Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Four surprising foods you can make with a waffle iron


Most likely, your waffle iron is significantly underused. Sure, we all know waffle irons get a workout during breakfast, but did you know it’s a great tool for making savory lunch and dinner dishes too?  In fact, I’d go as far to say that you can make just about anything in a waffle iron!

So today I’m going to help jumpstart your creativity by sharing a four of my favorite waffle iron recipes!

Also, in case you're curious, this is the waffle iron I own. It is the best waffle iron ever! Nothing sticks to it, and I LOVE that the plates are removable so I can just stick them in the dishwasher. (This is my own personal opinion not influenced by any outside company.)




1. Pizza

One of the greatest things about waffles irons is they’re quick. For example, a homemade pizza would probably take a half hour to make, but in a waffle iron it only takes a few minutes! So just about anything that starts out as dough or batter works well in a waffle iron.

The most important thing to remember while making pizza waffles is to never leave any part of the center exposed because then pizza sauce will leak out and you’ll have a mess on your hands.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 of a 13.8 ounce can of refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 6 pepperoni slices
Directions
  1. Preheat waffle iron and grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Lay pizza dough over waffle iron. Spread pizza sauce on top of pizza dough.
  3. Sprinkle half of mozzarella cheese over pizza sauce, and add pepperoni slices on top of cheese.
  4. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of pepperoni.
  5. Fold pizza dough hanging over edge of waffle iron to center of pizza so the center of the pizza is not exposed (you don't want the sauce to leak out).
  6. Close waffle iron and cook on high for about 3 minutes.
  7. Serve with marinara dipping sauce.



2. Quesadilla

Your waffle iron essentially acts as a Panini press when making quesadillas. The center gets nice and gooey while the edges get a little crisp.

Ingredients
  • 2 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • Peppers, onions, any other ingredients per your preference
Directions
  1. Preheat waffle iron and grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place tortilla on waffle iron and sprinkle 1/2 of cheese on top.
  3. Add any other ingredients you want on top of cheese and cover with remaining cheese.
  4. Place second tortilla on top of cheese and cook on high for about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, salsa, or guacamole.


3. Omelet

Now this is awesome!  Waffle irons are a foolproof way to cook omelets. You don’t have to worry about a too-runny center or a messy flip because everything is evenly cooked and timed out in the waffle iron.

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Crumbled bacon, peppers, mushrooms, any other ingredients per your preference
  • 1/4 cup cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat waffle iron and grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Pour eggs into waffle iron.
  3. Sprinkle bacon, peppers, etc. on top of eggs.
  4. Sprinkle cheese on top and cook on high for about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of cracked pepper.

4. Cinnamon rolls

I have a whole post dedicated to cinnamon roll waffles because they’re a family favorite! And it’s the easiest thing ever to make. All you do is buy a pack of refrigerated cinnamon rolls and stick one in the center. It’s a good idea when you’re cooking cinnamon rolls for a small group because you can just cook a few of them and refrigerate the rest of the dough for another time.

Ingredients
  • 1 (12.4 ounce) tube refrigerated cinnamon roll dough
Directions
  1. Preheat waffle iron and grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place one cinnamon roll in the center of the waffle iron.
  3. Cook on high for about 1 minuted.
  4. Serve with cream cheese icing that comes in tube.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars


Granola bars have been a staple in lunchboxes for years. They’re convenient and they’re definitely tasty. And most people consider them to be healthy. But it’s important to note that not all granola bars are created equal.

If you look at the ingredients of some granola bars, they contain high fructose corn syrup, and that’s not all that healthy.

But fortunately it’s just as easy to make your own granola bars.

I’ve been making this granola bar recipe about once every other week for the past year because it is so easy and so good! The ingredient list is very simple (only 6 ingredients!) and I love that it keeps you feeling full.

You can also customize it to your own liking. Instead of chocolate chips, you could substitute Craisins. Instead of peanut butter, you could substitute sunflower butter. And if you don’t like coconut, just omit it!

And also, I should add that I used the Baked Goods Recipe Cost Calculator to compare the cost of these granola bars to store-bought granola bars. It costs $3.72 to make this entire recipe, and the cost per granola bar is 15 cents! Compare that to an 8-pack box of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, which costs $4.19 for a box and 52 cents per granola bar. That’s a huge difference!

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Servings: Makes about 24 bars
Calories per serving: 84
  • 2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Disperse shredded coconut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake coconut for 5 minutes, just until the coconut is lightly toasted, and remove from oven.
  4. Mix toasted coconut with quick oats, peanut butter, honey, mini chocolate chips, and vanilla.
  5. Line 8 x 8 pan with aluminum foil and press mixture into bottom of pan
  6. Refrigerate pan for at least a half hour before cutting.
  7. Granola bars will stay fresh for about a week; refrigerate to increase freshness time.





Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars



When I was little, I loved the ice cream man. The neighbor boys and I would chase after it whenever we heard his siren coming down our street. And my favorite item to purchase was the Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar. I remember it being the most delicious thing I had ever tasted in my life on a hot summer day.

I hadn’t had one of those delicious treats in years until recently when I saw it at the grocery store. I don’t normally peruse the ice cream aisle, so I was shocked to discover that you can just buy them at the store and you don’t need to chase down an ice cream truck to get one (pretty silly of me to think otherwise – I realize that now). So of course I bought a box. And it was just as delicious as I remember.

I wanted to recreate my own version of the strawberry shortcake bar because sometimes I feel adventurous. But I still wanted to make it as easy as possible.

After some experimentation, I decided to use strawberry cheesecake ice cream as the base because it has elements of both strawberry and vanilla ice cream. I wanted to try to make my bars by layering vanilla ice cream with strawberry sorbet to be more authentic, but the strawberry sorbet was nowhere to be found. And strawberry cheesecake ice cream is delicious. If you can't find strawberry cheesecake ice cream, you can just use strawberry ice cream, but as with any recipe, when you make a substitution it won't taste the exact same.

For the coating I combined vanilla sandwich cookies with freeze-dried strawberries and a little bit of butter to help it all stick together. The crumble coating is my favorite part so this had to be perfect!
At first I tried making these in my new popsicle maker, but the ice cream didn’t seem to work well in the molds. Maybe I’m not doing something right. I don’t know. But anyway, I just decided to layer it in a pan instead. It worked out really well! And since not everyone owns popsicle molds, this was probably the best option anyway.

After you cut the ice cream bars, I recommend rolling them in the crumble mixture again because extra coating is always better!

The best part about these bars is that you don’t even need to chase after an ice cream truck to get one!



Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars
Ingredients
  • 20 vanilla crème sandwich cookies
  • 1/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 1/2 gallon strawberry cheesecake ice cream (take out of freezer 20 minutes before making recipe so it softens)
Directions
  1. Line an 8 x 8 pan with aluminum foil or wax paper; set aside
  2. Pulverize sandwich cookies in food processor; add freeze-dried strawberries and butter and pulverize again.
  3. Add half of your crumble mixture to the bottom of the pan. Spread the ice cream on top of the crumble mixture. Add the remaining crumble mixture to the top.
  4. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Use the overhang from the aluminum foil to lift the ice cream out of the pan.
  6. Cut into bars and serve right away before if melts! You can serve them on popsicle sticks so it’s more authentic if you like.







Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chocolate ice cream bowls


Chocolate lovers, if you’ve never been to DeBrand Fine Chocolates in Fort Wayne you’re really missing out.  Not only do they sell the BEST chocolate, but if you visit their store, they also have the best sundaes. And one thing that makes their sundaes extra special is that they’re served in chocolate bowls.

The first time I received a sundae served in a chocolate bowl it was one of the most magical experiences in my life.

Not only do I get to eat the sundae inside the bowl, but I also get to eat the bowl afterwards. It’s like a second dessert after the main dessert.

It doesn’t get better than that, folks!

Except for it does get better because you can make these chocolate bowls at home! And it is so easy. Actually, it’s more like a science experiment than a recipe.

All you need is chocolate, balloons, wax paper, and a plate or a baking sheet.



Chocolate ice cream bowls
Yield: Makes about 6 bowls

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces melted chocolate
Directions
  1. Melt the chocolate using either a double boiler or melt it in 30-second intervals in the microwave.
  2. Let the melted chocolate cool for about 20 minutes or until it drops below 88 degrees. You MUST allow the chocolate to cool because if you dip your balloon too soon, the heat will cause it to pop.
  3. Blow up 6 balloons. Hold one balloon by its knot and dip it into the melted chocolate. Swirl the balloon in the bowl to create a smooth layer of chocolate. 
  4. Place the balloon on the baking sheet lined with wax paper; repeat for remaining balloons.
  5. Place the chocolate balloons into the refrigerator and let them firm up for at least an hour or overnight.
  6. Once the chocolate has set, pop the balloons with a pin and peel the balloons out of the base of the bowls.
  7. Fill the bowls with ice cream or anything else you want! Keep bowls refrigerated until ready to use. 



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Toasted S'mores Cookies


Nothing says summer quite like s'mores! And these cookies are not only festive and adorable, but they're also so dang delicious! The graham cracker cookie is so sweet and chewy, and the whole thing just melts in your mouth.

There are two important things to remember when making these cookies: 1) Press the half-marshmallow into the cookie immediately after you remove them from the oven so that it sticks 2) Broil your marshmallows so they get a nice golden top, just like when you roast them by a campfire. But be careful! Watch them closely because they burn quickly.

Also, as always, I used Challenge butter when making these cookies. Challenge butter is hormone free and made with real cream. It whips up smoothly when you're creaming it with other ingredients, and the butter flavor really shines through in the cookies.



Toasted S’mores Cookies
Yield: Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 large marshmallows, cut in half
  • 24 chocolate kisses
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy.  
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.  
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet, 1-2″ apart.  
  7. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes or until edges are just getting golden brown.  
  8. Remove from oven and gently press a half marshmallow, sticky side down, onto each cookie. Let cool completely.
  9. Once cookies have cooled, preheat broiler.  
  10. Place cookies back in oven and broil for 1-2 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.  
  11. Once marshmallows start to turn golden brown, remove from broiler and press a chocolate kiss on top of each cookie.
Recipe adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff



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