Archives for May 2012

Memorial Day Weekend, Cookie Recipe, and Peanut Butter Crave Giveaway!

Happy Friday y’all!
Who has plans for Memorial Day weekend? I plan on one thing…taking it easy. My mom, not so much. She is partying it up in Vegas for her youngest sister’s 50th birthday, and by partying, I mean hitting the slot machines so much she will probably get carpal tunnel. It’s just me and Dad all weekend long. I foresee some knocking out of walls happening, seeing as my Dad has taken it upon himself to come up with some house/garage projects. Whatever it is that you have planned, eat…make those recipes that you have been dying to eat. You know the ones…anything with smoked barbecue spare ribs in the title, sides of coleslaw, tater salad, and all-American desserts. Speaking of desserts. Let’s talk about peanut butter. Because peanut butter is my dessert of choice. Always.

You see, the nice people over at Peanut Butter Crave allowed me, a peanut butter fanatic, sample FOUR JARS of their peanut butter! Little do they know how dangerous this can actually be. Luckily I made it through with a little help from my mom, who helped me break in the first jar of Razzle Dazzle Peanut Butter. So, the Razzle Dazzle PB is a combination of wild honey, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and oh…my fave fruit, raspberries. Apparently, peanut butter crave knows me all too well. Holy raspberry, white chocolat-ey, goodness. I thought it couldn’t get any better from there, but seriously, the remaining three flavors were Coco Bananas (bananas + wild honey + cocoa…get out!), Choco Choco ( double the chocolate peanut butter for those chocolate lovers), and Cookie Nookie (a peanut butter infused with chocolate chips and cookie dough flavor). Oh my ba-jee-zus, the Cookie Nookie was my absolute fave (although the remaining three tied for second), it’s like eating chocolate chip cookie dough in a silky jar of peanut butter. Enough said.

So back to desserts. What did I do with some of that delicious Cookie Nookie…

I mean…seriously?

Well, I threw it into a bowl with a banana, sugar, and vanilla

did some mixing

and made some cookies.

Thank you, thank you very much.

You need these cookies on your table for Memorial Day.

Perfect for an outdoor shin-dig.
Kids will love em’…oh, and adults too!
Let’s chat about how awesome PB Crave is:
1. They produce all-natural peanut butters, with no hydrogenated oils or trans fat…plus, they are gluten-free and cholesterol free!!! Triple exclamations are at the top of my list so you can imagine how awesome PB Crave actually is. Oh, and no refrigeration is required, just stir and spread. 
2. PB Crave is striving to change the world and make a difference through Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization focused on treating malnourished children. I literally cried when I saw this. All you have to do is buy one jar of their peanut butter, of which 2% of the profits goes to Project Peanut Butter. Their goal is to save the lives of 2 million children. Let’s help them out by purchasing a few jars of peanut butter. How hard is that? 
3. Peanut Butter Crave is giving you a chance to win some of their delicious, out of this world, peanut butter!

You could be dipping a spoon into a jar peanut butter from PB Crave come next week.

Here are the details: 1 lucky reader will win a 4 pack variety of Crave Peanut Butter like this:

There are FIVE ways to enter.
How to Enter (Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Like Peanut Butter Crave on Facebook and Follow Peanut Butter Crave on Twitter.
2. Follow Peanut Butter Crave on Pinterest and Join the Peanut Butter Crave family for updates. 
3. Join Mangia and follow Mangia by email (look at the side bullets on my page).
4. Like Mangia’s facebook page.
5. Follow @misschelsmangia on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway: “@misschelsmangia is doing an @PBCrave giveaway on Twitter! Enter Now: http://chelsniccuisine.blogspot.com/2012/05/memorial-day-weekend-cookie-recipe-and.html!!!“.
I will announce the winner on Tuesday, May, 29th! Deadline to enter is Monday, May, 28th at 12 midnight CST.

 Happy Entering!!!

Flourless Cookie Nookie Peanut Butter Banana Cookies (GF):
Ingredients:
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 c. Cookie Nookie Peanut Butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. sea salt (optional)
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until smooth and evenly distributed.
3. Drop cookies by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart.
4. Bake for 13-16 minutes (oven times will vary), or until slightly golden brown.
5. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.
Makes 1 dozen cookies.
Note: While these cookies do not contain eggs, they do contain a bit of milk from ingredients in the peanut butter, so they are not completely vegan. 
MANGIA!!!

Sebastian the Crab.

When I was a young girl, I identified crabs with one thing and one thing only…Sebastian the crab, you know…the little red crab with the Jamaican accent from The Little Mermaid. Wait was he a crab? And did he have a Jamaican accent? Let’s just go with yes. Anyway, I was totally Ariel and all I wanted to do was grow a fin and swim with my crab buddies like Sebastian. I would even sing “Under the Sea” in my bubble bath at the top of my lungs…I still do this, only with different songs. Ha! 
As I grew older I learned that you could actually eat crabs, which made me kind of sad for little guys like Sebastian, but once I had my first bite of crab…of course, it was dipped in melted butter, I was SOLD! However, I have this peeve about edible things with shells…I would rather not do all the work to get this tiny piece of meat. Thankfully, we have people who crack those crabs open for us so that we can have all the crab meat that we want. 
That is where crab cakes come into play. Now, I have had my fair share of crab cakes during my life time, some so caked up with filler that they are unidentifiable, and then there are those crab cakes where you can actually taste the crab meat, so flavorful, it just melts in your mouth. 
These are those kind of crab cakes. 
Seriously, bursting with flavor from the parsley and cilantro, with a spicy kick from the Dijon, and what do ya know? 
They are healthy.
Oh, and to top them off…a Jalapeno Chimichurri Salsa.
 
Because I just love the word Chimichurri.
No big deal.
Special thanks to my uncle B-rad for supplying the crab meat!
Is it Friday yet? These would pair wonderfully with a margarita!
Spicy Dijon Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Chimichurri Sauce (GF):
Ingredients:
For the crab cakes:
1 pound (16 oz.) of fresh crab meat 
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 c. celery, finely diced
3 T. non-fat Greek yogurt
3 T. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. almond flour (add more if the cakes are holding together)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the chimichurri:
4 cloves of garlic
1 large jalapeno pepper, discarded of seeds
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t. salt
Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (except salt and pepper) for the crab cakes, using your hands, until everything comes together into a large ball. Taste test, add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Form patties with the crab mixture. Place each patty on the prepared baking sheet. 
4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until slightly firm. 
5. Bake for 16-18 minutes, flipping half way through so that each side is lightly golden brown. Optional: Skip the oven, put 2 tablespoons of evoo in a non-stick skillet on the oven over medium heat, brown the crab cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side. 
6. For the chimichurri, pulse the garlic and jalapeno on high until chopped. Add the cilantro, parsley, vinegar, evoo, and salt. Pulse until herbs are finely chopped and the sauce is smooth.
7. Serve the crab cakes over a bed of the sauce, or drizzle with the sauce…or hell, both is fine with me!
Makes 11-12 crab cakes and about 3/4 c. sauce.
MANGIA!!!

Cookie Complaints.

Not to name names or anything, but the other night after I had spent a few hours prepping dinner, two people came home, enjoyed the dinner, and then complained that there were no cookies for dessert. I believe one of them actually said, “What no cookies? You are off your game, Chels.” I guess I was off my game because not having a homemade cookie in the house is a crime in my family. So, what did I do yesterday? Yep, baked some cookies. No complaints here.

I mean, can anything go wrong with almond butter, sugar, brown sugar, oats, and cocoa?
 Didn’t think so.
 Let’s see how long I can trick them into thinking that these are actually cookies that are “bad” for you.
I’m pretty sneaky.
Almond Butter Cocoa Cookies (GF):
Ingredients:
1 c. raw almond butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. gluten-free old fashioned oats
1/2 c. dark cocoa powder 
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the almond butter, and sugars together on high until smooth, about 1 minute.
3. Add the eggs and beat again until just incorporated.
4. Add the baking soda, oats, and cocoa powder, mix until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
5. Using your hands, roll the dough into golf ball sized balls, place on the prepared baking sheet, and flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for 12-15 minutes, times will vary with oven.
Makes about 16 large cookies.
MANGIA!!!

Decisions.

Decisions, decisions. I know that we all make decisions every.single.day. From the time we wake up in the morning, until the time we rest our head on our pillow at night. Life is all about decisions, some of them extremely life effecting decisions, others, well…not so much. Right now I am being faced with a lot of life-altering decisions that I will discuss when the time is right. I have never been known as a person who can make a decision to save her life. Seriously, I have a hard time shopping for shoes at the mall because I can’t decide whether or not I was a pair of high-heels or converse and…why can’t I have both? Anyway, you get it. I hate making decisions, but right now, I have to put my game face on and make a decision that is going to effect the rest of my life…career-wise. That’s where meatballs and pasta sauce come into play.
 There are no decisions with a one-pot tomato sauce.
It’s real simple…tomato, herbs, garlic, simmer…
 Rolling meatballs is therapeutic…now I know why Italians are so easy-going…most of them with low blood pressure. No decisions. The only decision they have to make is the choice between a bowl of angel hair, or a hearty piece of lasagna. That’s after they take their mid-afternoon siesta.
What a life.
Simplicity at it’s best.
 
So, make one decision today…to have meatballs and pasta sauce for dinner.
It will change your life. No questions asked.
Garlic-Herb Tomato Sauce with Italian Meatballs:
Ingredients:
For the sauce:
3 8 oz. cans unsalted tomato sauce
2 14.5 oz. cans unsalted, whole, peeled tomatoes, with their juices
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 c. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the meatballs:
2 lbs. ground top sirloin
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3 ribs of celery, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 c. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 sprigs of fresh oregano, finely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 eggs
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. For the sauce, place all ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a medium heavy-bottom pot. Mix all of the the ingredients together.
3. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat, stir occasionally until it begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for three hours, checking the sauce occasionally and stirring as needed. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. For the meatballs, place all of the ingredients (except the evoo) in a large mixing bowl and using your hands, mix everything until evenly distributed. 
5. Roll the meatballs into golf-ball sized balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Drizzle each with a bit of evoo. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. (Times will vary with ovens so check on them occasionally).
Note: Serve meatballs with sauce and top liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!
Makes 22 meatballs and about 4 cups of sauce.
MANGIA!!!

Secret Recipe Club!

Happy Happy Monday y’all!
Well, it’s time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal. Seriously, this is the highlight of my month. This month my secret food blogger was the couple from Eliot’s Eats. Now, since starting their blog, the couple have chosen to remain anonymous….oooo love it! It just leaves more to the imagination. They named the blog Eliot’s Eats, after the wife’s fave poet, T.S. Eliot. Then, a stray cat showed up on their doorstep, and what do ya know? They named him Eliot, after which they found out that it was actually a girl cat. Haha! Anyway, I just loved their blog, where the couple posts about their many travels, love of fresh, local ingredients, trips to the farmer’s market, and of course, their love of food.

The first recipe that really caught my eye was one for raspberry jam, and being that raspberries are my fave fruit, oh, and the fact that it is summer and canning season, I took it as a sign.

Best. Idea. Ever.

This raspberry jam is super simple to make, and might I add…delicious.

The raspberries are seasoned with fresh ginger, and slightly sweet from the combination of their own juices and the addition of honey.

The jam gets a kick of heat from red pepper flakes…what the what? I know, it’s genius! 
Just look at that color!

 I put a dollop of the jam on my waffle for a mid-morning snack!

Out of

 this world!

Normally, I would make adaptations to the recipe to give it my own spin, but this just looked irresistible! All I did was cut the recipe in half for one. Thanks to Eliot’s Eats for the recipe and be sure to check out their blog!

Raspberry Jam with Ginger and Chili:

Ingredients:
2 c. frozen raspberries
1/4 c. honey (all I had was agave nectar on hand)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 T. freshly grated ginger

Instructions:
1. In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Simmer until very thick, mashing with a potato masher and then stirring, about 10 minutes total.
4. Transfer to sterilized jars; cover and chill at least 4 hours. Store for two weeks in the refrigerator, or put in freezer containers and freeze for freezer jam.

Makes 1 half-pint jar of jam.

MANGIA!!!