Archive | February 2014

Caramel Chocolate Lava Cake

Awhile back my husband went out searching for caramel baking bits for me.  He didn’t find what I wanted and he knew that the Werther’s Original Baking Caramels weren’t it, but he bought a bag and brought them home anyway.  (He did later find the Kraft Caramel Bits for me.)  So now I have this bag of baking caramels and I’m not sure how I’m going to use them (though I’m sure just sitting down and digging in to the bag of caramels wouldn’t be a bad thing . . .)  Where to turn?  The Werther’s Original website, of course!  And here is what I found:  http://www.werthers-original.us/caramel-recipes/caramel-desserts-treats/caramel-chocolate-lava-cake

Two of the members of this household would not be interested, but that’s okay because the recipe only makes 4 anyway.  This afternoon, when the kids were home from school and there were just two sugar cookies left (enough to satisfy the child who doesn’t think he likes caramel), seemed a great time to test the recipe.  So I got out those caramels and the rest of the ingredients and went to work:  2014_0203January20140002

My little girl wanted to help, so she buttered the ramekins while I cut out little circles of parchment paper to place in the bottom:  2014_0203January20140004  I chose not to use the microwave and instead melted the butter & chocolate chips and the caramels with water on the stovetop.  My daughter watched and stirred, and called me over to see that the caramels had melted into a large lump.  I grabbed a soup spoon out of the drawer and filled it with water and added that to the caramels.  Success!  2014_0203January20140007  After baking for 15 minutes, I pulled these little cakes out of the oven:  2014_0203January20140009  We had trouble waiting for them to cool enough to eat, but we did wait for 5 minutes, I think…  When I turned them out onto plates and cut into mine, the result was this:  2014_0203January20140013  In the words of my oldest son, “It was yum!”  The four of us who had these enjoyed every bite.  They really don’t take long to make, and would be great for a dessert after a formal dinner or after an everyday family meal.  The only thing I would suggest is to maybe wait just a few more minutes before eating, as the caramel was still really hot when we dug in.  But you don’t want to wait too long or you’ll lose the “lava” effect!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

“Chocolate Chip” always sounds good, doesn’t it?  Who isn’t delighted at the thought of a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven (cooled just enough to be able to handle, of course)?  But sometimes the thought of scooping cookie dough onto a baking sheet, then waiting around a few minutes to take the cookies out of the oven (because there’s really not enough time to get started doing something else), then moving the cookies to a cooling rack and reloading the cookie sheet and repeating the process over and over again until the cookie dough is all baked just doesn’t sound appealing.   Enter “Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker” with this recipe:  http://frugalanticsrecipes.com/2010/11/chocolate-chip-cookie-bars/

My ingredients were all store-brand, except for the vanilla (it’s split vanilla beans in a jar with vodka poured over – had to sit for a few weeks (I think?) before use and now I just add more vodka when the vanilla is getting a little low): 2014_0127January20140023  We were all please with the results:  2014_0130January20140009  After the initial serving, my kids decided they liked these bars heated just a little in the microwave to bring back that ooey gooey fresh-from-the-oven melty chocolate sensation.  These will be making a comeback in my kitchen in the near future, and my kiddos will be happy happy 😀 😀 😀

Sweet Peas Parma

Here’s another quick and easy recipe, a more exciting side dish than just plain ol’ peas (not that there’s anything wrong with “plain ol’ peas”, it’s just that sometimes you want something a little different):  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sweet-peas-parma

I failed on this one also to take a photo of the ingredients I used.  I can tell you that I bought chopped prosciutto instead of sliced.  (Hey, the recipe said to chop it anyway.  I thought this would be easier.)  And I, um, failed to buy a tomato . . .  In my defense, snow days messed up my shopping plans.  The prosciutto was what drew me to the recipe anyway, and often my hubby and I don’t really care for “slightly cooked” tomatoes, so I was sure it would be okay if I omitted the tomato.  And you know what?  It was!

2014_0130January20140022  Looking back on this recipe, though, I think chopped, sauteed onions would be a nice addition, or a good replacement for the tomatoes.  I just made myself a note to try that next time 🙂

Maple-Glazed Salmon

I apologize in advance for failing to take any ingredient or procedure photos for this one:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/tasty-maple-glazed-salmon

This is one extremely quick and easy recipe, and my husband enjoyed it:

2014_0130January20140025  That’s “Sweet Peas Parma” (sort of) that you see next to the salmon on that plate.  You’ll find that recipe in my next post.  The only “bad” thing about this recipe is that sugars burn easily, which means that syrups burn easily, which means that you’re going to be left with a mighty messy pan to clean up!  But that’s okay with me, because I made my hubby happy 😀