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Ice Cream Sundae Brownies

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Yeah, I thought it was about time for something sweet 🙂

This recipe is super easy because it uses – shhh – a box mix. Yeah, yeah. I know. “But, Arya, didn’t you say that you wanted to make things from scratch? Learn how to be self sufficient in the kitchen – remember? You know, the whole point of your blog?”

Shh. We’re forgetting that part momentarily…

Because while I was spending the usual hours (and I do mean hours…those food sites are addicting. Seriously. I need a support group or something – Hi, I’m Arya and I’m addicted to food blogs…) browsing various sites, I stumbled upon this recipe from Picky Palate (a fantastic site!), and I had to try it.

I mean, seriously. It combines two of my favorite desserts (well, actually, every dessert I’ve tried so far is my favorite dessert. But, hey, why leave one out? This way they’re all included in my ever-hungry stomach!)  – ice cream and brownies!

I overbaked mine a tad (lesson learned – don’t do that!), but it was still quite good. This was a dense, sweet brownie 🙂 I didn’t really taste the ice cream at all, but the brownie tasted sweeter, so I suppose that’s where it’s from. The chocolate melted and made pleasant pools of gooey chocolate scattered throughout.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering..camera status is still bad. Sigh. Only I could completely break a camera in the first couple of days. So, looks like it’ll be iPad pictures until I get around to getting it fixed (sorry!).

Recipe fits a 9×13 pan.

Rating – 6.8/10

Difficulty Level – Easy

Total Time: 50 min (Prep Time=10 min, Cook Time=40 min)

Ingredients

  • 1 box Brownie Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Heaping 1/2 Cup of your favorite Ice Cream (I used Haagen Dazs vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips OR 9 squares of chocolate/2 bars of chocolate (i.e., Hershey)
  • 1/4 Cup chilled hot fudge topping

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F

2) In a large bowl, mix the brownie mix, eggs, and oil (no water).

3) Scoop in ice cream, chocolate chips/chocolate chunks and hot fudge; mix until combined.

4) Pour into greased 9×13 baking dish

5) Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center. (don’t overbake, though!)

Enjoy! Optional: put some homemade rice krispies on top! It makes the brownie that much better!

Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta

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So, earlier today I walked (as usual) to the pantry, searching for stuff to eat. I hadn’t gone to the supermarket in a while; thus, my pantry was barren. Not even a jar of tomato sauce nor bread. Nothing. Nada. Zippo.

However, after rummaging a bit in the dark recesses of the pantry, I found a box of (still good!) rotini pasta. When I went to my fridge, I found some milk, cream cheese, grated parmesan cheese, and leftover chicken from yesterday’s chicken tenders. So, off to google I went, searching for a suitable recipe. After clicking on several links, I finally settled on a mixture of a couple of recipes. Thinking of my last alfredo experience, I decided to add some color (in the form of vegetables). Of course, there was not a broccoli to be seen. But I did have some carrots! So I decided to add that. It was a bit odd (broccoli would have been better), but still yummy!

This recipe is very garlicy, though. Seriously. You will not smell nice. But, personally I like garlic – so it was a nice touch to what would have been an otherwise-bland dish! 🙂 Overall, it was a success. I quite enjoyed it 😀

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

Rating – 7.5/10

Difficulty Level – Easy

Total Time: 20 min (Prep Time=8 min, Cook Time=12 min)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (around 2 cups)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 sliced + cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 box (16 oz) pasta of choice (I chose rotini)

Directions

1) Cook pasta according to directions (add carrots into boiling water while pasta cooks)

2) While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic.

3) Add cream cheese, stirring with wire whisk until smooth.

4) Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Add the chicken and stir until fully coated with sauce.

5) Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Crunchy Corn Flake Chicken Tenders

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So, my camera’s decided that it’s done being a camera. Or, at least the memory card has. Sigh. And this is after less than a week…so, for now it’s back to the ‘ol iPad.

On a trip to Trader Joe’s, I picked up some chicken tenders (and some chocolate – but that was more of an impulse buy…yes, that happens to me every time I go there. It’s their fault for putting the chocolate right next to the checkout counter!). I’d always wanted to try and make some chicken tenders. Mm…so many possibilites. Of course, I got so caught up with images of crispy, golden-brown morsels that I completely forgot to buy breadcrumbs.

At this point, I feel like my mind just hates me. This is the third recipe that required breadcrumbs that I did not have. Sigh. So, I just crushed up some corn flakes. However, they didn’t really want to stick to the chicken, resulting in a patchy appearance with whole areas of white chicken showing through. The taste was a little bland (although, again, this should be easily remedied by actually using the breadcrumbs) and the bottom was soggy (should be easily fixed by using a wire rack on top of the pan. I don’t have one, so that’s why I didn’t use it), but otherwise it was alright. Nothing special, but definitely edible. Next time I would add a bit more cheese.

Rating – 6/10

Difficulty Level – Easy

Total Time: 20 min (Prep Time=5 min, Cook Time=15 min)

Yields 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

1)Preheat oven to 375°F.

2) Season the chicken tenders with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper then beat the eggs in another shallow dish with the milk. In a third shallow dish, place the breadcrumbs and crushed corn flakes.

3) Dredge the chicken tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg and finally, coat the chicken tenders with the crushed corn flakes.

4) Place the breaded chicken tenders onto a wire rack placed above a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Basic Meatballs

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I feel like a lot of the recipes I’ve blogged have had simple names.

Oh well.

Anyway, it’s about time for some savory! I was getting a bit tired of the nonstop sweets! Wow. I never thought I’d say that…

These meatballs were okay. They were a bit plain…but other than that they were decent. They made a nice addition to an otherwise plain meal of spaghetti and -gasp- jar sauce. Yeah, yeah. Sacrilege and all that. But I’m a bit lazy, and I think it tastes pretty good 🙂 Plus…I don’t think I’m ready yet for the esteemed meat sauce.

This recipe only has four steps. Seriously. And one of those steps is preheating the oven. All you need to do is combine them, mix ’em, and form spheres. Super easy!

I still have yet to get breadcrumbs, so I used dried oats. I highly suggest using breadcrumbs – those will add that much-needed spice and will probably transform this recipe 🙂

Recipe from Food Network.

Rating – 7/10

Difficulty Level – Easy

Total Time – 30 min (Prep Time=15 min, Cook Time=15 min)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425˚F

2) Mix beef and Worcestershire, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

3) Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch medium-sized meatballs and place on nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet greased with extra-virgin olive oil.

4) Bake balls 12 to 15 minutes, until no longer pink.

Simple Banana Bread

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In my journey in learning how to cook, I’m determined to hit all the staples. So, banana bread it is!

Now, I was a little hesitant to do this because of DeborahAnother baked good after the last disaster? But I decided to anyway. Because I’m a rebel like that. ;P Anyway, I modified the recipe just a tad. I got rid of the nuts and added a bit of cinnamon 🙂

And I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally conquered Deborah. Success! 😀 This was the first thing I’ve made so far that I’ve really enjoyed. Seriously. It has just the right amount of sugar. You can’t really taste the cinnamon, but somehow that’s okay 🙂 The crust is deliciously crunchy and sweet and provides a delightful contrast to the sweet inside. Mm.

On a side note – my camera is here! I love it. Seriously. You can tell I love it by the smears of fingerprints already present all over the viewing screen! Whoops. Oh well. I’ve used it with love 😀 But it’s much easier to use than the iPad. Much smaller. Before I’d have to balance that huge thing in the crook of my arm while still stirring with the same hand. Plus, I had the constant worry of accidentally dropping the thing. ‘Course, I still have that worry – but at least the camera comes with a wrist strap!

Recipe from Food Network.

Rating – 9/10

Difficulty Level – Easy

Total Time: 1 hr 40 min (Prep Time=25 min, Cook Time=1 hr 15 min)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F and lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

2) In a large bowl (You’ll need a big one. I made the mistake of using a medium sized one and promptly got the flour all over my shirt from a bout of all-too-rigorous mixing), combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set it aside for later.

3) With a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for around 4-5 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream (I had no idea what that meant. Light and fluffy? Mine kind of looked like soup. I decided to redefine light and fluffy as soup. It worked. Oh, and note: original recipe said to use an electric mixer to do the whipping. I have no idea how to use one. I decided to use my arms and did it by hand).

4)  Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cinnamon (as you can see by the picture, I meant to measure it out nicely into the spoon. The cinnamon did not agree, so it decided to throw itself down. I’m guessing that’s around 1/4 teaspoon, but when I tasted the bread the cinnamon taste was hardly noticeable, so I increased the amount to 1/2 teaspoon on the recipe. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t like cinnamon).

6) Mix in the dry ingredients. Don’t over blend.

7) Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture.

8) Fold in the mashed bananas.

9) Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Make sure there aren’t any air bubbles by rapping it on the counter. (My pan was glass, so it wasn’t about to do any rapping. So I kind of just shook it around in the air. Good enough)

10) Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.

11) Cool the bread in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cobbler Mishap – aka, so-dense-it’s-lethal

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You see that delicious looking picture up there?

You see it? Looks yummy, doesn’t it? Nice and oozing with smooth chocolate syrup?

LIES.

I’m starting to think I’m cursed. Yes I am allowed to be over dramatic. This is the second recipe mishap in a row. Sigh. But on the bright side – I got my new camera in the mail today! 🙂 No more iPad pictures! 😀

Anyway, back to the recipe. I was so excited for this recipe – the reviews were glowing, the ingredients were simple, I absolutely LOVELOVELOVE the blog it’s from, and hey – it’s chocolate.

Looking back, I think know it’s my fault it turned out that way. You see, I doubled it so it would fit a 9×13 pan. Since I still have absolutely no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen am relatively new to baking/cooking in general, I have no idea if there’s some sort of ratio of liquid to flour I’m supposed to use or something? I just doubled it, using my handy dandy fraction skills – hey, elementary school was good for something! That’s the only thing I can think of. So, actually, the moral is – don’t dismiss this recipe just because of my baking curse (let’s call it Deborah, shall we?). There’s a reason for all those glowing reviews. I may retry this recipe later, once I finally vanquish Deborah. One post said the batter should be the consistency of a slightly-thick, but still liquid  brownie batter. Mine was literally a huge ball of sticky brown dough. Oops. I also ran out of brown sugar, and instead of substituting in regular white sugar to make up the difference like any normal person, I kind of just dumped in the little brown sugar I had and called it a day; of course, the product wasn’t sweet at all.

Yeah, I’m lazy.

The recipe I’ve provided below is the original (so it won’t be enough for a 9×13) because my alterations were such a failure haha 🙂

Recipe from How Sweat Eats

Rating – 4/10 (note – that’s just my personal experience! I’ll go back and edit this if I try it again and actually succeed 🙂 )

Difficulty Level – Easy

Total Time: 50 min (Prep Time=10 min, Cook Time=40 min)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups hot water

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F

2) In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, white sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa.

3) Stir in milk and oil. This is the point I realized that maybe it shouldn’t look like a giant blob of unmoving brownness.

4) Pour into a baking dish. Well, my giant blob wasn’t getting poured anytime soon. So I eventually just shoved it in with my hands and smooshed it around the pan until it covered it. It was not fun. It was sticky.

5) Combine the brown sugar and remaining cocoa and sprinkle over batter evenly. Please ignore the giant chunks of brown sugar I was too lazy to crush.

6) Pour hot water over top (do not stir).

7) Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Sigh. Why must you look so good but taste so bad?!

*Note: I have nothing against the name Deborah. It was just the first name I thought of

Meatloaf Shmeatloaf

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I almost didn’t post this, considering my complete mess ups and the meatloaf’s completely unphotogenic qualities unique appearance. So I threw an overlay on top. Yay for rainbow-bubbled meatloaf! Not.

Well.

I suppose I had mentally prepared myself for this moment.

I mean, in my journey towards kitchen proficiency..this was bound to happen.

Yes, dear readers – it finally happened.

I completely bungled up a recipe. Sigh.

But it turned out alright, considering that I completely forgot the egg and tomatoes. I mean – those are major ingredients! How did I forget them? Arghh. And I wondered why the meatloaf was so crumbly!

I suppose I can only speculate what it should have tasted like – probably fantastic. The sauce was alright – a little sweet though. The meat was decent, and the bits of vegetables were a pleasant addition. The recipe is from Food Network. Try making it – the correct way with egg + the canned tomatoes!

The recipe makes around 4-5 servings

Rating: 5/10

Difficulty Level: Easy

Total Time: 1 hr 10 min (Prep Time=10 min, Cook Time=1 hr)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup (I used a bit more than that)
  • 1 1/3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Prepare all ingredients.

2) Mix until combined (don’t over mix – this results in a tough meatloaf)

3) Put ingredients in a baking dish and shape into a loaf

4) Prepare the sauce and put it on the loaf

5) Bake for 1 hour, or until internal temperature of meat is 160˚F