Chocolate Rabbits & Pastels

What thoughts and images come to your mind when you think of Easter? For me, it’s gotta be chocolate, rabbits, and pastel colors. Everything is colorful, fresh, and detailed. I love the lightheartedness and new-beginnings atmosphere that follows the start of spring. Easter-time holds many memories for me.

It was a tradition in my family for my parents to hide the baskets somewhere in the house on Easter morning. Since I was one of the youngest in the group and accustomed to being endlessly yet lovingly teased, my basket was always hid in “extreme” and hard-to-find locations. I remember finding it one year behind the basketball hoop on the roof and another year underneath the garbage bag in the kitchen trash can. Both excellent hiding places. I give you props Mom and Dad.

This year, I was feeling very much in the Easter spirit. I set out to make cutesy Easter treats and found several ideas online. Both were extremely easy to make and taste A-MAZE-ZA-ZING. Even though Easter was yesterday, you should still try one of these delicious treats!

Bird’s Nest Macaroons

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • 1 c. + 2 tbsp. shredded coconut
  • Jordan Almonds
  • 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan.
  2. Combine egg white, honey, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Stir thoroughly. Slowly add in coconut until easily moistened.
  3. Separate coconut mixture into the mini muffin pan, about a tbsp = 1 nest.
  4. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the coconut mixture (so the middle is hollow and resembles a nest).
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  6. Let pan cool and then remove nests from oven using a knife (if nest breaks it’s okay; it will make them look more realistic).
  7. Melt chocolate chips. Then add just enough chocolate to the center of macaroons. This will work as a glue to hold the Jordan Almonds in place.
  8. Place 3 eggs per nest. Transfer nests to freezer for about 5 minutes to secure the position.
This recipe was delicious, easy-to-make and kid-friendly. I ended up snacking on too many of the Jordan Almonds and completely spoiled my dinner!
BLT Deviled Eggs
Ingredients:
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Hard-boil and peel the eggs.
  2. Halve the eggs lengthwise.
  3. Remove yolks and transfer them to separate bowl.
  4. Mash yolks and stir in mayo, crumbled bacon bits, diced tomatoes and parsley.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Dye eggs (optional).
  7. Fill the egg white evenly with yolk mixture and garnish with extra bacon.

The final product was so fun to see because of the neon colors I dyed the egg whites. I have always loved deviled eggs but the bacon, tomatoes, and parsley really take it to a whole new level!

TELL US! What comes to mind when you think of Easter? What’s on the menu for your Easter meals?

 

 

 

 

Hidden Recipes

Delicious Recipe Right in Your Kitchen

By Chefadoo‘s Courtney Wolf

Now I love to find new and unique recipes online, search for the ingredients at the store, and cook for my friends and family. But sometimes, I don’t think that far ahead. The other day when I was finishing up my shopping at the grocery store so I hurriedly began to page through recipes on my smartphone. Unfortunately, my phone powered off a few minutes later because of too low of battery. Mad at myself that I didn’t charge my phone the night before, I gave up the search and went home. Later than night, I remembered a lot of boxed foods and soups have recipes written directly on them. Luckily for us, brands like Campbell’s and Swanson’s did the thinking for us. I raided my cupboards and found quite of few recipes to choose from. So I tied my apron, put on my chef hat, and opened a box of Minute Rice!

Zesty Chicken and Rice Bake

What you’ll need:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (I used chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks (I used peaches)
  • 2 cups of rice, uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups of Chicken Stock
  • 3 Green Onions sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat a large skillet, add oil, and brown chicken. Add mushrooms and sauté for additional minute. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha, and pineapple chunks with juice. Simmer for 2 minutes. Spread uncooked rice on the baking pan and top with the chicken, pineapple, mushroom sauce mixture. Add chicken stock. Cover and bake for 15 minutes or until chicken and rice is thoroughly cooked. Garnish with green onions.

 

The Sriracha gave this dish a spicy kick that was balanced out with the sweet taste of the peaches I used. Now adding fruit to a dinner recipe may sound scary to some of you, but TRY it! The combination of flavors and heat makes this dish unique and tasty. Also, cooking the rice in the oven with chicken stock, gives the whole dish an extra boost of intense flavor. Who would have thought hidden box recipes could taste so good???

How to cook great food from a box

TELL US! Ever try out a hidden recipe on the back of a box or can? How did it turn out?

 

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni

The other day, I found a recipe in my SELF magazine that looked delicious and easy-to-make. Now I rarely cook, but I thought a recipe with only a few ingredients was something I could manage. I couldn’t find kalamata olives at the store so I used regular black olives and it still tasted fantastic. It took me about a half hour to make the tasty dish and it left me wanting more. I highly recommend that you pick up these ingredients the next time you are at the grocery store and try it out for yourself!

What you’ll need:

  1. 8 oz rigatoni
  2. 1 container (11oz) cherry tomatoes
  3. 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  4. 1/3 lb Italian style pork sausage. Casing removed, torn into 1 inch pieces (For more spice, try finding extra hot Italian sausage and add red pepper flakes)
  5. 4 garlic cloves chopped
  6. ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
  7. ¼ cup loosely packed parsley, chopped (optional)

 

The how to:

  •  Heat oven to 400
  • Cook pasta as directed on package until al dente, about 8 minutes
  • Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water
  • Place tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp oil, season with salt and black pepper.
  • Toss tomatoes with our hands to coat. Roast tomatoes until skins begin to wrinkle and split (about 8-10 minutes).
  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat, 1 minute. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil. Cook sausage, stirring, until golden, about 4 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and tomatoes; stir to combine. Cook until garlic turns brown, about 1 minute.
  • Add reserved cooking water; stir.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add olives and pasta. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 1 minute.
  • Add parsley, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

The recipe makes about 4 but my boyfriend and I ate the whole thing because it was so yummy. There are 463 calories per serving, 21 g fat (6 g saturated), 53 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 16 g protein. The sausage makes the dish rich and spicy and the olives add a perfect amount of saltiness. There’s a balanced taste in every bite!