RECIPE: Chocolate Chip Fritters

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Saturday is here! Saturday is here! Sleep-in time, luxurious unrushed coffee time, blogging time, reading time. And time to make special breakfasts! One of my favorite treats to make are fritters. This is not the healthiest of options, but once in a while it's a nice indulgence for the family. They are also pretty easy.

These chocolate chip fritters get a nice chocolate crust as they fry, because some of the chips melt and fry up in the oil. The chocolate residue clings to the sides of the fritters as they cook up. MMMMM. My only advice is to try and wait long enough for them to cool down enough to eat them up without burning your mouth! It's hard to wait.


Chocolate Chip Fritters

Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

canola oil for frying
1 cup granulated sugar in a bowl

Directions:

In a deep fryer or a deep pan, heat up some canola oil to about 1 1/2 " high. Heat the oil to about 175˚, and hold it at that temperature. Line a plate with a paper towel for draining the fritters and put it near where you will be frying.


In another small bowl whisk the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Set aside.




In a large bowl whisk the melted butter with the sugar. Then whisk the eggs, one at a time. Then add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk again. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined. Finally fold in the chocolate chips.




With a large tablespoon drop dollops of dough, a few at a time, into the hot oil. Fry fritters until all sides are lightly golden and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Once cool enough to handle, roll the fritters in the bowl of sugar until coated, and serve warm.


RECIPE: Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

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Sometimes eating healthy and clean needs to take a break. Sometimes you want to shove your face in a giant bowl of cheesy goodness and gluten heaven. That, my friends, calls for lasagna.

This lasagna recipe calls for making a quick sauce on the stove with some sausage. You can make this ahead of time and have it ready to go for assembling. I went with turkey sausage to TRY and keep it a little healthier. I also did a short cut with the spinach by buying a frozen bag of creamed spinach and cooking that up, then cooling it down before adding to the cheese mixture. It gave the spinach great flavor with very little labor (I secretly hate squeezing water out of chopped spinach). Also, find the no boil lasagna pasta at the store, which also cuts down on time.

My daughter, who is gluten free 70% of the year, had 3 helpings. Her tummy paid for it later, but she told me it was worth it.

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients

Sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1 lb. fresh mild turkey Italian sausage
2 Tbsp. chopped basil
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth

Filling
1 lb. part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped parsley)
1 10 oz. bag frozen creamed spinach, cooked according to package directions then cooled down a bit
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Assemble

1 8-9 oz. box no boil lasagna noodles
12 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil spray for coating the foil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Spray a 13 x 9 pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.


  
Make the sauce:
In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until beginning to sweat, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until softened. Cut the sausage out of their casings and add to the pan. Cook until no longer pink, using the back of a spoon to break up and crumble the sausage. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Add the tomatoes and herbs and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, and cook the sauce over medium low heat for about 45 minutes. Set aside when done, but keep warm for assembling.





Now make the filling:
Mix the ricotta with the cooled cream of spinach and the beaten egg. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix well.



Assemble:
Ladle a nice layer of sauce along the bottom of the pan. Add three layers of noodles on top. Noodles will expand when the cook.
Spoon and spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Next sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese then ladle the sauce to cover. Add another layer of noodles. Then layer 1/3 ricotta, 1/3 mozzarella and sauce. One last time, layer noodles, last of the ricotta, the mozzarella and sauce. Then layer one final top of noodles. Ladle the sauce to cover, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and any extra mozzarella you have. Spray some tin foil down with olive oil and with the oil side down, cover the lasagna tightly.


Bake at the center of the oven for about 20 minutes. Uncover, turn the lasagna and cook for another 30 minutes. Let lasagna rest for 15 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.

RECIPE: Orange Scented Dried Cherry Breakfast Cake

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I'm slowly working through a giant CostCo size bag of dried cherries that my daughter gave a thumbs down on for her lunches. So I have been getting creative in the kitchen with them. This brunch or breakfast cake came out perfectly! If you really want to get creative, reconstitute the cherries with some liquor-like rum or kirsch. As this was a "girl's weekend" with my daughter, I kept it an "all ages" cake with just boiling water.

Girl's weekend with my daughter was that much sweeter with this breakfast cake-and a marathon of Studio Ghibli movies didn't hurt either! Put this on your next brunch buffet menu for your sweet offering. It makes a great presentation and tastes wonderful.


Orange Scented Dried Cherry Breakfast Cake

Ingredients

Cherries:
1 1/2 cups dried cherries
hot boiling water to cover
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. dried orange peel granules (or 1 Tbsp. fresh orange zest)
dash of salt

Batter:
1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 5.3 oz. container Chobani Blood Orange Geek yogurt
3-4 Tbsp. reserved cherry water
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Drizzle:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
1 Tbsp. water (or more)

Directions


The night before baking the cake, pour boiling water over the dried cherries in a bowl. Cover the top with a small plate and let sit out for a couple hours. Move the covered bowl into the refrigerator to sit overnight.




The next morning, pull out the cherries and drain, reserving the water. Roughly chop with kitchen shears or a knife. Toss with 1 tablespoon of sugar, dash of salt and the orange granules or orange zest. Let macerate while making the batter.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray a springform pan liberally with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.


In a small bowl whisk the flour with baking powder and salt with a fork. Set aside.




In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar and whip until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating until fluffy and creamy. Add the yogurt and mix well. 


Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cherry water, until just combined. Fold in the cherry mixture until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.


Bake in the middle of the oven for about 35-45 minutes-or until toothpick at the center comes out clean and top is evenly golden. Let cool for 15 minutes, then unclip the sides to let the cake cool completely.
 

Mix the powdered sugar with the maraschino cherry juice and water until of drizzling consistency. Using a fork, drizzle the top of the cake, and let it set. Serve.





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