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Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

Published December 22, 2014 by Ch'kara

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

A cheery and bright red wine sangria filled with strawberry and pomegranate. 

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

CHEERS! We’re here. The Friday before Christmas. I have no clue where this past month went. Oh, that’s right. I spent most of it holed up in my kitchen baking the world cookies and toffee and cupcakes. When I finally took a break from butter and sugar and frosting, I made a pitcher of this sangria for date night. Date nights are still going strong! It feels good to forget about technology one night a week. Says a full-time blogger who even has an IG account for her dog. Typical.

We drank an embarrassing amount of this ourselves as we put up our tree. Merry Christmas indeed!

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

If you’re looking to entertain these last couple weeks of the year and not just drink at home by yourself – that’s ok too – then you have to try this sweet, yet tart sangria. It’s perfectly fruity and festive and uses two of my favorite fruits.

The sangria was much better than I expected it to be. Sure, I knew it would be tasty because I love all things wine (hello sign that I need), but the sweet strawberries paired with pomegranate juice and my favorite pinot noir? Magical. It tastes like sparkling pomegranate juice with strawberry.

Here’s the pinot noir I use. And no, this brand has no idea I exist. But if they’re reading… hi… I love your wine. I find it everywhere, it’s inexpensive, smooth, and tasty on its own.

Wine for Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

You don’t have to use pinot noir. If you’re more of a Cabernet drinker or if a Spanish red like Tempranillo is your sangria wine of choice – you may absolutely use one of those instead. If white wine is your favorite, that’s a great option too. However, keep in mind that a sweeter white wine, such as Reisling, may make the sangria a little too sweet. I use red because I find it pairs well with pomegranate. But play around with what you like; this sangria recipe is very forgiving.

Not Something I love about sangria is that it feels fancy, but it’s one of the easiest big-batch cocktails you can throw together. And sangria always impresses! Only 5 ingredients total: strawberries, pomegranate arils (the juicy seeds), pom juice, wine, and club soda. The club soda is key! Kevin and I found that the sangria was a little… dull… without it. The POP of club soda really brightens the whole glass up. I would avoid sweetened fizzy drinks like tonic or sprite; the sangria may be a little too sweet with it. Make sure you add the club soda right before serving because it will lose its fizz otherwise.

You can use any variety of pomegranate juice you can find. The most easily available pom juice is POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. They don’t know I exist either. I see this stuff everywhere and it’s really, really good. I know that Ocean Spray makes a cranberry pomegranate juice which would be just as tasty too.

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

My #1 sangria tip: Sangria gets better and better as it sits, so make it ahead of time. That’s the beauty of this cocktail! The more time the strawberries and teeny tiny arils have to infuse their juices, the better. I usually make sangria in the morning before I need it in the evening. You can make it the night before, too. If pouring wine at 6am isn’t your ideal way to start the day. (Uh, why not???)

My favorite part about this sangria is eating the wine infused strawberries when you’re all done. Strawberry pomegranate sangria is the merry little drink that keeps on giving.

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria Recipe-- this is so easy to throw together and it's dangerously good. Tastes like sparkling pomegranate strawberry juice!

After a long week, I can’t think of anything better. Holidays, strawberries, wine.

Strawberry Pomegranate Sangria

A cheery and bright red wine sangria filled with strawberry and pomegranate.

Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb strawberries, sliced plus more for garnish
  • arils (the seeds) from 1 pomegranate
  • 2 (750ml) bottles red wine*
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice*
  • club soda, to taste

Directions:

Place the sliced strawberries and arils in a large pitcher. Add wine and pomegranate juice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 6 – 24 hours. Taste; if you’d like it to be sweeter, add 1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, honey, or agave.

Pour the sangria with fruit into glasses and add a splash of club soda to each glass (this unsweetened fizz is excellent with the sangria!). Garnish with a strawberry, if desired. Feel free to add ice to your glasses of sangria. Do not add ice directly to the pitcher – this waters the sangria down. Which, clearly, we don’t want! Cheers.

*Use your favorite red wine. I like to use Pinot Noir or a Spanish red wine like Tempranillo. I prefer red wine in this sangria. However, if white wine is your favorite, that’s a great option too. Keep in mind that a sweeter white wine, such as Reisling, may make the sangria a little too sweet. 

*The most easily available pom juice is POM Wonderful pomegranate juice; I see it all the time in grocery stores. I know that Ocean Spray makes a cranberry pomegranate juice which would be just as tasty.

*Traditional sangria often includes brandy, but I did not care for its addition in this sangria. If you’d like to add some, go ahead.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Cooking with a Wallflower

Published December 17, 2014 by Ch'kara

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Rich hot chocolate with the refreshing taste of peppermint in every sip. Topped with whipped cream and crushed candy cane, this peppermint hot chocolate is perfect for the cold winter holiday.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Peppermint hot chocolate is the highlight of my winter. I wait patiently every year for the holiday season so that I can indulge in peppermint, well, everything. Peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint mocha, peppermint cupcakes, peppermint cookies, peppermint candy canes. I think you get my point.

Does anyone else feel the same way?

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

So obviously I have to share a peppermint something with you. So why not start with one of my favorites: peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candy cane.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

I love hot chocolate. I mean, it’s chocolate as a beverage. What’s not to like?

But when you add the taste of peppermint into rich hot chocolate?

Can I have seconds please (maybe thirds and fourths too)?

This peppermint hot chocolate is rich, creamy, and absolutely addictive. I’ve had it three times already. And I’m ready for more.

With very little work required, you can make yourself a fresh mug to keep yourself warm and cozy. Then you can top it with as much whipped cream as your heart desires. And sprinkle with crushed candy canes for a Christmas-y look.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

You know how they always make the whipped cream nice for you at Starbucks? Or any coffee shop?

Confession! I always order my drinks with whipped cream, but I never eat it or mix it in. I just let it sit on top because it makes my drinks look pretty.

Which was the idea behind the whipped cream on my hot chocolate. Except when I tried to , it went in every direction and not at all how I pictured it. Apparently, I have no skills in handling whipped cream from a can. Sadly.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate 5

In a small pot, add milk and half and half or heavy whipping cream. It depends on your preference. If you use heavy whipped cream, the hot chocolate will be creamier. Bring the milk to a simmer.

In a small bowl, add unsweetened cacao and sugar. Add a few spoonfuls of warm milk to the bowl and mix until you create a chocolate paste.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Use a spatula to scoop the chocolate paste into the warm milk. Next, add semi sweet chocolate chips and peppermint bits. I used Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. Whisk the ingredients until all the chocolate has melted.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Top with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candy cane. I placed a candy cane into a bag and smashed it with a hammer. Then I sprinkled it over the whipped cream.

Enjoy!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate | Cooking with a Wallflower

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

 

Prep time  3 mins      Cook time  5 mins        Total time       8 mins
Rich hot chocolate with the refreshing taste of peppermint in every sip. Topped with whipped cream and crushed candy cane, this peppermint hot chocolate is perfect for the cold winter holiday.
Author: Andrea Giang
Recipe type: Beverage     Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup half and half or heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint chips
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Crushed candy cane (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a small pot, add milk and half and half or heavy whipping cream. Allow them to simmer over low heat.
  2. While the milk is heating, add unsweetened cocoa powder and granulated sugar into a small bowl. Add a few spoonful of warm milk into the bowl and mix until it become a chocolate paste.
  3. Use a spatula to scrape the chocolate paste into the pot of milk. Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the peppermint baking chips into the pot. Stir to mix all the ingredients until the chocolate has completely melted.
  4. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane bits.
  5. Serve warm.

Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts Hash

Published December 9, 2014 by Ch'kara

Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts Hash

by Andrea| Cooking with a Wallflower // December 5, 2014

Brussel Spouts Hash

Creamy butternut squash, crispy bacon bits, and sliced Brussels sprouts together in one delicious sweet and savory dish. This butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash is perfect for weekend brunch.

Sometimes it’s just a happy accident that certain ingredients end up together and work so well. This dish is one of those happy accidents.

I had leftover butternut squash from attempting a new recipe, some Brussels sprouts, and a brand new package of bacon. Individually, I liked each ingredient so I thought it might work together as one dish. Keyword: might. Because I wasn’t sure that all the different flavors would complement each other. I’m soo glad I tried it.

I love the sweet and savory components of this dish. Butternut squash is naturally creamy and sweet, but have you had it with maple syrup? It’s seriously amazing with added flavor. Add in some Brussels sprouts for a slightly bitter taste and crisp texture. Mix in crispy bacon and you have your savory component.

For those of you who hate Brussels sprouts, you can go ahead and leave the Brussels sprouts out. Butternut squash plus bacon is a great combination too. =)

First, cook your favorite brand of bacon in a small skillet. I try to look for brands that have less fat. Most of the time, I use turkey bacon, but the disadvantage of that is it’s less crispy and it takes a bit longer to cook.

Once the bacon strips are crispy, remove them from the skillet and allow them to drain on a paper towel on a plate.

Pour out the bacon grease from the skillet. The surface of the skillet will be lightly greased, and you can use that to cook with if you like for the smoky bacon flavor. If you prefer not to, you can clean the skillet and add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium to high heat.

Add the cubed butternut squash into the skillet, and cook them for about 5-7 minutes until the butternut squash has softened. The outside of the butternut squash will be softer than the inside, and that’s okay because you’ll continue to cook it.

Once the butternut squash has started to soften, add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet. Cook the Brussels sprouts with the butternut squash for 5 minutes or so until the Brussels sprouts have softened.

Crumble up the bacon strips into small pieces. Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon for topping. Add the rest of them to the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. The crispy bacon will add both flavor and texture.

Drizzle about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and mix with a spatula to evenly incorporate the maple syrup.

Place the butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash onto a plate, and top with the rest of the bacon.

Serve the butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash warm.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts Hash

 Brussel Spouts Hash1

Prep time       15 mins              Cook time     15 mins      Total time     30 mins

Creamy butternut squash, crispy bacon bits, and sliced Brussels sprouts together in one delicious sweet and savory dish. This butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash is perfect for weekend brunch.

Author: Andrea Giang

Serves: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
  • 5 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In a small skillet, cook the bacon until they become crispy. Transfer the bacon onto a napkin lined plate and allow them to drain.
  2. Pour out the bacon grease from the skillet. The skillet will be lightly greased. This will give the dish a smoky bacon taste. However, you can also clean the skillet and add vegetable oil instead.
  3. Add butternut squash to the skillet over medium to high heat. Allow the butternut squash to cook for about 5-7 minutes until it has softened. The outside will be softer than the inside.
  4. Once the butternut squash has softened, add the Brussels sprouts. Cook the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash for another 5-7 minutes. The Brussels sprouts will become tender.
  5. Break the crispy bacon into small pieces. Reserve about two tablespoons, and add the rest to the skillet.
  6. Drizzle the maple syrup into the skillet and use a spatula to evenly incorporate the ingredients.
  7. Transfer the butternut squash, bacon, and Brussels sprouts hash to plates. Top with the reserved bacon.
  8. Serve the hash warm.

 

Reindeer Poop

Published December 8, 2014 by Ch'kara

Ok here is a fun recipe for you.  I saw it on a cooking show and tried it, and I have to say yummo.  I made some and gave it to friends and they all loved it. The photo is from the batch I made.

Reindeer Poop

2014-12-08 12.41.17Ingredients

100g unsalted butter, chopped, room temperature

200g smooth peanut butter

200g icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar) I used Xylitol icing sugar as hubby is diabetic

¼ cup Dutch cocoa, sifted

1 ½ cups dry roasted peanut

300g good quality dark chocolate, chopped

1 /12 tablespoons (30g) copha

Extra Dutch cocoa to dust

Method

Put butter, peanut butter, icing/confectioners’ sugar and cocoa into a bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium, using paddle attachment for 10 minutes or until very light. Fold in peanuts. Spoon mixture into paper cake cases, make it uneven lumps. Refrigerate for about an hour until firm.

Put chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, make sure bowl doesn’t touch water (or melt in microwave). Remove from heat and whisk in copha.

Either dip peanut chunks into chocolate or pour some over them and return to refrigerator and chill.

Dust with extra cocoa if you would like.

I keep them in the fridge otherwise they go soft.

Cheesy Garlic & Rosemary Pull-Apart Bread

Published November 20, 2014 by Ch'kara

This is a totally awesome recipe.  We sometimes have it with a nice glass or three of wine.  Easy to make and better than anything you would buy ready made.

Cheesy Garlic & Rosemary Pull-Apart Bread

Pull Apart Bread

 Prep time   10 mins      Cook time   20 mins      Total time   30 mins

This is awesome garlic bread! Great to share with a crowd, or as a centre piece for dinner accompanied by a simple salad. Or just with an awesome glass of wine.

Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients

  • 1 crusty loaf, preferably sourdough or Vienna
  • 2 cups coarsely grated provolone (I use a pack from Perfect Italiano called 4 cheese melt)
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed (more if you want)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or other herbs if you prefer)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Melt butter and then mix in with other ingredients.
  3. Cut the bread on a diagonal into 2cm/1″ diamonds but do not cut all the way through the bread (just like you would cut a french stick for garlic bread).
  4. Use your fingers or a knife to pry open each crack and push in the mixture. It might sound like a bit of an effort, but I promise you it is worth it! You don’t need to be super neat, it’s nice to have some of the mixture drizzled over the crust.
  5. Wrap with foil and bake for 15minutes. Remove from oven, unwrap and bake for approx. 20 minutes more to make the bread nice and crusty.
  6. Serve hot or cold. It’s yummy either way.

Notes

  1. To make ahead, after wrapping with foil, wrap with cling wrap as well. Store in fridge overnight or freeze to store for longer. To cook, thaw then follow recipe instructions to bake.
    2. The denser the bread, the better the pieces will hold together when pulled off.
    3. Use already baked bread, not uncooked bread dough.

  Garlic Bread Nutrition

 

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Published November 18, 2014 by Ch'kara

Well I know most people are coming into winter, but here ‘down under’ we are in Spring and coming into Summer.   I made this awesome salad the other day, hope you try it.

Watermelon & feta salad

 

watermelonsalad1

serves 4-6

ingredients

rocket or baby kale

180g feta, crumbled
A bunch of mint (leaves only) for larger leaves tear up
500g watermelon flesh, cut into chunks
1 small red onion, finely sliced

For people who like olives you can add some.  My hubby doesn’t like them so I just put some on mine.

Lemon Dressing

60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Mix dressing into a jar and shake then drizzle over salad.  Serve.

Warm Brussel Sprout Salad

Published November 2, 2014 by Ch'kara

Reblogged from Cooking With a Wallflower    I love brussel sprouts so will definitely try this soon.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

This warm autumn Brussels sprouts salad is loaded with spinach leaves, sliced pears and apples, pomegranate seeds, sweet grape tomatoes, and persimmon, embodying the flavors of fall. Tossed together, this salad is both sweet and savory with no need for additional salad dressing.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

I cannot believe I didn’t discover Brussels sprouts earlier than I did.

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that people either really love or really hate. Which side are you on?

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

For years, I’ve heard about these infamous Brussels sprouts. I mean, seriously, when you watch a show on television, and kids are served Brussels sprouts, they always make that face, the one that says Ewww. Usually that’s a sign to stay the heck away. But I was always curious about these mini cabbage look-alikes. They certainly don’t look like they taste awful. So I wanted to try them for myself to see what all the fuss was about.

Several months ago, I stayed at school later than I had planned so I was starving with no extra food packed. Me + starving? Not a great combination.

I wandered over to the school cafeteria, which actually serves really good food. I especially love their salad bar because they have a huge range of ingredients for me to pick from. I can load up on all my favorite add-ons and just pay by weight. And interestingly, Brussels sprout was one of the ingredients I could pick. Never having them before, I figured this was the best time to try them. After all, it was probably the only time I could just try two or three. If I didn’t like them, it’s not much of a loss. Better than if I ordered a whole dish at a restaurant, discovered that I dislike them, and have to finish the entire plate, right?

I’m sure you know how that first taste went. Because here I am trying to convince you to try my Brussels sprouts salad, and we know I wouldn’t recommend something I don’t like, especially since I wouldn’t be cooking it in the first place.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

This warm autumn Brussels sprouts salad is easy to make, healthy, vegan, and gluten-free so it’s absolutely perfect for everyone. I mean, lightly sautéed Brussels sprouts seasoned with a bit of salt and lemon pepper then tossed with spinach leaves, sweet juicy grape tomatoes, and sliced pears, apples, and persimmon. To top it off, there’s a sprinkle of those gorgeous pomegranate seeds. What’s not to like when this salad is packed with the best fruits of autumn?

My salads always have to be loaded with ingredients. I can’t eat them any other way. I like salads colorful and filled with flavor and texture. And nothing describes this salad better than that.

I’ll be sharing this at Fiesta Friday over at the Novice Gardener.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

First, wash the spinach and allow them to dry.

Cut the stems off the Brussels sprouts. Remove the outer leaves. Once you get close to the center, you won’t be able to remove any more. Slice the center of the Brussels sprouts in half. I like having the Brussels sprouts in different sizes and shapes.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Wash the leaves carefully because sometimes the inner leaves are also covered in dirt. Dry the Brussels sprouts.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Add olive oil to a medium sized pan over medium to high heat. You should add the sliced Brussels sprouts centers first because they take longer to cook. After about a minute or two, add in the leaves.

Use a spatula to stir the Brussels sprouts to cook them evenly until they become lightly browned. Season the Brussels sprouts with lemon pepper and salt. I love the combination of lemon pepper with Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts by themselves and undercooked can be a bit bitter. But if you cook them through so that there’s a slight browning, then season them with lemon pepper to give that citrus zing? It’s addictive. In a good way, of course.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Place the Brussels sprouts in the same plate as the spinach leaves and toss them together until the spinach leaves are wilted. The heat from the Brussels sprouts will help soften the spinach without overcooking them.

Add slices of apples, pears, persimmon, and grape tomatoes to the salad. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds onto the salad. Toss the salad until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Serve the salad warm or cold.

Enjoy!

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad | Cooking with a Wallflower

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Warm Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

This warm autumn Brussels sprouts salad is loaded with spinach leaves, sliced pears and apples, pomegranate seeds, sweet grape tomatoes, and persimmon, embodying the flavors of fall. Tossed together, this salad is both sweet and savory with no need for additional salad dressing.

Ingredients

2 cups spinach leaves

3-4 large Brussels sprouts (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon lemon pepper

A dash of salt, more to taste

1 persimmon, sliced

½ apple, sliced

½ pear, sliced

½ cup pomegranate seeds

Favorite dressing if desired

Directions

Slice the stem from the Brussels sprouts, separate the outer leaves, and slice the center of Brussels sprouts in half.

Add olive oil to a medium sized pan over medium to high heat. Allow the oil to heat for about a minute before adding the Brussels sprouts. Cook the Brussels sprouts until they become lightly brown and seared. Season them with lemon pepper and salt.

Once the Brussels sprouts are ready, toss them with the spinach leaves until the leaves start to soften and wilt.

Add the persimmon, apple, pear, and pomegranate. Toss the salad until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Serve the salad warm or cold.

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