Category: Food

Mixed Berry Crepes: A Decadent Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Crepes Main SquareUsually for Valentine’s Day I like to make a special dinner for my husband with crab legs and shrimp scampi. As you can imagine, even though it’s a homemade meal, it can get pretty expensive. This year, we’re working on being a lot more frugal and so I thought I could make a much less expensive meal but that seems almost as decadent as crab legs and shrimp scampi.

Crepes are the answer! They are so beautiful. They exude decadence and luxury, even though they really aren’t difficult to make. When you have the right batter and the right pan, they’re a cinch 🙂

 

Decadent Mixed Berry Crepes
Yields 4
For a regular weekday meal or a special occasion, these crepes are sure to please anybody. Eat them for breakfast or dessert!
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Crepes
  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1/2 cup milk
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  7. 2 teaspoons sugar
Filling
  1. 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  2. 7 oz. marshmallow cream
  3. 1 cup frozen mixed berries
Topping
  1. whipped cream
  2. powdered sugar
For the crepes
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour and eggs while slowly adding milk and water. Add salt, sugar, and butter and whisk until smooth and creamy, with no lumps. It helps to use an immersion blender for this.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of butter in a large, non-stick pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add 1/2 cup of batter and swirl the pan until the batter covers the bottom. Cook for 1-2 minutes and flip the crepe to cook the other side until slightly browned, about 1-2 minutes more. Repeat until batter is gone, should make about 4 crepes in a large pan. If using a smaller pan, use only 1/4 cup batter per crepe. Should yield 8 smaller crepes.
For the filling
  1. Place the frozen mixed berries in a small plastic baggie and set the bag in a larger bowl filled with warm water to thaw them. Once thawed, strain the juice with a fine mesh sieve.
  2. Beat together the softened cream cheese and marshmallow cream together in a medium bowl. Fold the berries into the mixture.
Assembling
  1. Place 1/4 of the mixture in the middle of the crepe and fold both sides up to form a rolled crepe. Top with whipped cream and powdered sugar, if desired.
Adapted from Chef in Training
Adapted from Chef in Training
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If you decide to make these, let me know how they turned out and if you loved them as much as I did! What are you going to be making for Valentine’s Day?

 Signature Yellow2Crepes FB

7 Tips to Quicker Cooking and Cleanup

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Although I love to cook, I hate to clean up. I prefer getting a great meal on the table in as little time as possible and with as little cleanup because let’s be honest people…two hours cooking in the kitchen plus two hours cleaning in the kitchen…ain’t nobody got time for dat!

 My family will still attest to the fact that on most days it takes me entirely too long to cook and clean up dinner. I am always on the lookout for more ideas and tips to make it quicker but it all comes down to implementing these tips. Don’t get in a frenzy and forget to do them because I promise you, if you do them, cooking can be a joy and you won’t be pulling your hair out trying to juggle 10 balls at once and dreading the after dinner marathon cleanup.

1. Plan ahead

My number one, and I mean number one, tip is to PLAN AHEAD! This means making a monthly or at least weekly meal plan. There is nothing worse than looking at the clock, it’s 6pm and you have no idea what you’re making for dinner. It’s so easy at that point to head out the door or jump on the phone to order pizza. Instead, save your waistline and your wallet by simply setting apart a few minutes each week to plan out your meals. Then make sure you add all the things you’ll need to your shopping list and you’ll be prepared with all the ingredients. Because we all hate to start cooking dinner only to realize you have to interrupt it to run to the store for more onions.

When it’s time to start dinner, you should put aside all other tasks. For me, this means my daughter’s diaper is changed, she has a sippy cup of water and has already eaten a snack so I’m sure (or can at least realistically hope) she’ll be in a happy mood and able to entertain herself while I cook. Let’s avoid as many interruptions or distractions as possible.

Also, decide what part of your meal you need to start first, second, and so on. If the dessert you’re making takes longer to cook, start it first. Or if your side can be started and then set aside, do that first. Whatever is going to be the best use of your time, make sure you plan it out accordingly.

 

Clean kitchen_s2. Start with a Clean Kitchen

This will be easier if you keep up on it throughout the day. But seriously, nothing is worse than trying to cook in a filthy kitchen. All the dishes you need are dirty, sitting in the sink and there isn’t even any counter space to work. If you make sure dishes are clean (or at least loaded in the dishwasher) and the counters are clear, you’ll save loads of time. It doesn’t have to be immaculate, besides that would be counterproductive since you’re going to be making a mess anyway, just clean enough to work in.

3. Pull out all ingredients beforehand

Just like Rachael Ray, pull out all your ingredients and tools you’ll need BEFORE you start cooking. This saves time by reducing the number of trips you have to make to your pantry or fridge. Just set it all out and watch how quick you whip up that meal!

 bowl_s

4. Keep a garbage bowl nearby

Also like Rachael Ray, reduce your trips to the garbage by chucking that stuff in a bowl. Granted, it is one more dish to wash but it really will save you more time than it will take to wash that bowl.

5. Fill the sink with soapy water

Ugh! How I hate to wash dishes with dried on goop. I don’t have a dishwasher so I have learned that dishes are rinsed out IMMEDIATELY at our house. If I let a bowl with pancake batter sit for very long, it takes me four times as long to wash it. It’s so easy to stick it in a sink with hot, soapy water and then when it’s time to wash it, there’s no scrubbing involved. Even if you have a dishwasher, it’s still more effective to load dishes that have already been rinsed off or soaking. They come a lot cleaner and eliminate the need to re-wash them.

6. Clean as you go

This is hard for me. I’m always so worried if I’ve got several pots or pans going at once that I’ll inevitably forget the tostadas baking in the oven and burn them, yet again, because I’m focusing on cleaning up. However, it is possible to clean as you go and try not to be a slob while you cook.

19591737_s7. Reuse dishes when possible

It makes zero sense to dirty five different knives when really you only need one. Use common sense and make sure you wash it with hot, soapy water (hence our sink that is full of it) if you’re going to switch from cutting up raw meat to vegetables.

Obviously most of these tips are front-loaded and need to be done before you start. It’s kind of like painting a room. Although you really just want to slap some paint on the wall, it’s more important and will make the process go so much smoother as well as the finished product so much better, if you prep the room first. Remove or at least cover all the furniture, take off the outlet and light switch covers, tape around the edges, lay down plastic, make sure you have all your supplies ready and that distractions have been cut to a minimum before you begin.

If you dread dinnertime, or any meal time for that matter, because it’s time you’d rather spend doing something else, try these tips and see if your anxiety diminishes. Hey, you may even find you ENJOY cooking dinner.

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The Perfect Salsa

I love walking into a Mexican restaurant, when I feel like I’m starving to death, and sitting down to a comforting bowl of chips and salsa. It calms my nerves, knowing I don’t have to wait what may feel like an eternity to get my food. Really, freebies are the best right?

I have a perfect salsa recipe that is easier than you can imagine and tastes amazing.

People ask me to make this salsa all the time. Of course it’s perfect with chips or to accompany any kind of Mexican food. Although it isn’t the only salsa I make, it’s the one I make most often and the one people always ask about.

 Without further adieu, I present to you, The Perfect Salsa.

 

The Perfect Salsa
Easy, delicious, fresh salsa that is perfect with chips or most anything else.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 roma tomatoes
  2. 2 serrano chiles
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. ½ white onion
  5. ½ bunch cilantro
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place tomatoes, serrano chiles, and garlic cloves on tin foil. Broil in oven until moderately charred.
  2. In a blender on low speed, blend all ingredients together until it reaches desired consistency.
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So next time you’re feeling some Mexican food, do like I do and make this stuff first. It’s a nice snack while you’re getting your cooking on and keeps the hubs and munchkins appeased while they await your culinary masterpiece.

Easy “pop-off-the-cob” Corn

Corn square w watermarkFall is my favorite time of year. I love to see the colors turning and feeling the cool crisp in the morning air. Most of all, I love the fall harvest. I love eating BLTs and margarita pizza with our garden tomatoes, summer squash and bacon, and all sorts of other delectables. I love being able to walk out to the garden and pick off the vine what we’re having for dinner.

Corn on the cob is one of those things that takes me back to my childhood instantly. However, chewy, gummy, corn on the cob is not my thing. I like the kernels to pop as I bite them off the cob and this does the trick every time.

Use the freshest corn you can find, preferably from your own garden. If you’re buying it from the store or farmers market, make sure the leaves are green and pliable, not dry. The silk that comes out of the top should be dry, not soggy.

 

Easy "pop-off-the-cob" Corn
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Ingredients
  1. Fresh, husked corn-on-the-cob
  2. 2-3 tbsp. salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Fill a large stockpot with enough water to cover all your cobs and still allow room for them to swim, maybe about halfway full. Heavily salt the water, I usually add about 2-3 tbsp. of coarse kosher salt. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  2. Drop your cobs in and let the water return to a full boil.
  3. Once it’s boiling, cover the pot and remove from heat. Allow the pot to sit, undisturbed and covered, for 10-15 minutes.
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Voila! Delicious, pop-off-the-cob corn. You can leave it in the pot with the hot water for a while longer if you’re not quite ready to serve it, just remove the lid so it doesn’t continue to cook too much. Didn’t I tell you this was easy? Enjoy your harvest! Or someone else’s, don’t worry I won’t judge 🙂