Fruit Pizza

fruit pizzaYou may have noticed that I’ve been a little MIA from my blog for the last few months.  I didn’t mean to be gone for so long and I don’t have a really good excuse.  This year my oldest started high school and along with that, he started attending a church seminary class every morning before school at 6:00!  Between that, high school football and all of my other boys activities, I just felt like I needed to get things under control and focus on my family.

Last week I laid in bed, composing two different posts and I knew it was time to come back. 🙂  I decided to start with this amazing fruit pizza that I put together last week.  I was asked to bring one to an event at church so I experiment with it early in the week and found that I could not resist it!  I normally can stay away from a treat if I put it out of sight, but not this one!  I swear I was getting it out and cutting a slice every 5 minutes. (in semi related news, I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose my DietBet next week)  It seems like a dessert as irresistible as this is appropriate for my comeback. 🙂  Here’s the details I think you should know.

AnneOpinion

This recipe is made for a half sheet pan.  I have two reasons for this.  One is that everyone will want it and you need to have enough to go around and two, I find it impossible to find a pizza pan these days.

The limeade glaze is what really separates this from other Fruit Pizzas you may have eaten in the past.  It not only adds the delightful zip that only citrus can bring but it also enhances the flavor of all the other fruits.  The glaze is brushed onto the cream cheese frosting.  I like to do more dabbing than brushing so that they don’t start to mix together.  You then place the fruit on and then I like to dab the fruit with the limeade glaze.  Not required, but delicious!

I would put fruit that is in season on your pizza.  Blackberries were on sale here last week, so I used them instead of blueberries.  Canned mandarin oranges and fresh strawberries are always a must for me!  To try and minimize the fruit from staining the cream cheese frosting all around I always gently press the sliced fruit between two paper towels to get as much moisture out as possible.  This helps, but is not full proof, so put your fruit on as close to serving as possible, or put on enough fruit that you can’t see the cream cheese frosting.

I’m excited to be back!  Thanks for stopping by!!

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Fruit Pizza
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Fruit Pizza
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Ingredients
Crust
Glaze
Servings:
Recipe Notes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/2 Cups sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased half sheet pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 13-16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the granulated and powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread on the cooled pizza crust leaving an edge around the outside.

For the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan, whisk and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pasty brush, glaze the entire pizza. You will not use all of the glaze. Cut fruit and dry off excess juice on paper towels.  Arrange fruit on top of the pizza. You can add glaze to the top of the fruit, if desired.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill until serving.

Recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/12604/fruit-pizza-i/ and http://www.melskitchencafe.com/fruit-pizza/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/fresh-fruit-tart-recipe.html

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Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal-cookies-barsIs it really the end of October?  I swear school just started, but I have noticed that it is bearable outside now and we are loving the change in season.  I heard something on the radio yesterday that made me laugh out loud because it is so true!  “We have four seasons in Arizona.  They are Summer, Insanely Hot Summer, Post Summer and Pre Summer.”  Can I get an “Amen!” from my fellow Arizonans?  We are now in Post Summer which means that the kids can go to the park, ride their bikes and do all of the outdoor activities that we think of as summer activities elsewhere.

This time of year makes me want to bake constantly (unfortunately for my waistline).  I love trying new recipes and when I find one that I really like, I can kind of get stuck.  Take, for instance, these oatmeal bars.  I first made them about three weeks ago and I have made them once a week ever since.  They are so easy to throw together and they are loved by everyone!  I have been raving about this recipe to my mom and sister for the last few weeks and I’ve taken this as a sign that I need to share the recipe with all of you.  It’s another one from Mel’s Kitchen Café.  I know I’ve probably done enough from her, but what can I say, I LOVE her recipes!  I have found that they are ones that I can rely on to be fabulous and isn’t fabulous what we all want in life?

AnneOpinion

These bar cookies are perfect.  They have oatmeal in them which gives a chewy texture and nutty flavor.  The perfect part is that there is not too much oatmeal so they don’t have that solid, heavy feel that comes with so many oatmeal treats.

These are so popular in these parts that I would not even dream of making them in anything smaller than a half sheet pan.  I have a hard time making them last a whole day in the large size. If things don’t disappear as quickly in your parts, feel free to make them in a 9×13 size.  Mel’s recipe is made for that size, so check it out here.

These bars can have any combination of chips in them that that you would like.  All chocolate chip, all butterscotch, peanut butter, M&M. (Boy 1 has been advocating for the all M&M)  My favorite is a combination of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and M&M baking chips.  For me, it’s perfect and I’ll be sticking with it for a while I think.

One thing to remember.  If you want them to look pretty when you’re done (like in the picture) you’ll need to reserve some of each of the chips and not mix them in.  After the dough is pressed in the pan, sprinkle them over the top and after baking you’ll have pretty, irresistible looking bars.  If you just care how they taste, save yourself a step and just mix everything in to begin with.  I promise, either way, you will Love them!

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Oatmeal Cookie Bars
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Oatmeal Cookie Bars
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray half size baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add 1 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup butterscotch chips and 3/4 cup M&M's and mix together. Press into the prepared pan and sprinkle reserved chips and M&M's over the dough and gently press in. Bake for 18-20 minutes until light golden brown. Don't overbake! These bars are definitely better underbaked by just a few minutes rather than being overbaked so watch them carefully. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into squares.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion from Mel's Kitchen Café (with slight adaption)

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Earthquake Cake

mudslide-cakeEarthquake cake is

  • Chocolate Cake
  • Coconut
  • Pecans
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter

Is it just me or does that sound like it has to be a winning combination?  I found this recipe on The First Year and I think that I tried pinning it at least a half a dozen times (I always get that little “oops! looks like you’ve already pinned this!”) I finally got around to making it and here’s what I thought.

AnneOpinion

This was good.  It really was, but it wasn’t “I’m dying to have this again and need to think of an excuse to make it today” good.  I think that if I were to make it again that I would use a regular chocolate cake mix and not a German chocolate cake mix.  I wanted more chocolate flavor in the cake.

The chocolate chips add a rich chocolate taste and the crunch from the pecans add a nice texture to this rich dessert.  The melted butter and cream cheese is good but I can’t decide if it’s worth the calories.

Raspberries or strawberries were a delicious addition, when serving, that complimented the flavors in the cake well.

This would be a great dessert to take to a potluck.  It would go over well in a crowd and it looks like something that you just want to dive into.

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Earthquake Cake
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Earthquake Cake
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans on the bottom of the pan. Mix the German chocolate cake mix with the oil, eggs, and water using a spatula or hand mixer on low. Pour the cake mix on top of the coconut/chocolate chip/pecan layer. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese. Using a spatula or hand mixer on low, beat in 1 pound of powdered sugar until it's smooth to the butter/cream cheese. Spread this mixture on top of the uncooked chocolate cake in the pan, and swirl into the cake mix using a knife. Bake for 35-45 minutes. It is done when it doesn't wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test shouldn't work because the cake should be more gooey in nature. Enjoy! Store any left over cake in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion from The First Year

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Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups

firecracker-cookiesLast fall I was thrilled to hear about my cousin Kristen winning a prize for her Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups at the San Diego County Fair.  I was even more excited when she got to share her recipe on television in Kansas City!  I thought that I would have to wait until next July to make them because Trader Joe’s normally only carries the Firecracker chocolate bar for the Fourth, but when I went into my local store last week they said that they had just gotten another shipment in.  Score!!  I apologize to those of you without a Trader Joe’s close by.  Maybe you could have a friend or relative mail you one?  You can promise to share with them a really good recipe in exchange. 😉

Anne Opinion

If you’ve never had a Fireworks Bar before you are in for a treat!  Trader Joe’s describes the bar this way, “Trader Joe’s Fireworks Bar is crafted for us by a stateside chocolatier known for adding intriguing flavors to high quality chocolate. Here, they start with smooth, rich dark chocolate—always a good beginning. And then come the fireworks, in the form of popping candy. You remember the stuff; it “sparkles” on your tongue, tingling and tantalizing with every bite.  But that’s just the beginning. The bar is also spiced a bit, with chipotle and pasilla chiles, a touch of sea salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper. It’s not hot hot, but it’ll definitely give you a warm feeling inside. Just like fireworks.”

I love the way they describe their food.  I know it’s dumb, but I always get excited when I see the Fearless Flyer (Trader Joe’s grocery ad) because every description makes me want to try their food right now.

Now that we’re done with my unsponsored crush on Trader Joe’s, lets talk about the cookies.  This is a very hearty cookie.  It not only has ground oatmeal, but it also has 1 1/2 cups of walnuts that you grind up very fine.  Having both of these ingredients gives these cookies a nice solid shape with a chewy texture and a wonderful nutty flavor.

In addition to the Fireworks chocolate you also use a Symphony bar with toffee that is in the cookie.  This bar needs to be chopped up so you get lots of it’s goodness in every cookie.  Tip: make sure and freeze it for at least 30 minutes.  This will make it easier to chop into pieces.

This cookie is so fun to eat!  The pop and fizzle in your mouth as you chew is truly a one of a kind experience.  Thanks for sharing the recipe Kristen!!

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Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups
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Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend butter with sugars for two minutes to incorporate air, then eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour, oatmeal and walnuts. Slowly add to butter mixture, mixing well in between. Stir in the chopped up Symphony Bar. Chill dough for 1 hour minimum. Roll cookie dough into 1 inch round balls (just smaller than a golf ball). Press thumb in center to create deep indentation. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Add square of Fireworks chocolate into indentation and let sit additional 5 minutes. Delicious served warm or chilled.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion Recipe by Kristen Sowell

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries

grahamcracker-pancakes In case you’ve missed a general pattern around here, I love anything with graham crackers. S’more Cookies, Peanut Butter Smuggies, and Kitchen Sink Pies are just a few examples. When I found this recipe on bitememore.com for Graham Cracker Pancakes with Cheesecake and Glazed Blueberries, I said “Sign me up!” These are a must try. Unfortunately I ended up with some mixed feeling about them.

AnneOpinion

grahamcracker-pancakes2Let’s start with the graham cracker pancakes. These showed such promise. They had graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. I thought they would knock it out of the park. They didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were good, but regular pancakes are good too and the don’t take nearly the effort or the amount of ingredients. Everyone liked them and ate all of them, but on one went crazy for them. Do what you will with that information.

The cheesecake topping was really good. I thinned it out by putting in more cool whip than was originally called for. When I ate it on the pancakes I felt like it overtook the whole thing. I ended up spreading it on very thin and it was perfect. It was a delicious filling and would work well as a frosting. I’m keeping this recipe tucked away to use on a cake or cupcakes in the future. It would be perfect with pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin bread, or gingerbread…you get the idea.

I’ve saved the best for last…the glazed fruit. The original recipe called for using blueberries.  I’ve been buying raspberries like crazy this year (yeah for low prices!!) and so I had raspberries on hand. I love that the fruit is not cooked for this glaze. You simply make a lemon syrup and then toss the berries in it. The syrup gives them a wonderful sweet tang that would pair well on any breakfast or dessert that berries would be appropriate for.

So there you have it. The pancakes may not have been all that I was hoping that they would be, but the cheesecake and berries (great surprise!) made up for it.

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Ingredients
Graham Cracker Pancakes
Cheesecake Topping
Raspberries
Servings:
Instructions
  1. For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients do not over mix, lumps are okay. Over medium heat, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip pancake and continue to cook until done. Serve with cheesecake topping and glazed raspberries. To make the cheesecake topping, beat cream cheese on medium speed with a handmixer until soft and fluffy. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon continue to beat at medium speed until well combined. On low speed, add Cool Whip just until combined. To make the glazed raspberries stir powdered sugar, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture boils vigorously, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in berries.
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Breakfast Boats

breakfast-boatsFunny Story.  A couple of weeks ago I was in charge of the meals for 225 people at our church’s girls camp for teenage girls.  I picked up most of the groceries ahead of time myself because I can’t stand paying more for things than I need to.  For example, I couldn’t buy watermelon from my supplier for $6 each when I could get them at the local grocery store for $2.  (side note- Is anyone else as stoked as me about the amazing low prices this year on watermelon?!  Does anyone else out there still use the word stoked?)

I wasn’t able to do this with most of the produce and bread because our camp started on Monday morning and all of my shopping needed to be done on Saturday.  I ordered the extra items from a local food supplier who delivered it all right to the camp; that delivery was worth every penny. 🙂 One of the things that I ordered was 40 loaves of French bread.  These were to be used for Cheesy Bread with lasagna one night and Crème Brulee French Toast for breakfast.  After everything was delivered and set up we started to look for the French bread and found that I had ordered demi loaves.  Had I made this recipe before going to camp I would have known that a demi loaf is not a full sized loaf, but a sandwich sized one.  AHH!!  We did some quick maneuvering and were able to get 26 loaves from a Wal Mart in the next town over and used the demi loaves for the Cheese bread (it was amazing!) and the full sized bread for the French toast.  Crisis averted.  Whew!  I don’t think that I’ll ever forget how big a demi loaf is now.

I found these Breakfast Boats when I was looking for a new breakfast to make for Father’s Day this year.  Father’s Day is a breakfast I like to make something good for, but I don’t want to make a “woman’s breakfast.”  My kids thought the Breakfast Boats looked like canoes so I think that the “manly” breakfast was achieved.  I found this recipe on Spoon, Fork, Bacon (don’t you just love that name!).  I loved that it was a little bit fancy, with out having it be a “fru-fru” breakfast.  I ended up loving them even more than I thought that I would.

AnneOpinion

First, if you’re like me and buy the bread a couple of days ahead of time, don’t leave it in the paper bag that it comes in.  Transfer it to plastic bags or containers so that your bread doesn’t go rock solid. (yep, personal experience right here!)  I picked mine up at Costco if you’re wondering where to find them.

I chose to use bacon instead of pancetta.  Either one would work great.  If you’re thinking that you only want the 4 oz that the recipe calls for, I suggest buying your bacon from the butcher at the grocery store.  It’s around the same price as the prepackaged and you only have to buy what you need.

I loved the gruyere cheese in these.  It was what I felt set them apart as something fancy and “better than everyday.”

My boats cooked for 35 minutes before I felt like they were set.  The original recipe had you cook them for 20-25.  I would check them after 25, but be prepared to let them go for an additional 10 minutes.

One thing I discovered is that these can easily be partially made ahead.  The night before you can make up the egg mixture.  Then it the morning you will just need to cut the bread, give the egg mixture a quick stir and pour it in.  You’re now ready to go.

You can have these for you’re Father’s Day breakfast too, a Sunday morning brunch, or just because you’re wanting add a little bit of fancy to your everyday life.  Whatever the reason, you should take the time to try these because they are goo-od!

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Breakfast Boats
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Breakfast Boats
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a deep “V” through the tops of each baguette until about a 1/2 inch to the bottom. Take off the top, getting a good amount of the inside with it. Set aside. Place the eggs and cream into a mixing bowl and lightly beat together. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and lightly season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide and pour the mixture into each baguette boat and place onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown, puffed and set in the center. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, cut and serve.
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Oreo Italian Love Cake

italian-Love-cakeSometimes you find a recipe that you like the look of so much that you accidently pin it on Pinterest a half a dozen times.  Italian Love Cake is one of those recipes for me.  I don’t know if it’s the beautiful clean lines between the layers or the fact that it’s chocolate cake with a cheesecake layer and chocolate frosting (yum!) but it’s been one that I’ve been contemplating for a while.  I realized that all of my pins linked bake to this original recipe from chewnibblenosh.com (who had adapted it from Paula Deen.) I finally tried it a couple of weeks ago and after making it a few times I feel like I’ve got a good recipe.

AnneOpinion

I originally thought that the recipe called for Oreos.  It did not, but since I already had them I decided to use them.  It was a good choice.  The Oreos add a nice texture difference and a punch of flavor that is needed.

I really was not in love with this recipe that first time I made it.  My family’s favorite part was the frosting which is pudding and cool whip.  Everyone thought that while the white layer looked cool, it was completely lacking in flavor.  My kids called it the white layer that tastes like nothing.  I knew that while it had very little flavor, it was made with 2 lbs of ricotta cheese so it had plenty of calories!  This really bothered me so I decided to add some flavor to it.  I used orange emulsion one time (if you’re wondering what emulsions are, check out my explanation here) and I used almond extract another time.  Both needed a lot (a whole tablespoon) and the flavor that came out was very mild.  It was enough though to make this cake one that I would make again.

Don’t eat this right out of the oven!  I did that the first time and it wasn’t good.  It need time to chill to have the flavors blend together.

Make sure and use an electric mixer with the pudding.  There is less milk than with a regular pudding recipe and will be lumpy if you just whisk it.

It’s really fun to see the white and brown layers switch places.  You start with the chocolate cake on the bottom and after baking the cheesecake is on the bottom.  The layers looks so impressive when the cake is cut!

I think it would be fun to try more flavors in the white layer.  Raspberry is next on my list!  Let me know if you try a new one and how you liked it!

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Italian Love Cake – – plus ingredients to make cake, ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, pkg of chocolate pudding, milk, Cool Whip, Oreos, Orange or almond extract or emulsion, Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Line the Oreos on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour over Oreos. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and orange or almond emulsion until smooth. Spoon cheese layer over the whole cake evenly. Don’t worry! The layers switch during the baking time! Bake the cake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting. Once the cake is cool, stir the pudding mix and milk together with an electric mixer until combined. Carefully, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.
9.ENJOY!
; – <strong>AnneOpinion</strong>  adapted from <a href="http://chewnibblenosh.com/2013/05/28/chocolate-italian-love-cake/">chewnibblenosh.com</a>%5B/wpurp-searchable-recipe%5D
Italian Love Cake
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Italian Love Cake
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Line the Oreos on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour over Oreos. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and orange or almond emulsion until smooth. Spoon cheese layer over the whole cake evenly. Don't worry! The layers switch during the baking time! Bake the cake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting. Once the cake is cool, stir the pudding mix and milk together with an electric mixer until combined. Carefully, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day. 9.ENJOY!
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion  adapted from chewnibblenosh.com

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Salted Caramel Cups

salted-caramel-cupsI love a good cookie and these are a really good one.  In fact, I had hide these from myself after I finished making them for this picture.  They are so simple and good that it’s easy to eat 3..4…5 of them and not even notice what you’ve done.  These have been a favorite of mine for the last 10 years and they are always a hit where ever I serve them.

AnneOpinion

I like that these are made in a mini muffin tin.  It makes them look fancy and perfect for serving at any get together or as a treat to have around the house.  Warning: they won’t be around long!

These are incredibly easy to make.  They start with making the Nestle Toll House cookie dough (minus the chocolate chips.)  Dough is then scooped into each muffin cup and cooked.  After they come out of the oven, the middle will be sunken in showing the perfect place to put the Rolo.

Sprinkling the Fleur de sel salt on the Rolo adds the perfect finish.  Fleur del sel is a salt that is hand gathered in Brittany on the coast of France.  The delicate flakes are perfect for balancing with the chocolate and caramel.  I’ve tried using Kosher salt and it blends in too much and doesn’t have noticeable affect.  Fleur de sel is my favorite salt to add to any dessert that I’m wanting give a “sweet and salty”’ contrast to.  I purchase it off of Amazon.

These cookies freeze amazingly well.  They’re a great thing to make a head and have on hand for when a cookie emergency arises. (that happens at least once a week for me.) 🙂

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Salted Caramel Cups
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Servings
34 cookie cups
Servings
34 cookie cups
Salted Caramel Cups
Print Recipe
Servings
34 cookie cups
Servings
34 cookie cups
Ingredients
Servings: cookie cups
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs and mix. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Grease mini muffin pan. Using a cookie scoop, put dough in each of the muffin cups. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Immediately after taking out of the oven, place a Rolo upside down in the center of each. Sprinkle each with Fleur de sel salt. Let them cool for at least 15 minutes before removing.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion- adapted from Nestle Toll House recipe

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Fried Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with Strawberry Sauce

lemon-ravioliI had a plan.  I was going to review this recipe for a copycat Oliver Garden Toasted Ravioli from Frugal Coupon Living.  I went to the store to pick up the needed meat filled ravioli.  Just for fun I looked to see what other kinds of ravioli they carried and low and behold they (Trader Joe’s)  had a lemon zest and ricotta ravioli and suddenly everything changed.  They sounded so good that I knew that had to try them.  I decided that I would try the lemon ravioli two different ways, a savory and a sweet.  They both were good, but one was decidedly better.

AnneOpinion

The first thing that I tried was the savory.  I made a Parmesan sauce to dip them in because I knew that it would pair well with the lemon. (it did)  I used the same process as  Ashley from Frugal Coupon Living  with the meat ravioli except that I used Italian breadcrumbs so I didn’t need to add any seasonings.  Everyone agreed that these were good, but no one felt like they were anything to get excited about.

I then made some with breadcrumbs (plain), cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg.  We tried dipping the sweet ravioli in strawberry jam and icing.  Everyone preferred the strawberry jam.  The strawberry and the lemon worked together so well!  It was like a match made in heaven.

I started out dipping each one in the ravioli the flour but I didn’t like how it was working.  I then took all of the ravioli and the flour and put it all in a Ziploc bag and shook it around.  This made things much faster and I liked the way they were floured.

I’m sure that the meat filled ravioli with marinara sauce from Frugal Coupon Living is great.  I’ll have to pick up some next time. 😉

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Fried Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with Strawberry Sauce
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Fried Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with Strawberry Sauce
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Instructions
  1. Beat water with eggs together. In another bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg and bread crumbs. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Put ravioli in a gallon bag with flour. Shake lightly. Dip individually in egg wash and finally in bread crumbs and set on plate for 3-5 minutes. Carefully place in oil and fry until golden. Place on paper towels on a plate to drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with you strawberry sauce.
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Ham Fried Rice (Better than Takeout)

ham-fried-riceThis week is Chinese food week here at AnneOpinion.  I have three recipes coming to you to make Chinese takeout a thing of the past.  Chinese is one cuisine that has taken me longer to learn how to cook well then others.  I think that’s because it’s one that my mother never cooked and so with no knowledge of it from my main cooking teacher (my Mom) I’ve had to learn about the ingredients and techniques on my own.  I’ve worked on learning how to make it because cheap Chinese food is my husband’s favorite and he could eat it everyday for a week and still want it tomorrow.  Over the years I’ve learned to make a mean stir fry and this Sweet and Sour Chicken from Mel’s Kitchen Café will knock your socks off.  I’ve tried fried rice a few times in the past to just OK results.  It wasn’t bad, but nothing special either.  Then I found this recipe for Fried Rice on Gimmie Some Oven and it all changed!  This was as good as from a restaurant and it only took 15 minutes to make.  I am hooked!  I’ve made it 3 times over the last month and a half (which is pretty often for me) and I love having a recipe that uses my ham leftovers (I have plenty of those from Easter yesterday!)  If you’re looking for some other ham ideas Ham and Cheese Pasta and Easter Eggs Benedict are two great options!   Here’s what I love about this Ham Fried Rice

AnneOpinion

The first secret is using butter; real butter.  This makes everything fry up beautifully and gives it that flavor that you’re looking for.

This has become a weekend night dinner for me which means that I want to put zero effort into it.  I use a bag of frozen peas and carrots and dried onion because I don’t want to chop anything up.  The original recipe used fresh veggies and if you want to take a look at it you can go here.

Chilling the rice ahead of time is key!  In that way, this is not a last minute meal.  I normally throw some rice in the rice cooker the day before and then leave it in the fridge until I’m ready for it.  It really doesn’t take any time, but I do have to plan ahead.

The original recipe didn’t have ham, but because dinner always has to have meat at my house, I’ve always added it.  I also increase the amounts of everything else because I have a large family.  If you are wanting to make a smaller meal go to Gimmie Some Oven for amounts.

Oyster sauce, I think, takes a Chinese dish from homemade taste to restaurant taste.  I love it and use it in most of my Chinese dinners.  If you’ve never used it, I think you’ll be glad you found it.  Sesame oil is another ingredient that I love.  It adds this wonderful nutty undertone to everything it is added to.  I also have become picky about my soy sauce and only use Aloha brand (not an ad, just my opinion)!  It adds a completely different (less salty) flavor than other soy sauces.  If you can’t find it in your grocery store, Amazon carries it.

My last little tidbit is a large skillet works fine, but a wok was designed to do this.  It has the deep bowl that prevents the rice from going all over the oven and it fries more rice because it has a larger surface area.  Woks don’t need to be expensive either.  I picked up mine at Ikea about 10 years ago for $10 and it’s still going strong!

Make sure and check back on Wednesday and Friday for the rest of Chinese week!  Coming up Crab Rangoon and Mongolian Beef.

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Ham Fried Rice (Better than Takeout)
Print Recipe
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Ham Fried Rice (Better than Takeout)
Print Recipe
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Over a medium-high heat melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet or wok. Add eggs, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove eggs onto a plate. Add an additional 1 1/2 T of butter into the wok and melt. Add peas/carrots, onion and garlic. Cook until veggies are tender. Add the ham, and salt and pepper them. Stir fry until tender. Turn heat up to high and melt remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter. Add the rice, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Mix well making sure to break up any clumps of white rice. Let the rice on the outside edge get a little bit crispy, then stir and repeat two more times. Add the eggs and the sesame oil and stir to combine. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Gimmie Some Oven

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