Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chocolate Granola

My beautiful sister gave me a wonderful Christmas gift, a new cookbook: Food and Wine Best of the Best.  I already have a favorite recipe that I have made numerous times. The recipe is by Valerie Gordon from her book Sweet.  Joel eats it on ice cream and I love to snack on it plain.

Chocolate Granola

Ingredients (original recipe called for sea salt, more chocolate, hazelnuts, and vanilla paste)

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup cocoa nips
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
2 tea vanilla extract
1 sea salt Lindt bar


Mix oats, almonds and nips in a bowl. In smaller bowl mix cocoa powder, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and oil.  Once the wet ingredients are mixed well add to dry and mix together. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets with Silpad. Bake 250 degrees for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. It should look crisp and golden (nuts).  Immediately throw into a large bowl and mix with the broken up Lindt bar. Let chocolate bar melt then mix together. Let cool on pan. Can be stored in mason jar for weeks..but it will not last that long.

Tuscan Pasta Sauce

I stumbled upon a fun blog called Mel's Kitchen Cafe and found this great quick recipe for pasta. I added spinach because I love everything spinach. It was a good addition. Mel has something fun..she has a BEST link. It links to all of her favorites or "best" of the best recipes in her collection. It is very clever.

 Tuscan Pasta

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed
  • Diced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil for topping (optional)
  • I added a huge handful of fresh spinach
  1. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the dried basil. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Over medium heat, add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency, 5-10 minutes. (Then I threw in the spinach and cooked till wilted.) Serve over hot, cooked noodles.