Mar 14 2014

Chocolate Truffle Peanut Butter Egg Easter Pie & Giveaway #client #BunnyTrail

Disclosure: I received product from HERSHEY’S and a stipend from Global Influence for this post. HERSHEY’S is providing the product for the giveaway. All opinions remain my own.

chocolate truffle peanut butter egg Easter pie

My family has weird Easter traditions. My grandparents have been wintering in Florida for at least a decade now. Their return is generally sometime in April, which oftentimes means they’re still away when Easter falls. Not wanting them to feel left out, my mom started a new tradition 6 or so years ago: Fake Easter. Or Feaster, for short.

HERSHEY'S Easter CandyFeaster generally falls 1-3 weeks after Easter and is a time when my entire family gathers, welcoming my grandparents home for the summer. When I say entire family, I mean my parents, my siblings, their spouses, their kids, my aunts and uncles, cousins, their kids… Close to 40 of us, all together. It’s a big occasion.

HERSHEY'S Easter Candy

Yup, nearly 40 people gather in my parents’ home for antipasto and ham, mashed taters and green bean casserole, and lots and lots of dessert. My generation is usually in charge of that and we do it justice quite well. Cake, cookies, pies, and rice crispy treats–because Great Grandma always brought them. The feast goes on and on. It is Feaster, after all.

HERSHEY'S Easter Candy

Later comes the Easter egg hunt. When we were kids, our parents were less inventive–on Easter morn, we were greeted with baskets laid out on the hearth, overflowing with goodies. Now, they devise elaborate egg hunts in the yard for the grandkids, with tons and tons of loot. Stuffed animals for the little ones, art supplies for the older ones, and lots and lots of candy. It’s just not Easter without candy.

Chocolate Truffle Peanut Butter Egg Easter Pie

My favorite has always been REESE’S peanut butter eggs. Sure, the CADBURY Creme Eggs are pretty awesome, and their hard-shelled cousins are even better. It wouldn’t be Easter without a chocolate bunny in the basket. But give me all the peanut butter eggs and I’ll be a happy girl. THAT is the best flavor combination of all. Just don’t tell my kids that’s where their eggs have gone. As far as they’re concerned, they already ate them and forgot.

Chocolate Truffle Peanut Butter Egg Easter Pie

When I was asked to develop an Easter recipe featuring HERSHEY’S candy, I knew it had to have REESE’S Peanut Butter Eggs. It was only natural! And that’s where Chocolate Truffle Peanut Butter Egg Easter Pie came from. You only need a small slice, it’s just so rich and chocolatey, tempered by lightly-sweetened whipped cream and dreamy peanut butter. This is an awakening on a plate! Amazing!

Chocolate Truffle Peanut Butter Egg Easter Pie

Need more ideas for Easter? Check out CelebrateWithHersheys.com for lots of great holiday crafts and recipes! So many cute ideas that it’s hard to choose! (I adore this HERSHEY’S Foil Egg Wreath! Too bad it would melt on my front door…)

I can’t keep all this fun to myself, though. HERSHEY’S sent me a box full of the best Easter candy you can find–and they’re letting me give away the same to one of my readers. Yup, you can get your own instant Easter in a box! (I hope you’ll save the REESE’S Peanut Butter Eggs for this recipe!) Enter in the Rafflecopter box below for your chance at the bunny loot. (Open to U.S. residents only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now, the recipe. Because I know you want your chocolate fix! Hoppy Easter! May your day be as sweet as can be!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Chocolate Truffle Peanut Butter Egg Easter Pie
 
Prep time
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A very rich pie that is sure to please anyone with a chocolate craving.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
Crust
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
Filling
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 Tablespoons organic corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 large cage-free egg yolks, slightly beaten
Topping
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 4 REESE'S Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out a 10-inch pie plate and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, microwave the butter for 1 minute, or until melted.
  3. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs with a fork until evenly coated, then press into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust has browned slightly. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn starch, and salt. Set aside.
  6. In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the chocolate, milk, and cream for the filling. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so the chocolate doesn't burn.
  7. Once the chocolate has melted, whisk in the sugar mixture, continuing to heat until the mixture thickens and looks like pudding.
  8. Remove from heat and slowly add the egg yolks, whisking the whole time to keep the yolks from scrambling.
  9. Transfer filling to crust and spread evenly. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  10. When ready to serve, using a hand-held electric mixer, whip the topping heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and salt until light and airy (try not to over-whip--it'll look really dry if you overdo it).
  11. Scoop whipped cream and spread it over the top of the pie. Sprinkle with chopped REESE'S Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs.
  12. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

 

Mar 12 2014

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Pizza #client #SimplyPotatoes

Have you heard about Simply Potatoes’ 5 Ingredient Fix Recipe Contest?

All you have to do is come up with a 5-ingredient recipe featuring one of their products and submit it for your chance to win $3000! It doesn’t get any easier than that, so get yourself on over there and enter–I’d love to see one of my readers win!

Why do I love Simply Potatoes?

garlic mashed potatoes pizza
I am so unenthused about making dinner on weeknights. By the time I get home from work, all I want to do is park my butt on the couch and veg for a while. That isn’t fair to my family though. Anything that makes my night easier is greatly appreciated. That’s where Simply Potatoes comes in. Simply Potatoes are fresh potatoes that are refrigerated, but never frozen or dehydrated. They are made with only real ingredients and are sooooo easy to prepare. Especially for those recipes where “leftover” mashed potatoes are called for. What the heck are those? I don’t think I ever have leftover mashed potatoes. Thanks to Simply Potatoes, I don’t have to worry about that anymore!
garlic mashed potatoes pizza

So what would be my 5 Ingredient Fix?

My favorite pizza joint has this smashed potato pizza that is out of this world. I can’t eat there every day though. I recently started recreating my favorite pizza at home, now that I have Simply Potatoes by my side. I know, potatoes on pizza sounds a bit weird, but hear me out. Somehow, with the corn and the bacon, it all works out and becomes amazing. You could make just one pizza, but you’re kidding yourself. The first one will be gone in seconds and you’ll be wanting more. Make the 2 and even if you don’t need it all at once, you’ll have leftovers to carry you over. You’ll thank me.
garlic mashed potatoes pizza

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Pizza
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 10-ounce pre-made pizza crusts
  • 1 24-ounce package Simply Potatoes Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons canned white corn, rinsed and drained
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the garlic mashed potatoes over the 2 pre-made pizza crusts.
  3. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle the corn over that. Top with the chopped bacon.
  5. Bake directly on the rack for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and potatoes are hot.
  6. Serve immediately.

Good luck with your own 5 Ingredient Fix!

And let me know if you win! I’ll be rooting for you!
garlic mashed potatoes pizza

For rules on how to enter the Sweepstakes click here.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Simply Potatoes. The opinions and text are all mine.

Mar 06 2014

Red Beans and Rice (with Chicken Andouille Sausage)

Yes, I know, Mardi Gras was 2 days ago. I’m late to the party again. But hear me out… because every day can be Party Gras. No need to save it all for once a year!

I’m not much of a cook, I admit it. I have admitted it, over and over again. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I started being more adventurous with my eating. Rarely have I been disappointed, but it’s still intimidating every time I attempt a new recipe. Will it really taste as good as it smells? What is it supposed to taste like really? What if I spent all this time making something that’s complete garbage? Oh, the anxiety!

red beans and rice with chicken Andouille sausage

Still, I keep on trying. And when we decided the theme for our co-worker’s birthday party would be Mardi Gras this year (albeit 2 days after Mardi Gras), I embraced it as an opportunity to add New Orleans flavors to my repertoire and broaden the horizons once again.

A king cake would have been a safe choice. It’s a glorified yeasted coffee cake, not much different than projects I’ve succeeded at before. But I wanted to go savory this time. Explore the alleyways I would normally avoid, dabble in a little danger and see where it takes me.

red beans and rice with chicken Andouille sausage

Of course, my options were still limited. My husband absolutely does not eat any seafood at all. I will taste it on occasion, but only fried. Because anything fried is awesome. That meant no jambalaya, a dish that automatically comes to mind when NOLA is mentioned. No po’ boys, either. Hmm…. what to make that feeds a crowd? What could be brought in as a leftover and still be glorious?

My mind rested on red beans and rice. From the sources I found–Can You Stay For Dinner, Gluten-Free-Girl and the Chef, and Gumbopages –the idea isn’t much different than making chili, and we’ve been enjoying that for years. So I chopped. And I sauteed. And I seasoned. And I cooked rice. And then I put it all together. And it was even better than I imagined. I’m so glad I’ve developed an appreciation for heat in my eats over the years!

red beans and rice with chicken Andouille sausage

Today I’ll be sharing my experiment with my friends at work. I’m hoping there aren’t any critics in the crowd–anyone who would be quick to point out that this isn’t exactly a traditional approach. I don’t think there will be, but I worry incessantly about sharing my projects with people outside of my immediate family. I’m so hard on myself.

You? I highly recommend trying this. It’ll be great for lunch leftovers throughout the week or to bring to a potluck. Just transfer to a slow cooker to warm up at the party and you’ll be ready to impress. Laissez les bons temps rouler! And roll, and roll, and roll….

red beans and rice with chicken Andouille sausage

Red Beans and Rice (with Andouille Chicken Sausage)
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
It's really important to have your mise en place ready for this one---it's too easy to burn onions while you're chopping other veggies (not that I'd know anything about that...)
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small chop
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 ribs celery, small chop
  • 2 orange bell peppers, small chop
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 16-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 ounces chicken Andouille sausage, sliced lengthwise and then crosswise so you get half-moon shapes
  • 2 ounces Canadian bacon, diced small
  • 2 cups uncooked white long-grain rice
Instructions
  1. Drizzle the EVOO in a 3.5-quart dutch oven over medium to medium high heat and add the onions.
  2. Saute until softened and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, celery, and bell peppers and saute for a 4-5 minutes to soften a bit.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, seasonings, sausage, and Canadian bacon. Stir well and simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 2-2.5 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom isn't burning. It will thicken considerably in this time; if it's too thick, just add more chicken broth.
  5. About a half hour before serving, prepare the rice--in my case, I pour it into my rice cooker with twice as much water (so in this case, that would be 4 cups of water for 2 cups of rice) and let it cook til steamed fully. On the stove, you'll use the same ratio but you'll have to be more attentive to ensure the bottom doesn't burn. The Kitchn has a great tutorial on how to cook rice on the stovetop, if you need some pointers.
  6. Serve the red beans over the cooked rice.

 

Mar 03 2014

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

Recently, a co-worker hosted a chili cook-off benefit lunch to raise money for his nephew. His nephew has been diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and is facing a total of at least 16 rounds of chemotherapy. The money raised would assist the family with paying for deductibles and travel costs, which will accumulate fast. I’m happy to say there was a great outpouring of support and a large sum of money was raised to help this young man and his family with their tough road ahead.

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

After the lunch, we were left with a gallon-sized bag of sliced French bread that had gone uneaten. Not wanting to waste it, I started brainstorming. And came to French Toast Casserole.

I love the idea of French toast. It’s an elite form of weekend breakfast, served only at special occasions or eaten when dining out. I’m not sure why it’s enjoyed so infrequently–it could be that it’s not exactly health food–but it makes the day seem so much fancier if French toast is on your plate. The down side is that someone has to stand at the griddle frying up slice after slice of that goodness, missing out on ambiance of the occasion. She gets to eat eventually, sure, but she’s usually last, when everyone else has already moved on to something else. It’s a lonely kind of job. Which is where French Toast Casserole comes in.

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

look at that sugar crust!

French Toast Casserole is really a glorified bread pudding. Soak your bread slices in custard overnight, add a topping, and bake in the morning. It frees you up to enjoy the whole meal with your friends and family and lets you pretend that dessert is breakfast. Works for me!

So the morning after the benefit lunch, I brought in a dish of this Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole. Because I’m so proud of my co-workers and how wonderfully supportive they are of each other. You can’t ask for a better bunch! Whip this up and serve it to someone special to you. They’ll love it!

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1-pound loaf French bread
  • 6 large cage-free eggs
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Topping
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B preferred, as it’s more flavorful)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish and set aside.
  2. Slice French bread into 1-inch thick slices and arrange in prepared dish.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for 30 seconds or so.
  4. Add the milk, cream, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and whisk for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until frothy.
  5. Pour over the bread slices, coating evenly. There will be a lot extra in the bottom of the dish; this is okay, as it will get absorbed. (I actually took each slice and dipped both sides in the extra before setting them upright again, just to be sure they were well-coated.)
  6. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  7. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out the dish, uncover, and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Set aside.
  8. In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat.
  9. Stir in the brown sugar and maple syrup and gently boil until the sugar is (mostly) melted. This will not be a smooth caramel sauce, but that’s okay; you want crystallization when it bakes anyway for that crunchy crust.
  10. Remove from heat and add the vanilla–it will bubble up. Be careful!
  11. Stir in the vanilla, then pour over the prepared bread evenly.
  12. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes.
  13. Serve immediately. No additional syrup necessary.

If you would like to help out in the fundraising efforts for this young man, there is a GoFundMe page set up to collect donations. Hodgkin Lymphoma, while a very curable form of cancer, still ravages the body. This family will need all the help they can get.

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