Monthly Archives: August 2009

Parmesan Knots

As an accompaniment to my spaghettti with mushrooms and garlic I decided to try a recipe from the lastest Taste of Home magazine for parmesan knots.  This recipe uses refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury) as the base for the knots, which makes these easy and quick to bake up.

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They taste great, like a crispy garlic bread.  They’d be perfect for appetizers, a snack or a side dish.

Parmesan Knots
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine, August/September 2009
Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Ingredients
1 tube (12oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Method
Cut each biscuit into thirds.  Roll each piece into a 3-inch rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; add the warm knots and gently toss to coat.

The only thing I did differently in making these was that I used olive oil intead of canola oil to toss the knots with.

Banana Walnut Muffins

I just love banana breads and muffins and have a collection of many different recipes for these.  Earlier this week I chose to use a recipe from my Taste of Home cookbook, called Special Banana Nut Bread.  As the name would imply, it is a recipe for banana bread, but I went out and bought a jumbo muffin tin to turn the bread into muffins.

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The original recipe asked for pecans, but I used walnuts instead.  What I really did like about this recipe is that it uses cream cheese.  It is creamed along with the butter and sugar, so it is thoroughly incorporated through the batter.

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The texture is absolutely perfect and so moist!  It almost mimics the taste of those yummy Otis Spunkmeyer muffins that I love.

These muffins were fantastic for breakfast and were so filling that I told my mom that this might be my only banana bread recipe!

Special Banana Nut Bread
Adapted from Taste of Home
Makes 1 loaf, 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins

Ingredients
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, divided

Method
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg, beating well.  Beat in bananas and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture.  Fold in 1/2 cup walnuts.

Transfer to a greased 8x4x2-inch loaf pan or greased muffin tin.  Sprinkle with remaining walnuts.  Bake at 350F for 1 to 1 1/4 hours for a loaf, 30 minutes for jumbo muffins or 20-22 minutes for regular muffins, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Tomato Relish

I realize I haven’t posted a new recipe in 5 days now, so I apologize for that!  No, I haven’t had my baby yet – I’m currently at 38 weeks and 4 days.  My mom has been staying with us in these last few days of my pregnancy, so we’ve been too busy talking to each other for me to be online!

I did want to update here with a recipe for tomato relish.  This is something I’ve been interested in trying since I heard Gordon Ramsay mention it a few months ago on one of his shows.  I searched for a recipe, found one I liked the sound of from Bobby Flay, then adapted it to my own tastes.

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Making this was so easy; it came together really quickly.  It would be the absolute perfect addition to hamburgers, but we used it on hot dogs!

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Tomato Relish
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; serve at room temperature.

See, it couldn’t possibly be any easier than that!  :)

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is something that’s always been on my to-bake list, but it was at the bottom of the list.  I had never eaten zucchini bread before, and I admit I was a little scared of what it might taste like!

A friend of mine recently baked a loaf of zucchini bread which did not turn out as she had planned, so I decided to try the recipe that I had bookmarked a few weeks ago from Made By Melissa, thinking I could recommend the recipe to my friend.  I chose this recipe because of the use of ginger – I just love the taste of ginger!

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Melissa’s recipe makes 2 8×4-inch loaves; I decided to make 1 loaf and use the rest of the batter for muffins (more kid-friendly, I thought).  I had just enough batter to make exactly 12 muffins.

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I was totally blown away by this zucchini bread.  As I said, I had never eaten zucchini bread before, and didn’t know what to expect.  It is possibly the moistest bread I’ve ever eaten, and while it might have had a slight taste of zucchini, it tasted mostly of cinnamon and ginger.  It was absolutely delicious.

I will definitely be making this recipe again!  I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to bake zucchini bread.  My next venture with zucchini might include chocolate zucchini cupcakes – the zucchini made the bread so moist, and I would love to see if it has the same effect on chocolate cake.

Costco Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Members of Costco look forward to their monthly coupon booklet, and if other members are like me, they get super excited when there’s a coupon for something from the bakery!  Imagine how I felt when I saw a $2 coupon for Costco’s “gourmet chocolate chunk cookies” this month!

The cookies came in a pack of 24.  After taste-testing one, I froze the rest of them to make them last as long as possible.  The cookies are absolutely fanastic.  They are soft and chewy, and the chocolate chunks are huge and delicious.

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But with 24 of these cookies, I wanted to try to do some more creative things with them, rather than just eat them as is, one by one.  So first I made an ice cream sandwich.

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Which was great, but two of those huge cookies, plus vanilla ice cream, plus mini chocolate chips was a bit too much to eat all at once!

Next, after being inspired by a post from Our Best Bites about frozen pudding pops, I made vanilla pudding pops (using half and half) with chunks of Costco’s cookies and ribbons of fudge sauce.

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Okay, so that fudge sauce really didn’t work out very well!  It gets solid in the refrigerator, so I thought it would freeze up solid in the freezer, but the warm water I need to use to unmold the pops melted the fudge sauce.  Despite the horrible messy look to these pudding pops, however, they tasted amazing!

You might think that the chunks of cookie that went into these pops would freeze up too hard to bite into, but you’d be wrong.  The pudding actually kept the cookie pieces soft and easy to bite into.

My last creative adventure for Costco’s cookies was simply a chocolate chip cookie sundae.

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I warmed the cookie in the microwave until it was really soft and the chunks were really gooey, scooped vanilla ice cream on top, as well as fudge sauce and a cherry.

But most of the cookies actually got eaten plain!  I had stored in them in the freezer, but let them thaw out completely to room temperature before eating them.  A quick zap in the microwave once they were at room temperature made them taste like they had just come from the oven.  My crazy daughter preferred to eat them straight from the freezer!

On a totally separate note, I’d like to say that I’m now 37 weeks pregnant.  I have a habit of going early with my pregnancies, so anytime from now if you notice that I haven’t posted in over 4 days it would probably be safe to assume that the baby has arrived!  I may take a brief hiatus from updating The Sweetest Kitchen for a few weeks after that, although I have a few other recipes currently waiting to be posted that I will try to go through first.  Don’t worry though, because I will return!  :)