Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry Enchantment

While getting ready to ring in the New Year, Allison and I developed a twist on the traditional champagne toast. For those of our fans who enjoy a sweeter variety of drinks, this beverage will surely be well received. Here's to all our friends of old and new!

Happy New Year!
Esra and Allison

Cranberry Enchantment

1 cup chilled champagne
3 ounces ginger ale
1.5 ounces cranberry juice (1 shot)
1 tsp grenadine
splash of lime juice

In your favorite festive glass, add champagne, ginger ale, cranberry juice, grenadine, and lime juice. Stir and serve.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Asian Turkey Meatballs

After enjoying the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese recipe that Allison posted before, I noticed that I had some leftover panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs). I was not exactly sure what to cook for dinner tonight so I decided to get creative with the leftover bread crumbs. Here is a lean recipe that everyone is sure to love.


Asian Turkey Meatballs
3 Gals and a Kitchen

½ c panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)
¼ c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP crushed red pepper
1 TBSP oregano
1 TBSP sesame seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 lb lean ground turkey
2 TBSP soy sauce

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together bread crumbs, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, sesame seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the turkey and soy sauce and mix until combined. Roll the meat mixture into 1½-inch balls.

Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat
to medium-low; let cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Serve over thin pasta (i.e. Asian rice noodles). To complete your meal, add peanuts and chopped green onions on top.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

'Tis the season for cookie exchanges.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 c butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ c packed brown sugar
¾ c sugar
1 c peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 ¼ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until it appears whipped and creamy. Slowly add the eggs and continue to mix well until blended.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture into the sugar mixture above and mix for 2 minutes until no flour is visible.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls (about 2 TB thick) onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them onto wire racks.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, spread jam onto one cookie and cover with another cookie.

**I recommend using a low sugar jam since the cookies are already sweet.**

Friday, December 24, 2010

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies

I am responsible for bringing dessert to Christmas dinner this year. My boyfriend’s family loves cheesecake and I love anything chocolate. I decided to try to combine both of our favorites to help make this holiday that much more joyous.

Happy Holidays!

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies
3 Gals and a Kitchen

1 package brownie mix
3 egg whites
1 c water
1 c applesauce
1 package cream cheese
½ c sugar
1 c flour
½ tsp vanilla extract

Graham Cracker Crust
2 c graham cracker crumbs
½ c melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the baking pan and add melted butter. Mix well and press over the entire bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix brownie mix, 2 egg whites, ½ c water, and applesauce until the mixture is smooth. Pour brownie mixture on top of the cooked graham cracker crust. Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, ½ c water, and vanilla extract until well blended. Spoon cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter. Cut through the batter with a knife several times for a marble effect.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Serve with cool whip and cherries.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Triple Threat Sugar Cookies

This is for all of our east coast fans who are about to endure quite a bit of snow. Let’s keep in the winter spirit by baking a batch of sugar cookies.


Triple Threat Sugar Cookies
3 Gals and a Kitchen

½ c butter (1 stick)
½ c white sugar
¾ confectioners sugar
¼ c light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degree.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and the sugars until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cream of tartar, cinnamon and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until just barely golden. Allow cookies to cool for a couple minutes before moving them to the wire racks to finish cooling.

After the cookies have cooled completely you may begin to ice and decorate the cookies as you wish.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lindsey's Poinsettia Mimosas

Lindsey served these Poinsettias with the Sundried Tomato and Pesto Pinwheels and our family loved them.   As Mom says, she "gets an A+ on taste AND presentation!"  xoxo, Alison J.
1 orange
1 jar Marachino cherries
3 cups cranberry juice, chilled
1/4 cup Triple Sec or Orange Juice (for non-alcoholic bev)
2 tablespoons Marachino cherry juice
1 bottle of champagne or sparkling cider (for non-alcoholic bev)

Use a veggie peeler to thinly peel orange.  This will give you a pretty orange peel twist.  We did not have peeler, so we had to improvise and cut the orange into segments.  Place the twist on the rim of your champagne flute and drop a cherry in the bottom.
In glass pitcher, stir together cranberry juice, Triple Sec and Marachino cherry juice.
Pour about 1/4 cup cranberry mixture into each glass and top off with 1/4 cup champagne, filling nearly to the top.
Yields: 12 to 14 (4 oz.) servings

A Christmas Appetizer!

If you're looking for a festive holiday appetizer, you have to try these sundried tomato and pesto pinwheels!  They're pretty perfect with a cocktail.  Lindsey's recipe to follow!
Alison J.

1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
1 jar of Classico pesto (with marinara sauces in grocery store)
1 8 oz. jar of sundried tomatoes - packed in oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350.  Set puff pastry out on your counter to thaw while you're working on the tomatoes.  Drain the oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes in a skillet over med-high heat.  Chop tomatoes and set aside.  Add garlic to hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Stir and add thyme and let crackle in the oil for about 10 seconds.  Add balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Pour oil over sundried tomatoes and stir to coat.

Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray, or use a Silpat - silicone baking sheet (my favorite thing in the kitchen).  By this time your pastry should be malleable.  Unfold into 3 sections and cut each sheet into 9 squares.  Using a small knife, make an inch cut from each corner towards the center, stopping 1-inch from the center.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of pesto in the center of the square.  
To make the pinwheel, lift one half of a corner and fold it in towards the pesto.  Do the same thing with every other point.  Finally, push your finger down on all four points into the center of the square so that they won't pop up while in the oven.

Spoon about a teaspoon of the tomato mixture in the middle of your cute little pinwheel.  I top off the pinwheels with a sprinkle of salt.

Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve warm!

Credit goes to Michael Chiarello!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Split Cake

Let’s get into the holiday spirit. Here are just a few of my favorite things…

Ho ho ho,

Peanut Butter Banana Split Cake
Adapted from Duncan Hines

1 pkg Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake Mix
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup creamy peanut
2 bananas
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped walnuts

2 to 3 bananas
Chocolate Syrup
1 (8 oz) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
colored sprinkles
Maraschino cherries with stems

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.

Combine cake mix, eggs, water, flour, oil, and peanut butter in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in bananas, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Pour into pan.

Bake at 350°F for 30 to 32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.