Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Red Velvet "Cauldron Cookies"


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!

I'm honestly not sure why I love Halloween so much. Maybe because it was so much fun for me when I was a child. My neighbor Melanie would make handmade matching costumes for me and her two sons, and we would spend hours walking to every single house in the neighborhood. It was my favorite night of the year. I don’t think we had specific trick-or-treating hours like most cities in Indiana have now. We had to put together a list of trick-or-treating times for our FOX59 and CBS4 websites last week, and some of the towns only allow trick-or-treating for and hour and a half. That’s ridiculous! I feel bad for those kids!

I currently don’t live in a neighborhood where I can hand out candy, and I don’t know any young children who would allow me to follow along while they trick-or-treat. But that doesn’t make Halloween any less exciting for me. Halloween encompasses a lot of different themes: goofy, scary, cute, etc. And it’s all about having fun!

Each year, I try to make my Halloween treats some of my most creative recipes! A few weeks ago I had an idea to make cookies that were black on the outside and red on the inside. I came up with the idea after seeing this recipe for “Brimstone Bread.” It looks so cool, right?! I love how the black cracks so you see little peeks of red on the inside. I thought about how to do the same thing with a cookie for about a week before the idea came to me just in the nick of time: crinkle cookies rolled in black powdered sugar!

I’m sure many of you are familiar with crinkle cookies. They’re very popular around Christmas time. Essentially, it’s a cookie rolled in powdered sugar, but it gets it’s name because it cracks on top.

I started out by making red velvet cookies using red velvet cake mix. If you have a favorite “made-from-scratch” red velvet crinkle cookie recipe, by all means use that! But I use a box mix because it’s a heck of a lot easier, and we’re going to be rolling them in powdered sugar anyway.

So here’s the deal: as mentioned before, we’re going to roll the dough balls in powdered sugar before baking them, but before we do that, I recommend first rolling them in granulated sugar. The reason being is that the black powdered sugar is an essential part of how the cookie looks at the end, so we want as much of it to stay on the outside of the cookie as possible. The problem is a lot off the time the powdered sugar is soaked up by the fat in the cookie when it bakes, so it disappears for the most part. By rolling the dough in the granulated sugar first, we are creating a barrier between the cookie and the powdered sugar which will help it stay on the outside of the cookie better. I even took it one step further, and I rolled my cookies in black sanding sugar (it looks like black sprinkles) to ensure the effect I wanted was achieved.

After rolling the dough in granulated sugar comes the powdered sugar, of course. But not just any powdered sugar, black powdered sugar. It’s very easy to make! Just blend about a half cup of powdered sugar with gel black food coloring in a food process until it starts to turn black. If it won’t get any blacker, add a little cocoa powder if you want to enhance the effect. Don’t add too much cocoa powder, though, because you don’t want to change the taste of the cookie!

That’s all there is to it! Bake about 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies are just barely set. The black powdered sugar does get your fingers a little messy, but it’s totally worth it!

Also, in case you’re curious, I’m calling them cauldron cookies because I think they look like hot coals burning under a cauldron!

Red Velvet “Cauldron Cookies”
Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box red velvet cake mix
  • 6 tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • Black gel food coloring
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or black sanding sugar)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl, combine red velvet cake mix, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Put in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes so the dough is easier to work with.
Add powdered sugar and black food coloring to food processor and pulse until the powdered sugar starts to turn black. It will probably turn more gray than black, but that’s okay. You can add cocoa powder in 1 Tablespoon increments if you want the color to be a little deeper.
  3. Place the powder sugar and granulated sugar in separate, shallow dishes.
  4. Scoop out a 1-inch diameter ball of dough. Roll it in the sugar to coat before transferring it to the powdered sugar and rolling to coat. 
  5. Place dough on baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cookies are just barely set. 
  6. Remove cookies from oven and let cool before serving.






Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Chocolate Jack-O'-Lantern Bowls


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!

If you haven’t realized it by now, I cannot get enough of these edible chocolate bowls! This is the third occasion that I’ve made them!

The first time I tried making them was 2 years ago for Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Chocolate bowls + chocolate ice cream sounded like a winning combination to me.

Most recently, I made them for Easter. I added cheesecake inside the bowls and a little lemon curd so they looked like eggs. They were pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

And now they’re jack-o’-lanterns in my latest creation!

When you finish making the bowls, you can fill them with anything. I wanted them to look a little spooky, so I decided to use dirt pudding with gummy worms! It made for a delicious 2-in-1 treat!

Before you skip down to the recipe READ HERE: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT dip the balloons in the chocolate while it’s still hot. The balloons will explode, causing a huge mess in your kitchen (been there, done that!).

Let the chocolate cool at least 10 minutes and test the temperature of before dipping them. Add oil if you’re worried about the chocolate stiffening too much.


Chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns
Yield: Makes about 8 to 10 bowls
Ingredients

  • Pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 20 Oreos, crushed
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • Orange food coloring
  • Oil, as needed
  • Chocolate frosting or melted milk chocolate for decorating

Directions

  1. Whisk pudding mix with milk for several minutes until non clubs remain and set aside.
  2. Put Oreos into gallon bag and crush until they’re in small pieces
  3. Mix together cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Add in crushed Oreos and mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Melt white chocolate until smooth. Add orange food coloring until chocolate reaches desired color of orange.
  5. The chocolate may seize up and not mix well when you add the food coloring. That’s okay! Just make it easier to stir by adding a little oil at a time,
  6. This is IMPORTANT: Let chocolate cool for about 15 minutes until you dip the balloons. Otherwise, they’ll explode!
  7. Dip balloons in chocolate so bottom portion and part of sides are completely covered. Set on baking sheet covered in wax paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  8. Pull bowls out of refrigerator and decorate using melted dark chocolate or brown frosting so they look like jack-o-lanterns. Pop balloons and peel them away from inside of egg.
  9. Fill bowls with pudding about halfway. Then add the Oreo dessert and gummy worms.
  10. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Guaco-tacos


If you could choose only one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would you choose? I always ask people this question, mainly because I’m hoping they’ll ask me the same thing.

If I could only choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose tacos, and let me tell you why! You see, tacos are very versatile. You can change the shell, the meat, the toppings, etc. There are limitless options.

Also, they’re actually not unhealthy, contrary to what a lot of people believe. They have carbs, protein, and veggies.

I’ve made a lot of taco dishes for my blog over the years (like this taco lasagna), and I’m excited to share another one today.

Let me introduce you to the guaco-taco! It’s essentially a taco in an avocado. But I stopped out the inside of the avocado, made guacamole with it, and added it back to the shells. I then topped it with taco meat, pico de gallo, and cheese. In a weird way, it’s a very similar concept to a twice-baked potato.

You can make the taco meat and veggies ahead of time for this dish, but I recommend waiting to cut into the avocados until you’re ready to serve the meal because avocados generally turn brown quickly.

Guaco-tacos
Yield: Makes 4 tacos (4 avocado halves, 2 whole avocados)
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or other meat of your choice
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional toppings of your choice, like cheese, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, and sour cream
Directions
  1. Cook ground beef until it is no longer pink. Mix in taco seasoning, and set aside.
  2. Cut open avocados and remove pits. Scoop out avocado flesh into bowl and mash. Gently stir in red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt.
  3. Add mixture back into avocados so they’re filled halfway. You’ll have some left over.
  4. Top with taco meat, and your other favorite toppings like cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream.






Thursday, September 27, 2018

Apple Cider Pork Chop Skillet


What is brining?

Brining is soaking meat in a liquid solution with salt in it. Brining actually changes the cell structure of the meat. It breaks down some of the muscle tissue, helping the meat draw in moisture. And it also seasons the interior of the meat. Brining does not make your meat salty. It keeps it juicy, and it will taste well-seasoned.

It’s always a good idea to brine lean cuts of meat, even if you only have 15 minutes.

Because brining helps with the flavor of the meat, it’s always good to brine with a solution that’s flavorful.

Apple cider gives it a wonderful subtle flavor. I also added rosemary to the bine since I’ll be using a lot of rosemary in the dish.

The best way to brine is to lay your meat in a single layer in a shallow dish and pour the brine on top.

Let the pork chops sit undisturbed for one half to 2 hours before cooking.

Because this is a fall harvest meal, I’m using fall produce to complete the dish. Sweet potatoes, vidalia onions, and of course, honey crisp apples work really well with the flavors. The pork chops don’t cook that long in the oven, so make sure to cut the produce up in small enough pieces so it becomes tender.

Apple Cider Pork Chop Skillet
Yield: Serves 2 people
Ingredients
Part One: For the brine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Rosemary (about 2 sprigs)
  • Two (4-ounce) pork chops
Part Two: For the skillet
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped in bite-size pieces
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped in large chunks
  • 2 honey crisp apples, chopped and cored
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary
Part Three: For the gravy
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Challenge butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
Directions
  1. Combine apple cider, salt and rosemary. Pour over two pork chops in a shallow dish. Let sit undisturbed in refrigerator for 1/2 to 2 hours. Discard brine when finished.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place large cast iron skillet in oven so it heats up while you’re prepping the pork chops.
  4. Remove pork chops from brine and pat try.
  5. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Set aside.
  6. Combine sweet potato, apple and onion in large bowl with olive oil and rosemary. Set aside.
  7. Remove skillet from oven and place on stovetop on medium high heat.
  8. Add oil to skillet and brown pork chops on one side. Set pork chops aside.
  9. Wipe away excess oil with paper towel.
  10. Add apple cider, Worcestershire sauce, and dijon mustard to skillet. Simmer for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.
  11. Whisk in butter, flour and bay leaves and simmer for an additional minute.
  12. Return pork chops, sweet potato, apples and onion to skillet, and sprinkle with rosemary.
  13. Bake about 20 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and serve by first spooning some of the apple cider gravy on top of the pork chops.
Recipe adapted from What Should I Make For...



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Savory Pumpkin Dishes



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!

First and foremost, let me come out and say pumpkin is a winter squash.

It has come to my attention that many people don’t realize this, and they think pumpkin is just for pies and lattes. But actually, pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients for savory dishes this time of year.

The smooth texture is great for sauces and soups, not to mention, it's packed full of nutrients like potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber.

It pairs very well with sage, smoked paprika, ginger, and cayenne, among other spices.

Spicy Sausage Pumpkin Gnocchi
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds gnocchi
  • 16 ounces spicy sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add gnocchi, stirring gently so they don’t all stick together. Cook gnocchi for about 2 minutes, or until they start to rise to the surface.
  2. Drain gnocchi. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking together and set aside.
  3. Brown sausage in skillet; drain fat and set aside.
  4. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of saucepan and heat at medium heat. Sauté garlic and sage in saucepan for about 1 minute.
  5. Add cream cheese and heat until melted.
  6. Add pumpkin puree, half-and-half, parmesan cheese, smoked paprika and chili powder. Stir until thoroughly combined and simmer on low for several minutes.
  7. Gently fold gnocchi and sausage into sauce until combined.
  8. Serve warm and garnish with toasted walnuts and more parmesan cheese if desired.



Pumpkin Hummus
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Directions
  1. Pulse lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt together in a food processor or blender until smooth. 
  2. Add garbanzo beans and olive oil and pulse until smooth. 
  3. Add pumpkin, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper; pulse until well blended. Transfer hummus to bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. When ready to serve, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle additional smoked paprika on top.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Taco Waffle Cones


Let’s taco bout a new trend that’s been popping up across the U.S. — savory dishes in waffle cones! I like this new trend a waffle lot for several reasons. First off, I’m a big fan of savory waffles. I mean really it’s just like a biscuit or bagel or any other bread-like product. Secondly, it’s easily portable. I’ve seen Instagram posts from people across the country stuffing their savory waffle cones with everything from fried chicken and macaroni and cheese to salads to falafels.

If you couldn’t tell by my puns in the first paragraph, this week I’m trying out the trend with tacos! This idea was original to me the. I first started prepping for my segment. However, I have since discovered that the “tacone” was being talked about as early as 2012 by Dude Foods.

I’m not entirely sure why it hasn’t completely taken off. It seems to me like they would be more popular by now. But I posted it on Twitter last night and a lot of people were really turned off by the idea. What is there to get upset about, people?! You’re just replacing the taco shell with a waffle cone. Oh well. As T-Swift, the great lyricist of our generation, would say “The haters are gonna hate hate hate.”

For this recipe, I attempted to make my own waffle cones without a waffle cone maker. The key word in that is attempted because I was unsuccessful. Twice. So you know what I decided to do instead? I bought some waffle cones and seasoned them with spices to make them savory. Waffle cones already aren’t too sweet, so that method worked out well!

Also, I have a few tips for making to most out of each bit of your tacone. 1) Before you stick the waffle cone in the oven to bake on the seasoning, throw some shredded cheese in the cone. It will melt on one side, and you get a nice even distribution of cheese. 2) If you’re going to use sour cream or guacamole, spread it inside of the cone, covering the circumference. Once again, it makes for a more even distribution.


Taco waffle cones
Ingredients
  • Waffle cones
  • Taco seasoning packet (or your favorite blend of spices)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (vegetable, canola and avocado oil work well too)
  • Your favorite taco ingredients (beef, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, etc.)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine taco seasoning with olive oil
  3. Brush mixture onto all sides of waffle cone and set on parchment paper. Continue until you have desired amount of waffle cones.
  4. Place in oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Fill with your favorite taco ingredients and enjoy.




Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Unique cheese pizza ideas made in a cast iron skillet



So here’s the deal—I switched shifts at work, and the new time is kicking my butt. My manager left last month, so there was some shuffling around in my department. Long story short, I now have to wake up at 3 a.m. every day, and I’m tired!

Last week I did a segment on foil grill packets for Labor Day, and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t get around to posting the recipe here on my blog. The chemistry class I’m taking as a prerequisite to get into a dietetics program also just started.

Even though I didn’t get around to writing the blog post for my segment, I wanted to share the sweet surprise my co-workers gave me last week!




Now that I’ve said my piece, let’s get onto this week’s topic: cheese pizza! There are well over 1,000 different types of cheeses in the world. So why don’t we branch out more?

That’s why I wanted to share some new ideas! Check out the following list of cheeses… You’ve probably heard of these cheeses, but my guess is you’ve never tried them on pizza. Heck, I hadn’t! But maybe you’ll reconsider now!

Ricotta
Soft cheese, spread it on the pizza
Can act like sauce on white pizza, but also great dolloped on tomato sauce pizza

Fontina
Semi-soft cheese and melts really well
Mild flavor
Pairs well with sage

Goat cheese
Does not melt well
Tangy and creamy

Feta
Salty, tangy and creamy
Great alternative to shredded mozzarella
Kind of melts

Blue cheese 
Semi-soft cheese that doesn’t melt well
Sharp cheese taste, salty

Also, just realized I forgot to mention the most important parts about this cheese pizza recipe—I baked the pizza in a cast iron skillet! Here’s why that’s a good idea (my brain is just working in lists today)!
  1. Cast iron skillets get just as hot as pizza stones in the oven, and it happens more quickly. 
  2. Most people are more likely to have a cast iron skillet than a pizza stone, thus making it a good suggestion (tootin’ my own horn) 
  3. You can finally get a deep dish pizza at home 
Before we depart, I need to give you some tips for baking pizza at home!
  1. Handle the dough with care — the pizza dough has all kinds of important gases that can’t be damaged. Don’t throw it around. Don’t put heavy items on top if it. 
  2. No rolling pin— using a rolling pin to shape the dough will push out all of the gases and destroy the little air pockets the yeast produced, creating a denser and less airy final product. 
  3. Crank the heat as a high as it will go on your oven. You better believe those wood-fired ovens at your favorite pizza place are hot, hot, hot! It’s the key to perfect crust texture. Lower temps translate to lame, limp crusts. 
  4. More is not always better. You don’t need 9 different toppings for delicious pizza. Just choose 3 or 4 ingredients that really complement each other. 
  5. Pre-bake the crust for about 5 minutes before adding your toppings. This will make the dough a bit firmer and prevent the crust from getting soggy. 
  6. If you’re buying dough in a bag at Trader Joe’s, for example, take it out of the bag and shape it into a disc. Then let it rise for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours before you work with it. You’ll prevent the dough from “bouncing back.” 

3-cheese white pizza
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pizza dough for skillets less than 12 inches (I used Trader Joe’s, but any brand or homemade version will work)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
Directions
  1. Minimum 20 minutes before baking pizza, take dough out of packaging, shape into disc, and let rest. It will increase in size and decrease bounce back*
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Sprinkle cornmeal at bottom of cast iron skillet
  4. Carefully stretch dough out with hands and form the dough to fit inside the skillet.
  5. Once you place dough inside skillet, push sides of dough up around edge about 1 inch to form crust
  6. Poke dough with fork to prevent air bubbles
  7. Brush olive oil on dough and place in oven. Bake 5 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, mix ricotta with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.
  9. Remove skillet from oven and top with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  10. Place skillet back in oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and top with basil and another drizzle of olive oil



Fontina balsamic pizza
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 pizza dough for skillets less than 12 inches (I used Trader Joe’s, but any brand or homemade version will work)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Minimum 20 minutes before baking pizza, take dough out of packaging, shape into disc, and let rest. It will increase in size and decrease bounce back
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Heat balsamic vinegar in small sauce pan over medium heat until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until it reduces by half, or about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool
  5. Sprinkle cornmeal at bottom of cast iron skillet
  6. Carefully stretch dough out with hands and form the dough to fit inside the skillet.
  7. Once you place dough inside skillet, push sides of dough up around edge about 1 inch to form crust
  8. Poke dough with fork to prevent air bubbles
  9. Brush olive oil on dough and place in oven. Bake 5 minutes.
  10. Remove skillet from oven and top with garlic, fontina, and parmesan.
  11. Place skillet back in oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and top with balsamic glaze.


Goat cheese pesto pizza
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pizza dough for skillets less than 12 inches (Use all of the dough for larger skillets) (I used Trader Joe’s, but any brand or homemade version will work)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • Fresh basil
Directions
  1. Minimum 20 minutes before baking pizza, take dough out of packaging, shape into disc, and let rest. It will increase in size and decrease bounce back
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Sprinkle cornmeal at bottom of cast iron skillet
  4. Carefully stretch dough out with hands and form the dough to fit inside the skillet.
  5. Once you place dough inside skillet, push sides of dough up around edge about 1 inch to form crust
  6. Poke dough with fork to prevent air bubbles
  7. Brush olive oil on dough and place in oven. Bake 5 minutes.
  8. Remove skillet from oven and top with pesto, mozzarella, and goat cheese.
  9. Place skillet back in oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and top with basil.



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