Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homemade Whipped Cream

This post will be short and sweet. Once you realize how ridiculously easy it is to make your own whipped cream, you'll never buy store bought again. For some reason, we had never even looked into it before. Cool Whip was our standby. Well, sorry Cool Whip, you've been replaced.

Here's what you need:
1 cup heavy cream (keep cold until you're ready to use it).
1-2 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

We used our stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer and bowl, it will just take some more effort. 

Here's what you do: 
Put the bowl and whisk into the freezer for 15-30 minutes before you prepare your whipped cream. This will keep the cream cooler while it whips. This is probably the most important part of the process.

Combine all ingredients in the bowl.

Whisk on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

That's it. You're done. 

We also made a chocolate whipped cream. For that, we added 2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder and increased the amount of sugar from 2 Tbsp to 4 Tbsp.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic Reduction

The fresh green beans looked gorgeous at the grocery store the other day, so we created this recipe on the fly. Zack correctly decided that they should be roasted with chopped garlic, to which Michelle added the balsamic reduction to finish it off. These green beans were de-li-cious.

Here's what you need:
2-3 lbs fresh green beans
3-4 large cloves of garlic
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
Oil oil to coat
4 Tbsp-ish balsamic vinegar

Here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Trim the ends of your green beans and toss in a large bowl. Chop the garlic, but not too small. It will roast and be super tasty with the green beans. Add that to the bowl. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle enough olive oil to coat.

Toss in a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or so. When the beans are ready, they will wilt and the garlic will turn a light brown color.

While the beans are roasting, put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

Allow that to reduce by half. We did this once before for our Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction and we forgot to mention that you shouldn't breath the scent of balsamic while it's reducing. It's quite strong and will definitely clear your sinuses. If it reduces down before your beans are ready, just reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.

Drizzle reduced balsamic over the beans.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

This was a simple weeknight meal for us. If you've read our blog, you'll realize sometimes we get a little complicated. This meal is a little more typical for a hectic week day.

Here's what you need:
1 package Italian Sausages (we used turkey!)
1/2 box of spaghetti (for more people, cook more pasta)
Thaw some of your homemade pasta sauce from the freezer (or if you must, open a jar)
Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter
Salt & pepper

Here's what you do:
Over medium heat, place sausages in a high-walled skillet and pour in enough water to go halfway up the sausages. 

Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Start your pasta water and put your sauce on to re-heat. Once your water starts boiling, salt generously and drop your pasta. Cook to package instructions.

Once the sausages are cooked all the way through, it's time to crisp them up. You can check if they're done by putting a sharp knife into the center of one, and taking a peek. Don't cut the sausage all the way through though! Drain the water from the pan and add a bit of oil. Turn the heat up to medium-high. 

Once they're nice and crispy on the outside, remove from the pan and set aside.

Throw the pasta and sauce in the pan you just cooked the sausages in and add butter and Parmesan cheese.

Give that a minute or two to hang out and let the sauce heat up and pasta absorb some of the sauce.

Now you're ready to eat.