Spice Up Spring with a Ginger Mango Lassi

Now that we have entered spring and are experiencing a bit of warm weather, I am always looking for cool drinks to beat the heat. I love smoothies and some of my favorite fruits, like mangoes, are coming back into season. Mangoes tend to pop up in April and peak in May and June. Using mangoes, I took a shot at making a smoothie native to India, the lassi, but with an added twist. A lassi is a cross between a smoothie and a milk shake with spices (like cumin or cardamon) that can be either sweet or savory. It is creamy, refreshing and best of all easy to make! For my lassi, I am adding pineapple, almond milk and ginger to amp up the flavors.

Ingredients: (Makes one 16oz smoothie)

  • 1 cup of mango, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup of pineapple, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup of yogurt (I recommend Chobani Low Fat Mango Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 tsp of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk (or substitute with whole milk)
  • Ice cubes
  • Honey or sugar (optional depending on the sweetness of your mango)

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Directions:

  1. Add ice, mango, pineapple and almond milk to a blender and puree until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  2. Add yogurt and minced ginger (I used jarred minced ginger, but I recommend fresh ginger for a more potent kick). At this point you can add any sweetener to your smoothie.
  3. Run the blender for up to 1 minute. For a smoother consistency add more almond milk.
  4. Pour mango lassi in a glass and top with some mango pieces and ground ginger. Sit back and pretend you are relaxing in Kolkata!

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Toni’s Tip:

  • A lassi can work with any combination of fruits and using frozen fruit works just as well as fresh fruit. Just skip out on the ice if you decide to go the frozen route.
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Watergate Cupcakes: A Scandalous Green Treat for St. Patty’s Day

Hello SCBD Readers! Antoinette, your South Jersey home cook here. For St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to bring a festive cupcake recipe that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth- Watergate Cupcakes. This Watergate dessert is a classic recipe and actually started off as a sweet salad of pistachio pudding mix, pineapple, walnuts, cool whip and marshmallows. In fact, the recipe for Watergate Salad can still be found on the pistachio Jell-o box today.

Legend has it that Kraft came up with the recipe to market their pistachio pudding mix. It was formerly called Pistachio-Pineapple Delight, but once the Watergate scandal happened, Kraft changed the name to market their recipe. The name has stuck since then!  I am making these cupcakes for a St. Patty’s Day party that I am attending with some political peers and it only makes sense to have these green-tinted, political-themed cupcakes. This recipe yields a lot of batter and can easily be converted to a bundt or layer cake.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Golden Vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick of  unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of lemon-lime soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped coconut flakes
  • 1 4 oz box of Instant Pistachio Jell-o Pudding Mix
  • 1 jar of Whipped Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 12-cup muffin tins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. As oven preheats, line your muffin tins with baking cups, chop walnuts and coconut flakes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, wisk cake mix with Jell-o pudding mix. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and butter. and mix for 30 seconds on low, slowly add the lemon-lime soda to the mixture,  and then 2 minutes on high.  If you don’t have a stand or hand mixer, just wisk until ingredients are well combined. If you desire a greener cupcake, feel free to add a few drops of food coloring.

3. Fold in 3/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts.

4. Fill each baking cup no more than 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to completely cool before frosting.

“Cover-up” Frosting:

What better way to top a scandalous Watergate cupcake than with a cover-up frosting!

1. As the cupcakes are cooling, in a small bowl wisk together the butter cream frosting and some pistachio pudding mix until it becomes a nice pastel green. Be careful not to add too much pistachio pudding mix, or the frosting will become grainy. If you add too much pudding mix to the frosting, add water to further dissolve the pudding. Wisk until frosting is smooth and insert the bowl into the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

2. Once both the icing and cupcakes are cooled use a knife to spread icing onto the cupcakes. I recommend using a cheese spreader, as the smaller knife is easier to control.

3. Spread out walnuts and coconut flakes onto a plate and gently dip each cupcake to achieve an even coating on each cupcake. Voila! You’re done!

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Adding soda to the mixture makes the cake light and airy while the coconut and walnuts add a  crunchy texture. Warning: these cupcakes are so good it’s hard to have just one!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

These Are a Few of Katrina’s Favorite Things…

Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, I happen to fancy the art of baking. I get my jollies by going to the local grocery store and taking my time walking up and down the isles, until I find the best deals for the best brands of fresh food. I am not a big fan of processed food (or “crap” as Jillian Michael’s calls it), so to me, I like to bake and cook from scratch most of the time. While others see nothing wrong with buying cookies and cupcakes, I prefer to bake them myself.

cookies

I started baking back when I was about 10 years old; after I checked out the All American Girl Cookbook from my local library. I immediately wanted to try Samantha’s Blueberry Muffins and Felicity’s Scones…you catch my drift. And there I was…not even a teenager, but I was washing fresh blueberries, sifting flour, and cracking eggs in a bowl. To this day, I LOVE to bake. I love the feeling of patting the homemade crust on the top of an apple pie, or sprinkling sugar into chocolate chip cookie dough. The smell that floats through the air as my banana nut bread bakes is one that not only makes my family all hover around the kitchen, but makes me eager to try a piece too.

Tonight after working a full day in the office, I came home and baked. And baked. And baked. I have a function the next evening and promised I would bake, so I did! chocolate chip-walnut cookies, Banana Walnut bread, and an apple pie. Yes, call me crazy, but it was fun! Although time-consuming, I enjoyed it and my treats look decadent and are just waiting to be gobbled up.

Pappardelle Pasta with Lamb Ragu {Perfect for Valentine’s Day Dinner!}

Hey readers! I’m Elizabeth, your new culinary contributor. I’m a Hamilton College and French Culinary Institute graduate, and a longtime NJ resident. Even with my highbrow culinary education, I still enjoy a bowl of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a slice of Funfetti cake as much as the next food lover (my French chefs would cringe!). You’ll find me sampling and creating all kinds of food from all types of cuisines; cooking, baking, cocktail shaking – the works. I also write healthy living recipes for insurance companies; so I’ve got lots of gluten-free, dairy-free, and veggie-laden recipes in my repertoire. I love traveling, spicy food, farmer’s markets, champagne, and throwing dinner parties for friends and family.

This Valentine’s Day, why not forgo the expensive pre-fix menu and overcrowded restaurant in favor of a delicious dinner at home. This pappardelle pasta with lamb ragu comes together quickly and makes your kitchen smell delicious. Its light on your wallet but still packs big gourmet flavors to celebrate the night. Serve with a green salad and red wine, and you’ll be sure to please!

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb (you can use ground beef in a pinch)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in puree
  • 3/4 pound pappardelle (get fresh pasta if you can)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions:

  1. In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, the oil over medium heat. Add the carrot and the onion and cook over medium heat, five minutes or until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for a minute more.
  2. Next, add the lamb, parsley, fennel, cinnamon, rosemary and thyme. Cook for five minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their puree, and bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover your pan partially and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, 25 to 30 minutes. If your ragu gets over-reduced, add a splash of chicken stock to thin it out again. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, per package directions. Save 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the butter and toss over low heat. Thin the ragu with a splash of the pasta water if needed. Serve the pasta and ragu in bowls, topped with a scoop of the ricotta and a sprinkling of the chopped mint.

As a bonus- toast the night with a festive fizzy cocktail. Pick budget friendly Prosecco over pricey champagne, and mix it with 1-tablespoon pomegranate juice per glass. Serve in champagne flutes with a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!

Cayenne-Spiced Popcorn Shrimp

The Super Bowl this past weekend has inspired me to amp up future super bowl soirees. Whether you are going to a friends or throwing your own shindig, come prepared. Go for something a little different than your average chicken wings and chips ‘n’ dip. This cayenne-spiced popcorn shrimp recipe, provided by amazing catering company Canard Inc. will have everyone begging for seconds thirds, whether you’re making it for the super bowl or not.

CAYENNE-SPICED POPCORN SHRIMP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 5 teaspoons Cayenne Spice, recipe follows
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • 1 pound small shrimp (100 count per pound), peeled
  • 6 cups vegetable oil for frying

CREOLE SEASONING
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a medium-sized, non-reactive bowl combine the eggs, heavy cream, and 2 teaspoons of the Cayenne Spice. Whisk well to combine. In a separate bowl, blend the bread crumbs with the remaining 3 teaspoons of the Spice mix.
  2. Set a 1-gallon stockpot over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and preheat the oil to 360 degrees F.
  3. To bread the shrimp, take about 1/3 or 1/4 of the shrimp and toss in the egg mixture. Let the shrimp sit in the marinade for up to 5 minutes. Remove and place in the bread crumb mixture. Toss well to evenly coat the shrimp, and use a coarse sieve to sift the excess bread crumbs off into another clean bowl. Repeat the process 2 more times with the remaining shrimp and breading.
  4. Place the breaded shrimp in the hot oil in batches and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the hot oil using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper-lined sheet pan. Serve the shrimp hot.

Enjoy!

shrimp

#SCBD Black Bean & Cheese Quesadillas Recipe

I find the best recipes ones that use a few, simple ingredients. Growing up I was always a fan of quesadillas and still am to this day. This past week, I realized I had a lot of black beans in my pantry so I figured I should put them to good use.

Here’s my quick & easy recipe for black bean and cheese quesadillas…

black bean and cheese quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • A bag of flour tortillas
  • A can of black beans
  • Bag of shredded cheese of choice preferably Mexican Mix
  • Salsa of choice
  • Oil or butter spray
  • Adobo Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper, as needed

Instructions:

  1. In a separate small pot prepare beans over heat for about 20 minutes. Feel free to put in Adobo seasoning and salt & pepper for more flavor. 
  2. Once beans are done cooking let simmer on low heat.
  3. Take out a frying pan that can fit your flour tortilla on it, spray with oil or butter spray of choice and let it warm up.
  4. Put tortilla on it and let it warm up to your liking for about a minute.
  5. Add beans, salsa, and cheese on to tortilla and let sit for another two minutes.
  6. Once the cheese has melted enough take one side of the tortilla over the other and flip so both sides are heated evenly. If you’d prefer to use two tortillas instead of one put another tortilla over the mix & then flip it.
  7. Keep over heat for another minute or two.
  8. Put it on your plate & enjoy!

This recipe is really easy and if you are not a fan of beans you can always substitute it with your meat of choice. Feel free to top it off with your favorite sour cream and guac if you’d like.

Happy Eating! 😀

Sara SCBD Logo Edited

#SCBD ‘Spiked’ Adult Chocolate Milk Recipe

Ever have one of those days when you need a nightcap? Bailey’s Irish Cream has to be one of my favorite liquors, it’s flavorful, creamy and can be used in many cocktails & desserts. It can also be used in cocktails like spiked chocolate milk.

Adult Chocolate Milk

Here’s my recipe for simple yet delicious ‘spiked’ adult chocolate milk…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Milk of choice (you may need more or less depending on your glass size)
  • 1 shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Instructions:

  1. In a glass of your choice pour milk, shot of Bailey’s, & chocolate syrup.
  2. If you have a stirrer, stir to your liking if not use a spoon and mix it together so it looks like chocolate milk. Feel free to use or more less chocolate syrup and Bailey’s depending on how strong & chocolate tasting you like it.
  3. Once it’s the way you like it– sip & enjoy!

This recipe is so simple and delicious, perfect for dessert or a nightcap. Next time you think of buying a bottle of Adult Chocolate Milk, think again, the recipe is simple and only requires three ingredients!

Cheers!

Sara SCBD Logo Edited