This recipe is for my Aunt Leisa, who loves banana pudding more than anyone else I know….including me.
Ok, get ready to see a lot of cream puff posts in the next few weeks because I’ve kind of become obsessed with them! I’m stuffing profiteroles with whatever I can think of!
But these cream puffs, these are special. They’re special because they taste like you’re taking a bite of banana pudding! Which, btw, is my favorite pudding! Anyway, you have the actual cream puff (or profiterole, as some like it) that tastes like a Nilla wafer, the vanilla pudding, chunks of banana, and whipped cream! What more could you want in life?!?!?!?
Banana Pudding Cream Puffs
- 1 recipe pat a choux (add a splash of vanilla into the dough as well)
- 1 box instant vanilla pudding
- 2 bananas, diced
- 1/4-1/2 c heavy cream
- 2-4 tbsp. sugar
Once you make your pat a choux, make your pudding according to the package directions. Add the bananas and let set up in the fridge until your cream puffs have completely cooled. Pour it into a piping bag with tip#12, and carefully fill each cream puff by putting the tip into the hole on the bottom and squeezing. Do NOT overstuff! Let them chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Whip the cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and add the sugar depending on how sweet you want it. Whip it until it forms stiff peaks, then put it in another piping bag with tip#32. Pipe a few stars here and there on the cream puffs, then serve.
I also made these, for those who don’t like banana pudding! Ice Cream filled profiteroles! Instead of filling them with banana pudding, I cut them in half, put a little scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center, put the top back on, decorated them with whipped cream, and poured on some chocolate sauce (half a cup of chocolate chips and a few splashes of heavy cream melted over a double boiler). Messy, but delicious! Enjoy!
These classic New Orleans treats are soft, pillowy bites of heaven! They’re like French doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar and dunked in hot Cafe au Lait, hot chocolate, or strong coffee. They’re the perfect way to end a meal of good, hearty gumbo or jambalaya, but they’re also a very sophisticated treat to serve your friends.
Beignets (ben-yays) have been prepared and enjoyed since the late 16th century, and with just one bite, you can understand why! They have this wonderful sweet, yeasty flavor that, when dunked in a piping hot cup of Cafe au Lait, tastes just like a warm doughnut. They’re addictive, which is good because this recipe makes ALOT of beignets! Actually, the dough keeps very well in the freezer, so you can freeze half of this recipe (which is what I did!) and always have the things you need to make beignets!
French Quarter Beignets (Paula Dean)
- 1 1/2 c lukewarm water
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 envelope of dry active yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp. yeast)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 c evaporated milk
- 7 c bread flour
- 1/4 c shortening or margarine
- powdered sugar
- oil for frying
Cafe au Lait
Start by combining the yeast, sugar, and water. (For the best results, add the yeast and sugar first, then the water.) Stir it together.
Wait for 10 minutes for it to activate.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture into the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
This is when you can separate the dough, and freeze half of it.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, then dust them with the powdered sugar.
For the Cafe au Lait, brew your favorite coffee and put a heaping tablespoon of sugar in the bottom of a glass. Fill the glass up halfway with hot coffee, and fill it up the rest of the way with hot milk. Give it a stir, then dunk your beignets in and enjoy!
Salsa salsa salsa! Salsa salsa salsa! I’m sorry, but for some reason, I just love that word!
I’m weird like that.
Not only do I love the word salsa, though, I also love the actual salsa! Mine is sweet and spicy, tangy and refreshing, and crunchy and smooth. I love that you can get so much complexity from just one little appetizer!
Salsa (adapted from Paula Dean)
- 2 red peppers
- 2 yellow peppers
- 1 onion
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 tomato
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 avocado, diced
I know that the recipe says 2 red peppers and 2 yellow peppers, but I found these cute little sweet bell peppers and used them instead.
Just dice them up and throw them in a bowl.
Then grab an onion and cut it in half. Our Safeway has really good Vidalia onions right now, so that’s what I used, but you can use whatever type of onion you like.
Dice it up and throw it in the bowl along with the diced jalapeno.
Then, add the diced tomatoes…
…and the lime juice. How cool is this old-fashioned juicer? It’s so fun to use! And look….
…total lime demolition! :0
..the balsamic vinegar, the olive oil, and the salt and pepper.
Now this is a very important step, take a tortilla chip, scoop up some salsa, and taste it. For seasoning, of course! Adjust it as needed and set in the fridge for atleast an hour. The flavor will intensify as it sits, so don’t over-season it! When you’re ready to serve it, add the diced avocado and dig in!
Tacos are a big crowd pleaser in my family. We whip up a ton and everyone eats about 7. Ok, maybe not 7, but it’s close to that number! After a while, though, everyone gets tired of the same old beef tacos with all the traditional fixin’s. So I decided to jazz things up a bit and try these new Chipotle-Lime Chicken Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw! They were a HIT!
These tacos really pack a huge flavor punch! The tangy lime, spicy peppers, and sweet corn make them irresistible! I grilled the corn to give it that smoky taste, but you could also just boil it and cut it off the cob. Try these tacos on a busy weeknight, I’m sure it’ll impress even the most prestigious taco eater!
Chipotle Lime Chicken Tacos (Claire Robinson)
- 1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried
- 2 limes, juiced and zested
- 1 c crema
- 2 chipotle peppers, diced (or 5 Serrano peppers, diced)
- salt and pepper
- corn tortillas
Red Cabbage Slaw (Claire Robinson)
- 5 corn on the cobs, shucked and grilled
- 1/4 head of red cabbage (if it’s a small head of cabbage, use 1/2 a head)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 c crumbled queso fresco cheese
- handful of cilantro
- salt and pepper
This is my chicken. Her name is Shelly. She’s not an organic chicken, but she is farm-fresh!
If you want to buy an organic Shelly, go right ahead.
This is my lime zest. It doesn’t have a name, but it is about to meet up with Shelly, and they are going to do wonderful flavor things together!
Then, stick the lime zest in the little pocket you just made! Do this on both sides of the breast. See?!?!?!? I told you they were doing wonderful flavor things together!
Sprinkle some lime zest on top of Shelly, too, and squeeze the lime juice as well. Put the lime halves in the cavity of the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper all over Shelly. Put 1/4 c water in the bottom of the pan (this will help steam Shelly), and tuck her wings under her breast. Then, take some kitchen twine and tie her legs together (this makes sure she cooks more evenly). Then put her in a 400 degree oven and cook her until she reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Let her cool completely, then shred her up. Keep her warm in an oven that’s about 170 degrees until you’re ready to make your tacos.
For the red cabbage slaw, just slice the cabbage thinly and squeeze the lime juice over top of it. Let that sit for atleast 20 minutes. The acid in the lime juice starts to break down the cabbage and “cook” it.
Then crumble up some queso fresco cheese. You could use goat cheese or feta instead.
Chop up some cilantro. For all you cilantro haters: You can use parsley.
And cut the corn off the cob. Then dump everything in with the cabbage.
Now for the cream sauce. Crema is basically just Mexican sour cream, except it’s a little bit thinner and saltier. Combine the crema, the peppers, the lime juice, the left over lime zest from Shelly, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
To assemble these tacos, start by heating the corn tortillas in the microwave for about 15 seconds each.
Put some chicken on…
..some crema sauce…
…and some slaw. Wah-la! You’ve got yourself a chipotle lime chicken taco! Enjoy!!
My brother, Asher, just had a birthday a few days ago, but we celebrated it on Saturday with my grandma and uncle. My Grammy helped me decorate the cake and Asher loved it!
So Asher asked for a chocolate chip birthday cake with chocolate frosting, and it was the easiest thing in the world to make! We use this cake recipe so often for when we have company just because it’s so easy to make, and the kids and adults love it! Plus, when you use store-bought chocolate frosting and make your own white icing, you can have the cake made and decorated before you can say “happy birthday’!
Chocolate Chip Birthday Cake
- 1 box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1/4 c oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 c water
- 1 c chocolate chips
- 1 can chocolate frosting
Buttercream Frosting: (Wilton)
- 1/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1/4 c butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tbsp. milk
For the cake:
Coat the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with the oil. Dump everything else in and mix it with a fork until all the ingredients are moistened. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
For the icing:
Cream the butter and shortening together. Add vanilla. Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, it will appear dry. Add milk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. (If you want to make chocolate buttercream, then just add 1 1/2 oz. of melted unsweetened chocolate and 1/2 tbsp. of milk.)
For the border, I used tip#21 and made this rope pattern by piping an S on its side, then, starting from the middle of the first sideways S, piped another one, and so on.
For the letters, I used tip#3.
I know this is a fuzzy picture, but for the stars I used tip#16. Just apply a little bit of pressure to the icing bag, then stop and remove the tip from the cake to create these stars.
It was a fun night. ‘Nuf said!
My grandma (Grammy) and my Uncle Zach came to visit us this past weekend, and we had so much fun! It was a weekend full of decorating, fun, and cooking! We made my Lemon Curd Tart, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Easy Peasy Barbeque Sauce, my brother’s birthday cake, and this bread pudding!
Don’t be scared of bread pudding! I know it sounds a little…different…but trust me, it’s DELICIOUS! The consistency is nothing like a pudding, it’s more of a French toast swimming in a wonderful custard bath! It also has a great eggy-cinnamon flavor that is to die for! Go ahead and give it a try! I’m sure it’ll knock your socks off!
My Grammy’s Bread Pudding
- 1 loaf of brioche or challah bread
- cinnamon and sugar
- 1/4-1/2 c raisins
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 c milk
- 1 c sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Slice up the bread (we used challah, but if you use brioche, then remove the crust), and let it sit out for about 2 hours to get a little stale.
Then butter both sides of the bread….
…and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar.
Cut them into cubes and place in a buttered 9×13 baking dish.
Sprinkle some raisins on top.
Then, whisk together the next 5 ingredients…
…and pour it over the bread.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool a little bit before serving.
For the custard sauce:
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and put the bowl on the top of a double boiler. Slowly add the milk and nutmeg, and cook until it’s thickened. Remove it from the heat and add the vanilla. Pour it hot over the bread pudding.
I had so much fun making this with my Grammy, and I hope you make it with someone you love, too.
Pat a choux (pronounced pot a shoe) is a sweet, French dough used to make cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles, and lots of other pastries. I used it to make my Cream Puffs, and I bet you’ve used it before, too!
French cooking can be kind of daunting sometimes, but this dough could not be easier! Basically, it’s just the combination of butter, water, flour, and eggs. I always add some sugar though, and sometimes I might add a little vanilla, or a pinch of cinnamon. It’s just so versatile and easy to make!
Pat a Choux
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 eggs
Bring the butter and water to a boil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, sift the flour and sugar. Add the flour mixture to the butter-water mixture off the heat and stir it until it pulls together into a ball. Cook it for 1-2 minutes over low heat, just to cook out the raw flour flavor.
Whip the eggs slightly in a separate bowl and slowly add them to the dough. Beat it with a wooden or plastic spoon until it becomes a thick paste, like above.
Then put the dough in a piping bag fitted with tip#12. Pipe it into these cute little swirls on a greased baking sheet. (You could also use a mini ice cream scoop!) Dip your finger in a bowl of water and push down the little tips on top, otherwise they’ll burn!
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re puffed and golden.
They should have this little hole in the bottom. That’s how you fill them! But if they don’t, then just cut a little slit in the side to fill them.
If you’re making eclairs, then just pipe a straight line of dough and bake them the same way. Fill them by cutting a slit in the top, piping in the filling, and covering it with chocolate once you’re done!
Once you’ve baked all your little cream puffs, profiteroles, etc. you can fill them with aaannnyyyything you want! I’ve really gotten into cream puffs, so I’ll be posting lots of yummy recipes and ideas soon! Happy Baking!
(Picture at the top of page URL: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/pastry/)
Fresh herbs add a great punctuation of flavor and color to any dish. They are very easy to grow in your garden or your windowsill and can be found in most grocery stores nowadays, so there’s no excuse not to use them! Just try not to use dried herbs, fresh ones add SO much more flavor!
From left to right, I have parsley, basil, mint, oregano, thyme, and rosemary growing in my backyard, and these are definitely the most common herbs and flavors used on my blog. Herbs can be a little tricky sometimes, though, and you might not know where to throw them in. This is why I’m going to take you through each and every herb and explain what it’s best paired with and how it can be used to its full potential. First up…….Parsley.
Parsley- Parsley is a very easy herb to grow and can be added to so many different dishes. It has a sort of lemony, fresh, mild flavor and is most often used as a garnish. To chop it up, just pluck the leaves from the stems, roll them into a tight ball, and chop it right up. (The stems are very soft, so it’s okay if you don’t remove all of them.) Parsley is great in salads, pastas, and marinades, and you will often see it paired with basil or other herbs. Another great use for it is to throw some on braised chicken, pork, beef, veal, or any other meat that you’ve cooked for a long period of time, just to freshen it up a bit. It is a staple in the Italian kitchen, and mine, too! (Just pick any flowers that may grow from your plant off.)
Basil- We see basil all throughout Italian cooking. It has a great sweet and mild anise flavor that will spruce up any pasta dish. To chop it, pick the leaves from the stem, stack them up, roll them like you’re rolling a cigar, and chop it from right to left. (Or left to right if you’re left-handed. Basil goes beautifully with any pasta, but is also fabulous in pesto, marinades, and marinara sauces. Caprese salad is one of my favorite spots to use basil, you just combine it with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. This herb is absolutely one of my favorites! (If your plant starts to flower, pick the flowers and any surrounding basil off. It means that those basil leaves have gotten bitter!)
Mint- Mint is….minty! It is a classic in Greek cooking and pairs beautifully with lamb. It can be used in a Greek yogurt sauce, called tzatziki, or to garnish a lovely dessert. To chop it, you just use the same method as the basil. My grandmother used to put mint leaves in her simple syrup (1 c sugar, 1 c water boiled together), and add it to her iced tea, making mint iced tea. It’s great in cocktails or “mocktails” and, for some reason, it’s really good with peas. If you’re going to grow mint, though, make sure to put it in a pot, otherwise it’ll take over!
Oregano- Oregano is a very Mediterranean herb, being a staple in both the Italian and Greek kitchen. It has a very pungent, lemony taste, and a little bit goes a long way! To chop it, I just pick the little leaves off the stems and chop it in much of the same way as parsley. I use it most often on pizzas and in pasta salads, but it’s also great with lamb, veal, or vegetables. It’s ideal for marinades and marinara sauces, and adds a great punch of flavor to any dish! (Your plant may flower, and when that happens, just pick them off.)
Thyme- Thyme is a wonderful lemony, woodsy herb that is one of my personal favorites. When I use it, I either just pull the leaves off the stems and give them a quick chop, or I tie together a bunch of stems with kitchen twine and throw it into a soup or stew. This is also great in pasta salads, but I use it most often when I’m braising chicken, pork, or beef. I just use the “tie together” method from above and throw it into the pot, then I remove it later. Thyme is great with pork chops, chicken, and hearty soups and stews. I think you’ll love this herb just as much as I do! (If your plant grows tiny flowers, then just remove them from the stems.)
Rosemary- Rosemary is SUPER easy to grow and take care of, and it tastes great! It has that lemony, woodsy flavor like thyme, but also has a little piny-ness. I just grab the bottom of the stem and run my fingers upwards to take the leaves off. Then I chop it up super fine, because if you get a big leaf, it sorta tastes like a pine needle! Rosemary pairs so well with pork, beef, chicken, and tomatoes. It can usually be found in marinades for pork or lamb, and is almost always paired with garlic. It is that perfect punctuation of flavor in almost every dinner.
Chives- Chives are those skinny, long, green tube-looking things that have a very mild oniony flavor. Just pick them from the plant and line them up side-by-side, then run your knife across the chives so that you have little circles. Chives are perfect with salmon and are also a great addition to dips and appetizers. They can also be used, like parsley, to spruce up any braised meats. Of course, they’re good on baked potatoes as well, and I think you’ll find that they add a great depthness of flavor to many dishes. (If your plant grows big, purple flowers, then just pick them off!)
Dill- Dill tastes like pickles. It’s not one of my favorites, just because it’s so strong and potent, but it’s still tasty. Another staple in the Greek kitchen, this herb goes really well with salmon, lamb, and is great in that tzatziki sauce! To chop it up, just remove the fronds from the stems and give ‘em a chop! This herb is also great for pickling (duh!), and can often be found in salad dressings, marinades, and various sauces. This is another one of those herbs that will take over your garden, so be sure to plant it in a pot!
Cilantro- We’ve come to my favorite herb! Did you know that this was voted the most controversial food ever? Apparently, you’re either a lover or a hater……..I’m a LOVER!!!!!!!!!!! (Let me know what you are!) Cilantro has such a bright, clean flavor, and is a staple in the Mexican, Asian, and Indian kitchen. Just treat this herb exactly like parsley when chopping it up. My Aunt Amy makes an awesome corn and black bean salsa with TONS of cilantro…………..it’s heaven! However good it may be in salsa and as a garnish, though, it’s even better in salads and tacos. It goes perfectly with fish, corn, and chicken, and I just can’t get enough of it! Did you know that you could even use the seeds of the cilantro plant, coriander? It just gets better and better!
Sage- Sage is another one of those real potent, strong-flavored herbs that I rarely use. When you smell it, you’ll probably think of Thanksgiving. That’s because Thanksgiving’s one of the few places it’s used. I always julienne the sage leaves by just plucking them from the stems, rolling them up, and giving them a quick slice. Sage goes really well with chicken and turkey, but also with gamier meats, like pheasant, or wild boar, or venison. Stuffings and dressings are also great places to throw this herb in. Just remember that a little goes a long way!
Terragon- I seldom use terragon, but it’s still a great herb! It has a sweet, licorice flavor similar to basil and is mainly used in béarnaise sauce. Just pull the leaves off the stem and chop them up finely. Steak and chicken are great places to use this herb and marinades are also a good spot. It’s exotic, fun, and something that you have to try for yourself!
Chervil- Chervil is closely related to parsley and is very mild in flavor. You chop and use it in the same way as parsley and is used in a lot of French cooking. Omelets, soups, salads, poultry, seafood, and vegetables are what it works best in and it has a faint taste of sweet licorice. Next time you’re at your local farmer’s market or produce stand, look and see if they have it! It’s a fantastic herb.
Marjoram- This is a citrusy, piney herb that can sometimes be used in place of basil. It’s a relatively new herb in my kitchen, and I haven’t cooked with it much. Just strip the leaves off the stem and mince them when using it. It’s usually used in Mediterranean dishes and is similar in flavor to oregano. It’s also used in Middle Eastern and French cooking. This is something that you can experiment with and let me know what you come up with!
Scallions- Sometimes called green or spring onions, these are pretty self-explanatory. They’re very similar to chives, and when using them, chop off the roots and the very tops. Then, just slice everything in between. They are interchangeable with chives and add a lovely, mild onion flavor to salads, soup garnishes, and pastas.
Bay leaves- These are the only dried herbs I use because fresh ones are hard to find in North Texas. I just throw them whole into soups, stews, braising liquids, and water I use to cook rice in, and then pull them out later on. They really do make a huge difference in the flavor of whatever it is you’re cooking!
See, herbs aren’t that intimidating! They’re very easy to use and I know that’ll you love them in every dish you put them in! Just remember, catnip is not an herb that you want to eat! It’s only good for cats! Happy Cooking!