


This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Chocolate Turtle Pie
Yield: Serves about 10 people
Ingredients
  • For the Pretzel crust
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzels
  • 3/4 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
For the pie filling
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • Pecans for garnish
Directions
For the pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Crush pretzels in a food processor and combine with brown sugar and butter
  3. Press mixture into bottom of 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 minutes and let cool
For the filling
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine brown sugar, butter, cocoa powder, flour, eggs, and vanilla
  3. Pour into pie crust and bake for about 40 minutes and let cool
  4. Pour caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with pecans



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables


So, let’s discuss slow cookers. Everyone knows slow cookers are wonderful. You can use them to make extremely simple or gourmet dishes. My first solo experience with a slow cooker was my freshman year in college. I would make sweet potatoes in the slow cooker all of the time. Pretty much that’s all I ate ever. I realize this sounds peculiar, but have you ever made a sweet potato in a slow cooker. It is really delicious.

Oftentimes, I think people associate slow cookers with casseroles and soups. It’s true, those are great ways to use them, but you can use them for a whole lot more. And that’s what I wanted to showcase in this recipe. But first, let me share some slow cooker tips.

The flavor is in the brown
Do yourself a flavor (I hate that joke but I couldn’t resist) and spend 4 minutes of your day browning your meat before putting it in the slow cooker. You’ll be rewarded with an incredible depth of flavor in the finished dish.

Don’t peek!
Keep that lid closed! I know it’s tempting to get a sneak peek and a quick whiff, but the heat will escape from the inside and it will take a while for the temperature inside the slow cooker to return to what it was.

Don’t overfill it
Slow cooking works when the heat can properly circulate inside the slow cooker. If it’s too crowded, your ingredients will cook unevenly.

Put your vegetables on the bottom
Vegetables require more time to cook than meat, so placing them at the bottom will ensure they cook quicker.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables
Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces baby carrots
  • 1 sweet onion, quartered
  • 16 ounces red potatoes, quartered
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 head broccoli

Directions
  1. Brown chicken thighs on stove 2 to 3 minutes per side, set aside
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil in your 5-6 quart slow cooker and spread garlic on bottom
  3. Add layers of the onion, carrots, red potatoes, and chicken thighs
  4. Sprinkle rosemary and thyme on top
  5. In small bowl, combine brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes and pour on top of chicken thighs
  6. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours
  7. Add broccoli on top of chicken thighs, and cook for another hour
  8. Garnish with more fresh herbs and slivers of almonds if desired




Friday, January 12, 2018

Flu-Fighting Soup


A lot of times the content I produce for this blog and my segments is food that I don’t eat as a meal. Let’s face it, you’ve seen a lot of cookies and cupcakes around here. And contrary to popular belief, I don’t just go and eat those treats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s why it’s extra special when my recipe becomes my meals for the week, as was the case this week for this flu-fighting soup.

To be completely honest, I was shocked by how wonderful this soup tasted. I expected it to be good, but I couldn’t believe how much the individual flavor profiles within the soup stood out. You can really taste the ginger and the lime and the cilantro, but it all blends so well together.

I’ve eaten this every single day for the past week now, and I haven’t gotten tired of it.

What really makes this soup so special is the fact that I created it using ingredients known to fight off flu and colds. Those ingredients include ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, and mushrooms. If you google search “What to eat to get rid of flu,” those are the ingredients that repeatedly appear, so I really recommend making this soup at the first sign of a cold.

Flu-Fighting Soup
Yield: Makes about 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (I used canned, whole mushrooms, but it’s your preference)
  • 6 scallions (or about 1/2 bunch), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons), minced
  • 3 Tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 (8 ounce) box brown rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Optional: Avocado, limes, or more cilantro for serving
Directions
  1. Heat large soup pot to medium heat with a little bit of oil; add carrots and sauté until soft, or about 5 minutes
  2. Add red pepper and mushrooms, and sauté for another two minutes
  3. Add scallions, garlic, and ginger, and sauté for one minute
  4. Add red curry paste and turmeric and sauté for 30 more seconds
  5. Pour in chicken broth, coconut milk, and lime juice; bring to boil then reduce to simmer
  6. Add chicken and noodles and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until noodles are al dente
  7. Right before serving, stir in cilantro
  8. Serve soup with sliced avocado, lime wedges, or more cilantro
Slow Cooker Version
If you want to adapt this recipe for a slow cooker, simply dump all ingredients except chicken, noodles, and cilantro in slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours. You may want to microwave your carrots for about a minute first just to make sure they're soft enough.

Once the 6 hours is up, add chicken and noodles and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes in the slow cooker, or until the noodles are al dente. Right before serving, stir in the cilantro.




Thursday, January 4, 2018

Spaghetti and Meatball Bites


Cooking pasta is one of the most basic tasks for anyone who is new in the kitchen. How difficult can it be — all you do is add noodles to boiling water, right? Well, actually there’s a little more to it than that in order to ensure you get the tastiest pasta possible.
Here are a few of the tips I follow:
  1. Heavily salt the pasta water once it starts boiling. Emphasis on the word “heavily.” Like 2 Tablespoons per pound of pasta. Why? The pasta is absorbing the water while it cooks. So if the water is heavily seasoned, the pasta will absorb it and taste better. Add the salt after the water starts boiling so it doesn’t evaporate ahead of time.
  2. Bring your water to a rolling boil, not a simmer. The force of the boiling water will ensure that your noodles don’t stick together. Previous generations believed adding olive oil to the pasta was the answer to this “impastable” problem. But actually, the olive oil creates an oily film on your noodles, and as a result, the sauce doesn’t stick to the pasta as well. You should already be cooking your pasta in a big enough pot to generate a rolling boil without the water spilling over. Bit if you don’t have a big enough pot, just cook the noodles in smaller batches.
  3. Do not walk away from your pasta while it’s cooking! Stir the pasta every minute or so to prevent the pasts from sticking together. Or if you want a workout, go ahead and gently stir the noodles the entire time.
  4. Drain your pasta, but dot not rinse it with cold water. Your pasta comes out of the pot coated with a starchy film. This film helps sauces adhere to the pasta. The film will rinse off if you rinse the pasta in cold water. The only time you should ever rinse your pasta is if your are making a cold pasta salad. 
That being said, I absolutely did not rinse the spaghetti for this recipe. It’s very important that all of the ingredients stick well to the pasta to help keep it in a nest shape.

Spaghetti and Meatball Bites
Yield: Makes about 24 pasta bites
Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 24 meatballs
  • Basil, if desired
Directions

  1. Cook spaghetti to al dente, about 7 minutes; drain and let cool
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Combine cooled spaghetti with beaten eggs, 1 cup marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder
  4. Spray muffin cups with nonstick spray
  5. Twist spaghetti on fork and set in cavity in cupcake pan
  6. Spoon 1 tablespoon marinara sauce over each spaghetti “nest” and place meatball on top
  7. Sprinkle more parmesan cheese over the top of each meatball
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until meatballs are heated through and cheese is melted 
  9. Sprinkle basil on top and serve with more marinara sauce if desired





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