November 22, 2015

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin and 5 in 5 For Every Season Cookbook Review

Life is so busy, who couldn't use a few super simple recipes to have on hand?

I have to admit, I was thinking this book was going to be a little different than it is.  I was thinking each recipe was going to have 5 ingredients total and when I flipped through the pages, I saw that most recipes had more than 5 ingredients.  Then, I actually read the book and discovered what "5 in 5" meant.

5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes of Heat

I also discovered this is a "follow-up" book to the original Michael Symon's 5 in 5 cookbook.  All of the 165 recipes in this new book are designed to get you in and out of the kitchen super fast.  The recipes are broken up into five categories - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Holidays.  Not every recipe has a picture, but there are plenty of gorgeous pics in this book.  The recipes are so unique and everything is so fresh.  I haven't tried a lot of the ingredients, like celery root, parsnips, couscous and swiss chard, but with recipes as simple as these, I'm totally willing to try some new things.

This book is full of sides and main dishes and there are a only a few drink recipes and Summer fruit desserts.  

Overall, if you want a cookbook full of quick and easy recipes and if you want to try new dishes that you have probably never had before, then this book would be a great choice.

Plus . . . how do you not just love Michael Symon???  He seems like the most genuine nicest person and his laugh is contagious, right!!
Some of the recipes I can't wait to try are:
Pork with Broccoli and Cashews
Couscous with Peas, Asparagus & Parmesan
Leftover Ham Frittata with Gruyere
Autumn Panzanella

Since broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, of course I was going to try this Cheesy Broccoli Gratin.

This broccoli had SO MUCH FLAVOR and it was SO GOOD.  I usually can eat a giant serving of broccoli, but this recipe is a little rich thanks to that yummy cream and all that Gruyere cheese, so a small serving was plenty.
This was the first time I had purchased Gruyere cheese and I don't know if all Gruyere is smokey or if I just bough smokey Gruyere, but I loved it!!  That smokey flavor was outstanding and I can now see myself using this cheese is so many other dishes.  

This is definitely a dish I see myself making again.  It would be a really great side-dish for Thanksgiving.  

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin

3 Tbl. olive oil
6 c. fresh broccoli florets
kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 c. grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 c. thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs, toasted

Heat olive oil a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the broccoli and a good pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.  

Reduce the heat to medium, add the cream and nutmeg and cook until the cream reduces slightly and the broccoli is cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Add the Gruyere and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat, stir in the scallions, top with the Panko and serve.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.  

Jenn's Notes: Rather than adding toasted bread crumbs, I topped my dish with un-toasted bread crumbs and placed my pan under the broiler to toast.

I received a copy of this cookbook from Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

November 15, 2015

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

Umm . . . so in case you didn't notice, Thanksgiving is next week.  Yes, NEXT WEEK.  Oh my gosh, where does the time go???

If you haven't decided which pies you will be making this year, this chocolate banana cream pie is absolutely delicious.  The base chocolate recipe is one I have been using for a few years and it's rich and creamy and divine.  It's super simple to make.  No need to be intimidated by making a cream pie, follow the directions and you will have a fabulous pie.  Bananas and chocolate are a perfect pair, so it only seemed natural to combine them into one amazing pie :)

This really does need the full four hours to set up.  I thought it seemed firm enough at two hours, but when I cut into it, it wasn't very pretty.  So, I tried again at four hours and it was just right.

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 c. sugar
5 Tbl. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. half-and-half
3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbl. unsalted butter
1-2 bananas, sliced
1 (9-inch) Deep Dish Pie Crust, baked and cooled

For Serving:
whipped cream
mini chocolate chips
Bake pie crust according to package directions; set aside and cool completely.  In a 3-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Slowly whisk in the milk and half-and-half.  Add the chocolate chips.  Heat over medium heat until chocolate is melted and mixture thickens, stirring constantly. You know it is thick enough if it coats the back of a wooden spoon and if you run the back of another spoon through it, the line stays and doesn't run back together.  

Gradually add about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, while whisking constantly.  Then, pour egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.  Whisk and continue cooking for another two minutes.  

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.  Stir until butter is melted.  Slice bananas and place into the bottom of the prepared pie crust and pour chocolate mixture over the top.  Depending on how many bananas you use, you might have a little too much chocolate filling for the pie crust.  I just pour the extra into a bowl and enjoy that on its own. 

Cover pie with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pie and refrigerate until set, around 4 hours.  Serve with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.  

Jenn's Notes: This really does need the full four hours to set up if you want a nice clean slice that holds its shape.   

Base chocolate recipe adapted from: The Lion House

November 11, 2015

Banana Pudding Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache

This banana cake tastes like it's made from scratch, but it's actually an easy shortcut recipe.  Life is about to get even busier this Holiday season and it's great to have a few shortcut recipes on hand.

I've made so many different versions of cake mix bundt cakes.  Most of the time I add sour cream, but for this cake, I thought why not sub the sour cream with fresh mashed bananas?  That way, the cake will have an amazing fresh banana flavor and it will still add just as much moisture as the sour cream.

My family loves this cake.  It's a very very moist cake.  I was actually planning to reduce the water in the recipe, but my family loved it so much the way it was, I left it and still make my original version.  If you don't want an extremely moist cake, try reducing the water to 3/4 cup.  White chocolate is the perfect combo with the sweet banana cake.  The ganache is silky smooth and rich and thick and creamy.  You will want to eat this ganache by the spoonful.  This cake will disappear in no time.  I do recommend using a cake mix that doesn't already have pudding added.  It should say on the front of the box.

You might also like:

Banana Pudding Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant banana cream pudding
1 c. mashed bananas (about 2-3 bananas)
4 eggs
1 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
sliced almonds, for garnish, opt.

White Chocolate Ganache
1 c. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the Cake: Combine dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, mashed bananas, eggs, water, oil and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk together until completely smooth and well combined.  Pour into a very well greased and floured large bundt pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Then, invert to a wire rack and cool completely.  When cake is completely cool, make the ganache.

For the White Chocolate Ganache: Place white chocolate chips in a small bowl; set aside.  In a separate small bowl, microwave heavy cream for 20-30 seconds or until it starts to bubble.  Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Stir together until chips are melted and mixture is silky smooth.  If the chocolate chips aren't completely melted, microwave the mixture for 15 seconds at a time until chips are melted.  Pour ganache over cooled cake and garnish with sliced almonds, if desired.  Allow glaze to set, slice and serve.

Jenn's Notes: I recommend using a yellow cake mix that does not already have pudding added.  I always grease my bundt pans with shortening and then coat with flour.  I have only used Guittard white chocolate chips for my ganache.

Linked up at The Weekend Potluck!

November 8, 2015

No-Bake Pumpkin Turtle Pie

This is a perfect no-fail pie recipe.  You can not mess this up.  No baking is required and all you do is mix a few ingredients together and layer everything on top of each other.

This pie is amazing.  The flavor is soooooooo GOOD!!!!    

Chocolate Pie Crust, Gooey Caramel, Crunchy Pecans, Creamy Pumpkin Filling, Whipped Topping and Mini Chocolate Chips make up this tall stunning pie that holds its shape.
I'm not a big fan of regular pumpkin pie, but this version is fantastic.  It has a light pumpkin flavor that is not overpowering and the texture is thick and creamy.  

It doesn't leave you feeling weighed down after a big slice, so it's a perfect option to have after a big Thanksgiving dinner.  
You will probably find yourself sneaking to the fridge over and over again to sneak a few bites of this pie.  

Switch things up this holiday season and impress your guests with this fabulous Pumpkin Turtle Pie.  All I know is if I am ever asked to bring pumpkin pie, this is what they will get.  It's incredible.    
You might also like:
No-Bake Pumpkin Turtle Pie
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 store-bought chocolate pie crust
1/3 c. caramel ice cream topping, plus more for serving
1/2 c. chopped pecans, divided
2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
1 c. milk
3/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, scant
1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip, thawed
2 - 3 Tbl. mini chocolate chips

Pour 1/3 cup of caramel topping into the bottom of the pie crust.  Top with chopped pecans, reserving a little for garnish.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix, milk, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined.  Gently fold in around 1 1/2 cups of the thawed whipped topping.  Pour into pie crust and spread out evenly.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  When ready to serve, top with remaining whipped topping and garnish with some chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips.  Serve with an additional drizzle of caramel, if desired.

Jenn's Notes: Make sure you use instant pudding.  I used 1% milk.

Slightly adapted from: Kraft

Linked up at The Weekend Potluck!