Welcome to my recipe/cooking blog. I'll try to be as brief as possible on most of my posts. I wanted to start a blog a while back that simply gave a little insight on some of the recipes that I've found that were unique that I've tried. There are so many unique things out in the world and so much to explore. I always welcome comments about new and exciting things that people have tried. Please let me know. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roasted Sweet Potato and Zucchini Salad Cups

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 cups
(serving size: 2 filled wonton cups = 6 servings)

12  wonton wrappers (24, if using small wrappers)
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup orzo, uncooked
1 clove garlic, whole
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup green onion stalks, finely chopped
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, peeled, and sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
30 snow peas, snapped to 1/2 inch pieces
6 Tbs. lime juice (6 limes)
Zest from 1 lime, grated
1 tsp. salt
1tsp. pepper
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled or fresh mozarella, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Muffin pans coated with non-stick cooking spray. Fit 1 wonton wrapper into each of 12 mini muffin cups, pressing the wrappers into sides of cups. (If using small wrappers, use 2 per muffin cup) Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Keep wontons in muffin cups.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large cookie sheet or shallow baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoon olive oil, and spread in one layer on baking sheet. Spray a small cookie sheet or shallow baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and spread in one layer on baking sheet. Place both pans in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping vegetables over once during cooking time, until the potatoes are golden brown and soft. Remove both pans from the oven and set aside.

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water with garlic. Cook until orzo is tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Remove garlic. Transfer pasta to large bowl and toss with 1 Tablespoon oil.

Place snow peas in microwave-safe small bowl with 2 teaspoons water. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes in microwave. Snow peas should still be a little firm. Drain.

Combine scallions, bell pepper, lime juice and zest, salt, and pepper with cooked orzo. Toss. Add beans, snow peas, cheese, remaining olive oil and vinegar. Toss well. Fold in sweet potatoes and zucchini. Spoon approx. 2 tablespoons into wonton cups. Serve at room temperature.

Note: If preparing night before, store filling in refrigerator and cups, seperately, at room temperature.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Orange and Sweet Potato Whole Wheat Crepes with Spiced Whipped Topping

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Yields: 10-12 crepes

Crepe Ingredients:
4 large eggs
3 Tbs. butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-1/2 cups milk
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling Ingredients:
1-8 oz. pkg. neufchatel cheese 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1Tbs. orange zest, finely grated
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2-15oz. cans sweet potatoes in syrup, drained, any strings removed

Topping ingredients:
2 cups whipped topping
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbs. orange zest, finely grated
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Create crepes: In large mixing bowl, combine eggs and butter. Mix well. Whisk in cream, extract, sugar. Add flour then salt. Mix well with mixer on low-medium speed.

Heat a lightly greased nonstick medium-sized skillet; pour 1/4 cup batter into center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook for about 1 minute or until bottom is lightly browned. Turn and cook on other side 15-20 seconds longer. Transfer to a platter, placing wax paper sheets in between each crepe to prevent sticking. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying skillet several more times with spray. 

Create filling: Beat together cheese and brown sugar with mixer until smooth. Mix in next 5 ingredients. Mix in sweet potatoes until well blended. Set aside. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven at 300 degrees F. Spray 11x15-inch glass pan with non-stick cooking spray.

To assemble crepes, spoon approx. 1/3 cup sweet potato filling to center of each crepe. Roll up and place in baking pan. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until warm.

Create topping: Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg in small bowl. Mix well. Fold in whipped topping. Stir. 

Place crepes on plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Top with dollops of whipped topping mix and sprinkle orange zest and walnuts (optional) over crepes.

Suggestion: Decorate with orange wedges