Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zucchini Enchiladas

The picture does not look like much, but these are delicious! They started as a Meatless Monday meal, and now Dave requests these enchiladas frequently. Another reason this dinner is a winner is how quickly it comes together. I love healthy, tasty, and speedy weeknight meals. I'm beginning to consider cooking my way through Skinny Taste because I have discovered so many incredible recipes from Gina's blog. She uses real ingredients to make lighter meals and treats instead of using substitutes with ingredients I can't pronounce. I just went back to her blog to star some recipes to try this fall.

For the enchilada sauce, you will need:
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 tablespoon chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
*1 cup tomato sauce
*1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
*1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
*1/2 cup vegetable broth
*kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the enchiladas, you will need:
*cooking spray (I use my Misto)
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*2 medium scallions, chopped
*1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
*2 medium-sized zucchinis, grated
*kosher salt
*fresh ground pepper
*1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
*4 tortillas
*Additional chopped scallions and cilantro, for topping if desired

1. Begin making the enchilada sauce. Sautee garlic and a spray of oil in a medium saucepan. Add chipotle chile, chili powder, cumin, broth, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
(You could grate your zucchinis while waiting for the sauce to boil)

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

3. In a medium nonstick skillet, saute garlic and scallions in olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Then, add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste, and cook another 4-5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and mix in 1/2 cup of cheese.

4. Divide the zucchini and cilantro in each tortilla, roll, and place seam side down in baking dish.

5. Top with enchilada sauce and the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes to Celebrate 2 years!

It's Cooking with LT's 2nd birthday. Or, as I often hear in the blog world, it's my blogiversary! Although I still don't have down posting regularly, I am impressed with how much I've learned about cooking and baking. Dave and I were joking about how much our weeknight dinners have changed. We used to consider boiling pasta and heating spaghetti sauce to be cooking dinner and sometimes skip to takeout to avoid the hassle. It is the rotation of new dinners with old favorites that keep cooking at home interesting for us. I think the best part of having a food blog is how many other blogs and bloggers I have discovered through it. My neglected cookbooks are still trying to get involved in the kitchen, but it is often the recipes I find through other blogs that I am eager to try.

So in honor of this 2nd birthday/blogiversary, I bring you chocolate bacon cupcakes. This recipe is from The Novice Chef. I attended the Boston Bacon and Beerfest for a friend's birthday back in April, and it was after this event that I searched for a chocolate and bacon recipe that I could replicate. I loved Jessica's take on this sweet and savory combination by using a maple frosting. The perfect opportunity to share these cupcakes came when I invaded a friends cookout with 10 house guests! I think his exact words to me were "If you combine bacon, beer, and chocolate, you could bring 100 people!" I decided to serve the beer on the side of these cupcakes, but I think next time I will revisit the Guiness chocolate cupcake base and consider adding bacon to that. It might just create a guy's ultimate trifecta.

Thanks for reading/following me through this journey. Raise your cupcake to another year of recipes here at Cooking with LT!
For the cupcakes, you will need:
*3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

*3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour

*1 teaspoon baking soda

*1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar

*4 large eggs at room temperature

*1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, separated
1 cup sour cream at room temperature

*3/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped

1. If you have not already done so, cook the bacon. Let it cool before you chop it into bits.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tins.

3. Stir together the cocoa and hot water until smooth.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

5. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the sugar, stirring to combine. Once the butter is melted, remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled ( this should take about 5 minutes) Add eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low.

6. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream. After each addition, beat the mixture until just combined. Gently fold in bacon.

7. Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate the pans. Continue baking for about 10 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake centers comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Continue cooling completely on baking racks before frosting.

For the maple frosting, you will need:
*2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar

*1/3 cup pure maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon salt

1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and maple syrup and mix until well combined.

2.Add the sugar, one cup at a time, mixing to combine each addition. Once all the sugar is combined, taste. Add more maple syrup if you'd like. If your frosting is not thick enough, add some more powdered sugar.

3. Frost cupcakes and top with extra bacon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Roasted Chickpea Tacos

We've started a new weekly tradition in our household: Meatless Mondays. So much of the blog world and beyond has been doing this for a long time, and we finally decided to jump on this trend. Because of my unwavering love for cheese, our Mondays are just meatless. I have some vegan recipes I hope to explore with in the future too, but often like this one, I ended up adding in a dairy product.

Taco nights are one of our favorite dinners, so I took a gamble in trying to incorporate a meatless meal into this rotation. Well, we now have a new regular in the rotation! We both loved these tacos, and they come together in a snap making them a perfect weeknight meal. I even thought about them when we were on vacation, and I made them our first night back at home. This recipe is from Peas and Thank You. I highly recommend that you check out Mama Pea's amazing vegan recipes. It might even convince you to try out Meatless Mondays of your own!

You will need:
*2 teaspoons chili powder
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/4 teaspoon onion powder
*1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
*1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
*1 teaspoon sea salt
*Juice of 1 lime
*2 tablespoons water
*14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
*8 organic taco shells
*Taco toppings (we used baby spinach, greek yogurt, shredded Mexican cheese on ours)

1. In a large bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin, salt, lime juice and water. Add chickpeas and marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Place chickpeas onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, stir, and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes, until chickpeas are slightly crispy.

4. Prepare taco shells according to package directions. Fill with chickpeas. Top with your choice of toppings.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes

We're back from our incredible Mediterranean vacation! I have many dinners and treats to blog from the weeks before we left, so I am hoping to get back into the routine of sharing recipes more frequently. I also took a few food photos while we were away that I will post soon.

I made these cupcakes for a friend's birthday at the end of June. I had to take them on the train into Boston with me to celebrate, and I received many comments! There were many references to cupcake wars (one by the conductor) and many passengers gave me a side eye. Waiting on a street corner for my husband to pick me up outside the station, a couple of passersby asked if I was selling cupcakes. The whole afternoon was a humorous experience. Luckily, my Snapware cupcake carrier is amazing and the cupcakes arrived at our destination safely.

These cupcakes came out moist and tropical. They are a perfect summer treat for a celebration or backyard barbeque. I found this recipe on Koko Cooks who adapted these cupcakes from an Ina Garten recipe.

For the cupcakes, you will need:
*3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

*2 cups sugar

*5 eggs

*2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*1 tablespoon key lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoon key lime juice

*3 cups flour

*1 teaspoon baking powder

*½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.

2. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Switch the mixer to low speed, and add the eggs, one at a time, fully combining before each addition.
Next, add the vanilla, key lime zest, and key lime juice and mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients and the coconut milk to the batter in 3 segments, beginning and ending with the dry mix. Mix until just combined. Stir in the shredded coconut.

4. Scoop batter into cupcake liners, filling to the top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake's center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

5. Frost cooled cupcakes with the recipe below.

For the frosting, you will need:
*8oz cream cheese
*1/2 sticks unsalted butter
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I might omit this next time)
*confectioner's sugar, about 3 cups or as needed
*2 teaspoons key lime zest
*shredded coconut, optional topping

1. Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and extracts. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar until you get the consistency you are looking for and mix until smooth. 

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the coconut.