Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Blog: Buckeye Pretzels

Big thanks to my sister, Kelley, today for sharing her great recipe for Pretzel Buckeyes.  She was nice enough to give one to me yesterday and it was delicious! I loved the mix of chocolate, peanut butter, and salt.  These are definitely a crowd pleaser :)  

So I’ve become completely obsessed with Pinterest.  I love all of the creative ideas for DIY crafts, home projects, and especially…wait for it…new recipes!  Every day I come across a new food idea that I just can’t wait to try.  The one that got me this week was Pretzel Buckeyes.  If you’re from Ohio, you’re no stranger to the traditional buckeye candy.…a peanut butter sugar mix dipped in chocolate.  So the idea of adding the salty pretzel to the mix sounded like pure genius to me!

I have some very fantastic friends who watch my pups when I have to travel out of town for work.  Jen and Beth keep my two with their three, so I’m selling them short by saying they have their hands full when they have all five dogs at once.  So to show my appreciation, I decided to make them a batch of the Pretzel Buckeyes.  They are super easy to make and from experience with the traditional buckeyes, I knew they were sure to be a crowd pleaser.

To make these delicious treats, you need the following ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons softened butter
½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 bag of regular pretzels
1 large bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

The Pinterest recipe says you need to use a standing mixer, but I don’t have one, so I use a hand mixer.  Works just as good.  Mix together the peanut butter and butter until combined.  Add sugars and mix again until combined.  Roll the mixture into balls, about a ½ inch in diameter and sandwich between two pretzels.  You want them small but they need to big enough that when sandwiched, it fills the pretzel gaps.  Place the pretzel sandwiches on a wax paper-covered baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. 

While the sandwiches are in the freezer, bring a pan of water to a simmer and cover with a metal bowl (a double-boiler works best).  Melt the chocolate in the metal bowl and stir until smooth.  I recommend melting about 1/3 of the bag at a time to prevent the chocolate from burning.  Dip each pretzel halfway into the melted chocolate and replace onto the baking sheet.  After each pretzel is covered place back in the fridge until the chocolate is set, roughly another 30 minutes. 

They are that simple to create and make a wonderful gift idea or party treat.  My friends were over the moon about them, and I have had numerous requests for the recipe.  So give them a try and surprise the ones you love.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Cincy By The Slice

Cincy by the Slice is a little pizza joint located on the corner of Plainfield and Blue Ash Roads in the Deer Park/Silverton area. I have driven past this little corner building and have often wondered what it was like. This building has been occupied by a couple different places over the years and nothing has ever seemed real successful. For one, the building is VERY small and narrow and also looks a little run-down. There isn't a ton of parking near by either, so it can be a little confusing as to where you are supposed to park.

 Well, all this aside, I have heard good things about Cincy by the Slice and wanted to give it a try on my way home from a happy hour one recent night. I figured I could walk right up and grab a slice of pizza and head back home. As I pulled into the tiny gravel lot next to the building, I saw a worker walking in. I asked him if I could just order a slice of pizza or 2 and he said of course.

 Apparently, Cincy by the Slice is known for their pickle pizza. Although this sounds a bit unique, I definitely wanted to try it because I love pickles. So I ordered one of those slices and told the friendly pizza maker to pick another slice that he would recommend. I was a bit hesitant that the pizza wouldn't be very fresh since it didn't seem that this place gets a lot of walk-ps, but the pizza man asked if I had 6 or 7 minutes to spare so he could make me fresh pizza...sounded perfect to me!

 As I looked around, the only waiting area was a lonely table outside on the gravel lot overlooking the busy road and railroad tracks.  I didn't want to sit out there by myself, so I asked if I could stand inside and wait. The 2 workers were very accommodating and didn't appear bothered by me at all! I was able to wait in the kitchen and make conversation with the nice workers. They said business has been good and told me about some of their favorite menu items. I also found out there is a location downtown on Main Street too:). It probably took a little more than 10 minutes, but I didn't mind the wait. They wrapped my 2slices up individually as I paid and was on my way! It was only $5 and change for 2 good sized pieces! A steal for how ungry I was :)

 I took my pizza home to enjoy, and that I did! I started with the pickle pizza and loved it! The pickles were a different typing, but in a good way! There was just enough sauce and cheese and I loved that the pizza was on the thinner side without being paper thin. It was a bit crispy, without being overcooked or crunchy. Cooked perfectly! I would definitely go back for this.

The other slice he gave me was a meat lovers. I told him to pick whatever, so this was fine, but I don't typically like a ton of meat on my pizza. This had pepperoni, bacon, and sausage. I really liked the sausage on this. It was a bit spicy, which I love.  I thought this slice could have had more sauce to even up with the meat, but overall this was pretty good!

 I was pleasantly surprised by Cincy by the Slice. I would recommend it, and hope to get it again soon, the staff was awesome and they do deliver. If you are in the area check it out!

 Food: 4
Overall Experience: 4

Cincy by the Slice on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipe: Southwestern Shrimp Bisque

My mom got me a subscription to Taste of Home magazine which I use a lot.  There are always a variety of easy and delicious recipes that look great.  The most recent issue had a recipe for Shrimp Bisque which looked and sounded unique and tasty.  I had never made a bisque before and love shrimp, so I thought I'd give it a try!

1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro and sliced avocado, optional

1. In a small saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender.  Add garlic; cook one minute longer.

Stir in four until blended. Stir in water, cream, bouillon and seasonings; bring to a boil.  reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Cut shrimp into bite-size pieces if desired; add shrimp to soup.  Simmer 5-10 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink.  Place sour cream in a small bowl; gradually stir in 1/2 cup hot soup.  return all to the pan, stirring constantly.  Heat through. (do not boil).  If desired, top with cilantro and avocado.

This was such an easy soup to make and it turned out really great!  I didn't put avocado on mine, but I did put some cilantro.  I thought this had a nice kick and I would maybe even add a bit more chili powder and possibly red pepper flakes next time, I like it even spicier.

We had this with a side Caesar salad and it made a great dinner!  This was a serving for 2-3, but that was all, so if you want to serve more people you would want to double the recipe.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Taste of Home April/May 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Salsa

I first have to apologize that it has been a really long time since I have posted.  This time of year just keeps me busier with other things than working on my computer, but I hope to be better about updating new posts!  As it gets warmer out, it makes me crave salsa more.  I like making my own salsa at home but don't always have fresh tomatoes on hand.  I don't think they always look that great at the grocery either, so when they don't, I just buy some canned diced tomatoes.  This recipe uses that plus some other fresh ingredients.  This is a go-to salsa that I will just make to have on hand at home for a snack or to serve with chicken or fish tacos:

1 can of petite diced tomatoes with green chiles (any diced tomatoes would work, but I like the chiles)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn drained (you could use frozen if you have it)
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
1-2 jalapenos chopped (add more if you like spicier)
1-2 tbsp. cilantro
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Juice from one lime
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder

All you have to do is throw all these ingredients in a bowl, mix and serve! I like it better after it has chilled for awhile and all the ingredients have settled together.

So, this is a really easy and tasty salsa and it also makes a lot!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala - Lightened Up

Some of you may have noticed that Kate and I regularly cook and review a lot of Mexican, Italian and American cuisine. For some reason, Indian food has not made it in the regular rotation yet. It's not a "go-to" option for me when I'm deciding where to go out to eat or what to cook. On the rare occasion that I do get Indian food, I always order the chicken tikka masala and I loooove it. I'm not sure why I don't get it more often!

While perusing on Pinterest recently, I found a recipe for a lightened up version of chicken tikka masala from the blog Skinnytaste and decided to give it a try. As I mentioned, I don't have a lot of experience cooking Indian food, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised! It was fantastic and was really low fat. I will definitely be making this again!

2 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, minced (I did not use this)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
4 oz. fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric (optional - I skipped this)
1/2 tbsp chili powder
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (more or less to taste)

Start out by heating the oil in a large skillet. If you like onions (gross! jk), add those and cook until about golden. Next add the ginger and stir together with the onions for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and let that cook for another minute. Add the cumin, garam masala (which I couldn't find at my Kroger's - had to go to Fresh Market), turmeric, chili powder and salt. This will cook for about 2 minutes. Next stir in the tomatoes, yogurt and milk and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes. The sauce will have thickened at this point. Add the chicken and let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Now it's ready to serve! I served it on top of brown rice and put quite a bit of the fresh cilantro on top. I absolutely love cilantro, so you may not want that much if you're not a big fan. Feel free to add veggies to it as well! You could even make it a vegetarian dish with all veggies.