I’m mostly a sandwich girl through and through but since I can’t have deli meats because I’m pregnant, that pretty much cuts out 90% of what I usually eat for lunch.  The other 10% may be leftovers or soup.  But since I discovered the deliciousness of creating your own salad dressings from scratch, salad is all that I could ever want. 

Caesar has earned the top spot of all salads for me.  I make this basic dressing and I literally lick my plate clean it’s that good.  I have a few Caesar dressings, but this one is the simplest and easiest to make.  I’ve been having this caesar dressing everyday now for lunch for at least the past few weeks.  I still crave a good ol’ fashioned sammie, but this one almost makes me forget that I can’t have ’em.

Basic Caesar Salad Dressing

makes enough for 2 servings (I go heavy on dressing…so you might be able to squeeze out more)

2 tbl. mayo
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tbl. lemon juice
1 tsp. dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients up to the extra-virgin olive oil.  Then, drizzle in the oil while whisking the dressing to combine.  You can increase/decrease the ingredients depending on your taste.  Toss with greens and sprinkle a generous handful of parmesan cheese on top of the salad. 

Note:  The parm on top is a must.  Plus, the salad is great on it’s own, but sometimes I’ll serve with croutons.

 

I’ve been on a serious cookie hunt lately, trying to find ones that will satisfy my deep hungering for pockets of buttery sweetness.  I stumbled on this recipe over at Cookin’ Canuck and decided to give it a try since I’ve NEVER had nutella before.  I’ve always wanted to try it but for some reason, nutella has alluded me….until now. 

To be honest, these tasted okay.  I appreciated the sugar cookie part and although I DO like the taste of nutella, I’m much more happy to eat it plain out of the jar.  I’m beginning to see that I may not be a “stuffed cookie” kind of fan.  But if you happen to be, then go for it. 

Nutella Stuffed Sugar Cookies


1/2 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sea salt

Using a 1 teaspoon measure, scoop out Nutella and place in small mounds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar with an electric mixer set on medium speed until the mixture is creamy and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract.

Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually beat in the flour mixture until it is just combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture a few times to make sure all of the flour mixture is incorporated.  At this point, place dough in freezer to harden slightly.  Once the dough is cool, place 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Use 2 tablespoons cookie dough for each cookie. Split the piece of dough in half and slightly flatten the bottom half.

Sprinkle 5 or 6 grains of sea salt on the flattened dough.  Lift the mounds of Nutella from the baking sheet and lay on the bottom half of cookie dough, on top of the salt. If the Nutella starts to soften, place back in the freezer for a few minutes.

Cover Nutella with the other piece of cookie dough. Seal the edges with your fingers. Roll the ball in the sugar to coat it and place it on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough and Nutella mounds, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, one sheet a time, rotating from front to back halfway through baking. They are done when the edges are set and beginning to brown, 10 to 13 minutes. The centers of the cookies should still be soft and puffy.

makes 20 cookies

I’m officially 6 months pregnant and my sweet tooth is still going strong.  My weekly dessert choice has become more important than ever as I feel that now is the time to indulge.  I don’t know when I will be able to eat dessert with such wild abandon again. I plan to take full advantage.

Cinnamon rolls were definitely on the menu last week and I certaintly overdid it.  I ate so many that I think it will be a long time before I have another cinnamon roll.  But that’s okay – it just means I was completely satisfied.  This recipe is an adaptation of  Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls.

Maple Frosted Cinnamon Rolls

 Makes 20 rolls

For the Dough:
2 c. milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
1 packet of yeast
4 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tbl. salt

 For the Filling:
1 c. melted butter
1/8 c. cinnamon
1 c. sugar

 For the Icing:
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
3 tbl. Melted butter
1/8 c. brewed coffee
dash of salt
1 tsp. maple extract 

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Do not allow the mixture to boil.  Set aside and cool to lukewarm.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit for 1 minute.  Add 4 cups of the flour.  Stir until just combined and cover with a kitchen towel.  Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.

 Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1/2 c. flour.  Stir thoroughly to combine.  At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or you may use right away.

 Preheat oven to 375.  To assemble the rolls, on a floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches.  To make filling, pour the butter over the surface of the dough and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the cinnamon and the sugar over the buttered dough.  

 Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you.  Don’t worry if the filling oozes out.  When you reach the end, pinch the edges together to create a seam.  Use a knife to make 1 1/2 inch slices.  Divide rolls and place half in 1 9 inch round cake pan lined with parchment and the other half in a separate 9 inch round cake pan.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes.  Bake for 13-17  minutes until golden brown.  

 To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, melted butter, coffee and salt in a large bowl.  Splash in the maple extract.  Whisk until very smooth.  You may need to add more liquid or sugar depending on the consistency – you want the icing to be thick but still pourable.  Drizzle the icing on the rolls while the rolls are still warm. 

 

I love every meal of the day but when it comes to lunch, I’m so hungry by late morning that I clock watch until it becomes a reasonable hour to consider making lunch (in this case, around 11am).  Needless to say, lunch is very much looked forward to. 

In this case, I turned sloppy joe leftovers into a yummy lunch.  Try and find those small Hawaiian rolls – they add a subtle sweetness to each bite.  I also like a lot of tang so if you don’t, just lessen the amount of vinegar and you’re good to go.

Tangy Sloppy Joe Sliders

1 tbl. olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
salt and ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 can (28 oz.) tomato puree
1/4 c. ketchup
2 tbl. Worcestershire sauce
¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne (depending on the level of heat you’d like)
1 tsp. dry mustard
pinch of brown sugar
1 tbl. Apple cider vinegar
1 large handful of baby greens
12 slider buns, split and warmed

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add ground turkey to skillet. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Stir in tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar into turkey mixture in skillet. And add cayenne, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Season the mixture with more salt and pepper.  Spoon onto buns, add baby greens, and serve immediately.

Yields about 12 sliders