Friday, February 25, 2011

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

As a testament to just how good these rice crispy treats are, I'll admit I had to make them 3 times before getting a picture of them. Each time I made them we either ate them all or gave them away. I am in no way complaining about that though because these rice crispy treats are amazing. Brown butter and salt add an interesting depth of flavor to traditional crispy treats, making them irresistible to me. Honestly, it took some severe willpower to limit myself to one (or two) of these per day, and I could have easily eaten the whole batch. Now I just have to find an excuse to make them again......

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Source: Smitten Kitchen

1 stick unsalted butter
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter or coat with non-stick spray an 8-inch square pan with 2-inch sides.

In large bowl, combine the rice krispies and salt; stir to combine.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as the point between nuttiness and burnt butter happens very quickly. (this whole process took 10-15 minutes for me)

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color and you see brown bits in the butter, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. If the residual heat from the melted butter does not melt the marshmallows, turn the heat back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal. Quickly spread into prepared pan, using hands or a spatula if necessary to ensure top is even and corners filled in.

Let cool completely before cutting.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slow Cooker Wednesday: Split Pea Soup

Possibly the most unappetizing picture ever, but I promise it tastes better than it looks! We've had a ham bone in our freezer since Thanksgiving so I finally gave in to the hubby's request for split pea soup. I have no recollection of ever having this soup before, so it was kind of scary because I'm not really a fan of ham or peas. Surprisingly, this soup only has subtle flavors of each and was actually pretty good! Super easy to prepare and paired with some crusty bread, it made for a pretty comforting dinner!

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Source: adapted from Whole Foods


1 (16-oz) package dried green split peas, rinsed
1 ham bone 
2 cups diced ham (less if your ham bone is pretty meaty)
3-4 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I omitted)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups low sodium chicken broth

Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given, adding the broth last. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on high 4—5 hours or on low 8—10 hours until peas are very soft and ham falls off the bone.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Herb Crusted Pork Roast

I've mentioned before that the hubby's most requested meal is this pork roast. When he once again requested it the other day, I took the opportunity to try something new. As much as I love the go-to pork roast, I have a fear of over using it and getting to the point of never wanting it again. So when I saw this recipe I figured it would be a good one to try, although the flavors ended up being a little similar.
This recipe comes together relatively quickly, and does not require any marinating time. The breadcrumbs give it a nice crust while the herb paste keeps it juicy and tasty. I'm going to have a hard time deciding which roast to make next time it's requested!

Herb Crusted Pork Roast
Source: Adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures, originally from Cooks Illustrated

2-3 lb pork loin roast
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 medium shallot, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/4 tsp dried)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack in the middle, set aside.

In a flat dish combine the panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, minced shallot, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pinch of pepper. Using a fork, toss the mixture until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated with oil.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pinch of pepper. Process until smooth.

Rub the outside of the roast with the herb paste; coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the roast on the prepared wire rack and baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-75 minutes or until the thickest part of the roast registers 145 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Allow the roast to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Creamy Risotto with Edamame

We do not have risotto often in our house, however it is often a favorite of mine at good Italian restaurants. Although risotto takes some tender, loving care to produce, that is not the reason we don't have it often. To be honest, every time I have made it at home it ends up being a bit too rich for me! And also, I often don't want to open a bottle of wine to make risotto unless I know I am able to finish drinking it. But after taking a few bites of this risotto I knew it was different and would be an instant favorite in our family.

This recipe totally breaks the standard of risotto, instead of Parmesan and wine.......laughing cow cheese wedges and beer! Now beer I can handle because it is easy enough for the hubby to finish off the can, and we always have laughing cow cheese around because it is an easy, healthy snack. This recipe got 2 big thumbs up from the hubby, and he really enjoyed the subtle flavor of the beer. I think the substitution of these two main ingredients creates a lighter tasting dish that I fear may allow it to become a staple side dish around here!

Creamy Risotto with Edamame
Source: adapted from Food & Wine


1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium shallots or 1/2 onion, very finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup arborio rice

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup light beer (we used Coors light)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2-3 wedges Laughing Cow cheese, garlic and herb flavor


  1. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and cook until tender, about 5 minutes; drain. 
  2. In same saucepan, combine the chicken broth and beer; season with salt and pepper. Heat through over low heat until ready to use.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots/onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup of the beer broth to the rice and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed before adding more. The rice is done when it's al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy liquid, about 17 minutes total. Add the edamame and cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cake Batter Cookies

Do you ever see the 10 for $10 sales on boxed cake mixes at the grocery store? And then think, "hmm, that's a good deal but why would I ever need multiple boxes of cake mix?" Now of course I know that you don't have to buy 10 boxes to get them for $1, but sometimes I have a hard time passing up a good deal. Nonetheless, I usually skip by the cake mix sales, but now that I discovered these cookies I may have a harder time next sale.

These cookies would be perfect for a quick sweet tooth fix, or those nights you remember you are supposed to bring treats to school or work. They are super easy to throw together and a lot easier to eat than a piece of cake! And while they taste a bit like cake (obviously), the addition of chocolate chips make them taste more like a traditional cookie.

Cake Batter Cookies
Source: All Recipes
Makes ~2 dozen cookies


1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake mix and baking powder. Add eggs and oil; mix until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.