Monday, September 17, 2012

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce and Other Things

We leave for Alabama tomorrow morning to celebrate Grandmother's 90th birthday. So while I am making crockpot candy (sorry family secret recipe) I am also making dinner for myself. Tonight, since Travis is working, I am making a PW recipe. Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce. I started by getting the crockpot started and music on the stereo (Kelsi was such the mixed CD maker in high school).

Two pots going at once. Note, double batches in one do not work.

Now on to dinner! Needed ingredients: basil, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, heavy cream, butter (duh! this is PW), and pasta. This recipe calls for pine nuts and tomatoes, two things I am not a huge fan of so I just left them out. PW wasn't specific on the kind of pasta so I went with rotelle because it look fun. While my water boiled I started making the pesto sauce. In the food processor I was supposed to mix 3/4 cup of fresh basil leaves. Ha. Not something I keep around so I used dried. Helpful tip, 1 tsp dried = 3 tsp fresh so I needed 6 tsp. Also 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (which I have) and 2 garlic cloves (which I don't). Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens I know that 1 clove of garlic is equal to 1/8 tsp of garlic powder. Mix while drizzling 1/3 cup of olive oil. My food processor doesn't let me drizzle so I added it all at once. I put the pasta in the water before I hit the mix button. I did use 16 oz not 12oz of pasta because I won't use the 4oz later.

After mixing.
Before mixing.

Heat 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 tbsp butter in a skillet. Only 1/2 cup means I have half a carton of heavy cream left. What to do with it? Whipped Cream? Any way, melt the butter and heat the cream in the skillet. Then add the pesto and let it simmer. My noodles are done by now.

After the pesto simmers, mix in the pasta.

Pretty good pasta. Needed more sauce but I did add extra noodles. The real test is how the left overs work out. We shall see. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites

So this month for the cooking club I got to pick. So of course I found something that involves two of my favorite things, brownies and mints. Here is the recipe from the Pioneer Woman for Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites.
Couldn't find bittersweet chocolate in the squares,
but I did find these Andes pieces.
I love the Baker's squares because they are already in 1 oz wrapped squares and they are easy to break in half. Unfortuntaly my Meijer didn't have any of the Baker's Bittersweet in stock so I had to go for the candy bar. I did find Andes baking chips and one Andes mint is 0.17oz.

First I melted the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave. Normally I would do this over the stove but it was late and PW said to. I then added about an oz of chocolate (just under the 50ml line on my measuring cup).
Mmm, chocolate minty goodness.

Then I mixed my slightly melted butter (I had to soften it in the microwave) and sugar in my Kitchen Aid. What would I do without my Kitchen Aid? Probably cry. Eggs were next and then scraping the sides. I always suggest scraping the sides after mixing butter and sugar. It just doesn't like to play well with others. Then I got to drizzle in the melted chocolate.

Best present ever! Thanks Travis.
Last was flour and mint extract to make the mixture into batter. It smells so good. Let me just take a moment to explain my love of mint. It started when I was very little (no more then two) with my slightly sadistic father and York Peppermint Patties. Dad would hold one in front of me, just out of reach, and would make me say Peppermint Patty perfectly before he would give it to me. I can say it perfectly now, and I have been addicted to mint ever since. (See my many mint varieties of Chapstick.) Just so you don't think my dad picked on me, he taught my brother to eat Cheerios off the floor and bark like I dog. I am not kidding, we have it on tape. Its funny.

PW said 18 and I probably had enough for 19
 but was not going to dirty another tin.
While that baked I was once again serenaded by the casino five miles away. At least it was good. Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy. A black country raper. Ironic? I also made the chocolate to dip the tops in. PW said 25 mints, I did about 2/3 cup. I didn't really chop the chocolate into fine pieces. I am not allowed to use knives without supervision. I am a klutz and I know it.

They may have ended up a little on the big side. Next time I will use all four tins and put a little less into each spot. Also I ran out of the chocolate to cover the last four. Not sure if this was a size issue or not enough chocolate. The chopped Andes were easy to sprinkle on top.
Mmmm. Chocolately goodness with minty breath after. I like it. We will just have to see if anyone else does.