Tuesday, April 22, 2014

5-Ingredient Spring Veggie Pizzas—My Latest On Freutcake!


If you head over to Freutcake today, you'll get the dirty little secret behind my super-last-minute Spring Veggie Pizza recipe. Without giving too much away, let's just say that I'm starting to embrace my complete lack of time management once sunshine and warm weather lures me outside. 

This 5-ingredient recipe has saved me on more than one occasion. It couldn't be easier to make and the ingredients are a breeze to find (which means you won't waste time wondering around the grocery store to find 'em)! 

I love chatting about my favorite short-cut ingredients. Here I use soft garlic-and-herb flavored cheese as a great one-step “sauce” that melts and bubbles into pizza perfection! My go-to brand is Boursin but there are tons of other options out there, like Alouette, Rondele and Pine River.

Serve this pizzas whole or make bite-size servings: Cut each puff pastry rectangle into 4 to 6 pieces before topping (and chop up the asparagus so it'll fit on top) and bake for only 6 to 7 minutes or until puffed and golden. 


5-INGREDIENT SPRING VEGGIE PIZZAS
SERVES: 6 to 8

1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and halved lengthwise (if desired)
1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry sheets, thawed slightly
2 (5-ounce) containers soft garlic-and-herb cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup dill leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Put the asparagus and 1 tablespoon water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High 1 to 2 minutes or until bright green and barely tender. Drain and pat dry.

3. Meanwhile, starting with one puff pastry sheet, unfold the sheet and cut along the seams to make 3 long rectangles; cut each rectangle in half to make 6 rectangles total. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheet. Transfer rectangles to prepared baking sheets.
4. Divide the cheese, asparagus and peas among the crusts. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until puffed and golden. Sprinkle with dill before serving.



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Monday, April 21, 2014

Easiest Ever Cheesy Asparagus Risotto—My Latest On Refinery29!



Ladies, we’re no strangers to dinner a la microwave right? I was home alone the other night and zapped up a surprisingly delicious tray of "gourmet" meatballs and I've got to say, I didn't hate it! 

There are approximately a bazillion different things you can make at a press of a button but my favorite: Microwave risotto. I created this super-cheesy, veggie-packed recipe for Refinery29 this week. It's the perfect (quickie) spring dinner. Feeling extra lazy? Swap fresh asparagus for frozen spears—thaw ‘em by stirring into the risotto before the final 5 minutes of cooking. Hope you enjoy! xo


EASIEST EVER CHEESY ASPARAGUS RISOTTO
SERVES: 2 (or 1 with leftovers!)

1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 cup Arborio rice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 cups hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus lots more for serving
Freshly ground pepper, for topping

1. Cut the tips off the asparagus; transfer to a large microwave-safe bowl. Slice the stalks into rounds; transfer to the same bowl. Add 1 tablespoon water, cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on High 2 minutes or until tender. Drain and pat dry on a paper towel–lined plate.

2. To the same bowl, add the rice and olive oil and stir until coated; microwave 1 minute. Stir in the broth, hot water and salt. Microwave for about 15 minutes, stirring twice, or until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

3. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Stir in the asparagus, lemon zest and Parmesan. Top with pepper and more Parmesan cheese, if desired. 
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Funfetti Easter Bread—The Most Epic 4 Ingredient Recipe Ever!



Some years my family gets to celebrate two Easters—one "regular" and one Greek—and some lucky years they fall on the same day. This is a fabulous combo year, so I set out to create an extra-tasty twist on our classic tsoureki (brioche-like bread studded with red eggs) for the occasion. I present to you: Funfetti Easter Bread—EEEKS! I know, me too!!!



Listen, I'm a carb-lover no matter what but this 4-ingredient recipe is special. The credit goes entirely to Confetti Cake Mix, which I dust on store-bought pizza dough two different times for mega fun flavor. I mean, who wouldn't love birthday cake–flavored bread!?






I'm sharing this recipe with my Good Housekeeping framily today—fingers crossed they like it. Easter bread is a fairly common tradition; there's the Greek version (duh), Italian version, Dutch version, Polish version...which means that Funfetti Easter Bread is likely engrained somewhere in your DNA and you should totally give it a try!



PS. Check out the How-To Video for this recipe on my YouTube channel or snag a bunch more info on the Good Housekeeping blog.

Kola pascha, lovies! xox



FUNFETTI EASTER BASKET BREAD
MAKES: 10 to 12

2 (14-oz.) rolls store-bought pizza dough
1 cup Confetti Cake Mix
10 hard-cooked eggs, plus 1 lightly beaten egg for brushing
Multicolored nonpareilles, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
2. Unroll pizza dough on cutting board; cut into 1-in. strips with sharp knife.
3. For each wreath, dust 2 strips dough with some cake mix. Pinch tops together and gently twist into 1 rope; pinch ends together to make circle. Transfer to prepared cookie sheet.
4. Lightly brush wreaths with beaten egg. Sprinkle with more cake mix and nonpareilles.
5. Gently tap one side of each hard-cooked egg (continue to full recipe...)


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Miniature Carrot Pudding Pies—Modern Easter Dessert Idea!

For a festival gal like myself, my Easter routine is surprisingly simple. I guess something always felt a little "sacrileg" about hootenanny on this particular holiday.



Well! Fingers crossed I'm spared a scolding, this year I'm aiming to host an egg decorating party with lots of champagne, glitter bar and these Miniature Carrot Pudding Pies—my (tasty) contribution to Freutcake today!






We've chatted before about my most favorite secret ingredient ever: Melted ice cream! It's magical in so many ways. Here, the melted ice cream takes the place of your custardy pudding base. 
Since ice cream is basically frozen custard (duh), it already has everything you need: milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs. This multipurpose item is what allowed me to keep this chic lil' recipe to my 5-ingredient cap. Huzzah to that!


To read more about these Mini Carrot Pudding Pies (or to just pop by one of my absolutely favorite blogs!) head over to Freutcake. You can snag the recipe there, below, OR  on my YouTube channel via a short how-to video—ice cream blooper, regretfully included! xox

MINI CARROT PUDDING PIES


MINI CARROT PUDDING PIES
MAKES: 12

2 (14-ounce) containers good-quality vanilla ice cream

1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded

1 (14-ounce) box refrigerated pie dough rolls (2 rolls)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

PANTRY STAPLE: Kosher salt

TOPPING IDEA: Sweetened, whipped cream

1. Heat the ice cream in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in the carrots and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, unroll the pie dough rolls and cut into 3-inch circles; collect and reroll scraps, cut out into more circles. Gently press dough circles into an ungreased 12-cup muffin pan; line each with parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden. Let cool in the pan slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment and pie weights.

3. Pour the ice cream mixture into a clean saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on the carrot solids with a spatula to release all of the liquid; transfer 3 tablespoons liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Gradually whisk cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining liquid and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until pudding coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the butter until melted.

4. Divide the pudding among the prepared tart shells. Transfer to a serving platter, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming), and refrigerate at least 3 hours or until cold and firm. Top with whipped cream, if desired!



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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Easter Idea: My (Totally Edible) Fruity Pebbles Easter Basket—OMG!



Eeeks! I'm so darn excited to share this edible DIY project with you. I woke up yesterday with a crazy idea: I should totally make an edible Easter basket out of Fruity Pebbles and marshmallows—it would be the best thing ever!


Luckily the lovely ladies on the Good Housekeeping web team gave me the go ahead and I whipped up this delicious cereal cradle for all of my Peeps, bunnies and jelly beans to live in. 
If you'd like to make it super sturdy (for sitting out all morning while your littles search for it), I'd recommend following the alternative procedure in Step 4. Guys! This is SO easy and so super impressive. I hope you give it a try...



EDIBLE CEREAL TREAT EASTER BASKET
MAKES: 1 basket

Nonstick cooking spray
6 Tbsp. salted butter
2 (10-oz.) bags marshmallows
2 (11-oz.) boxes Fruity Pebbles cereal
Assorted candy, for filling


1. Line 3-qt. or similar saucepan with aluminum foil; coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In lg. saucepot over med. heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows and cook, stirring, 2 min. or until melted. Remove saucepot from heat; fold in cereal until evenly coated.
3. Spray hands with cooking spray. A little bit at a time, press and mold all but 2 c. cereal mixture in bottom and up side of prepared saucepan to make 1-in.-thick basket base; freeze in saucepan until firm.
4. Press and hold remaining 2 c. cereal mixture into rounded handle, at least 1-in.thick and freeze until firm. (Alternative procedure: Mold remaining cereal mixture and 1-ft. craft wire or straightened coat hanger, trimmed; bend and freeze.)
5. Use foil to lift out basket base; remove foil and discard. Insert 4 wooden skewers, vertically, into basket wall where you’d like handle to attach (2 on each side).
6. Press skewers through handle ends to secure; mold and smooth cereal mixture together where base and handle meet. Use other skewers to support handle and freeze again until very hard, about 1 hour (continue to full recipe...)


What do you think!? Would you try your hand at this edible DIY project? I'd love to know! xo Erin


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