Mexican Grilled Corn

 I love grilling season and since I live in Florida that’s pretty much all year. It wasn’t always that way. I used to live up north in the frozen tundra of Michigan which has about 6 months of normal grilling season (unless you’re one of those die-hards who grills from your garage after you’re done snow blowing the driveway).  It’s also where I first tried the most amazingly flavorful take on corn on the cob known as Mexican Grilled Corn or Street Corn, or if you want to get real; Elote. I had always eaten corn on the cob with butter and salt; never like this. Recently I saw Mexican Grilled Streat Corn as an appetizer at a local Mexican restaurant and wanted to make it at home. I had pinned this pin for Mexican Grilled Corn by Veronica of The Vegetarian Ginger and was ready to try it.
Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn
It’s time to do this Pintesting.

The Pintesting

The ingredients include grilled corn, spices, mayonnaise, and cheese.

Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn
First, brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then grill it until it’s done, turning it every few minutes so that it cooks evenly; for a total of about 10 minutes or so. My HH did this part since he’s our grillmaster.

Mayonnaise? Yes, mayo. If you’ve never tried this just trust me on this. It’s how this is done.

Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn

Slather a good coat of mayonnaise on the corn like butter.

Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn
 Coat the corn well so that the seasoning blend will stick.
Pintesting Mexican Grilled CornBlend the mixture of spices and then sprinkle all sides of the corn as liberally as you’d like. Don’t worry if it looks like a lot; the seasoning blend is more flavorful than spicy hot.
Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn
 Finish by sprinkling all sides of the corn with the grated Parmesan cheese. Go ahead and coat it well.
Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn
This is going to get all over your fingers – and you’re going to be very glad about that. This tastes so good! We were making all kinds of Mmm and Yum sounds while we ate.

The 2nd Pintesting:

I made this again within a week, except this time I used the more traditional Cotija cheese. It’s a Mexican hard crumbly cow’s milk cheese described as similar to both parmesan and feta. It crumbled easily onto the corn and I can see why it’s perfect for Elote.

Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn

Notice the little shaker of the spice blend above the cotija? We liked the first Pintesting results so much that we mixed the blend ahead to use whenever we want to grill some Mexican Street Corn.

Pintesting Mexican Grilled Corn

This time I only got a picture of one because they disappeared as soon as I could make them. Something about hungry people wanting delicious food. My HH likes the Cotija cheese better – he says it’s creamier than the parmesan and he is not wrong.

A few notes on this Pintesting:
  • DON’T mix everything and then spread it on the corn. Read the recipe directions thoroughly and follow the steps or you’ll have an unpleasant mess.
  • DO let a grill master grill the corn for you while you assemble the remaining ingredients if you have someone else doing the grilling.
  • DO be as subtle or generous with the spice mixture and cheese as you’d like. I was moderate with the seasoning and heavier with the cheese.
  • DO use either the Parmesan or Cotija cheese – or even a mixture if you’d like. They’re both delicious. My HH likes the Cotija better – he says it’s creamier.
  • DO have a napkin ready but feel free to lick your fingers.

The Pintesting Results

Overall Results: 4.85 Pins
Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy:  This recipe turned out just like the Veronica said that it would and it tasted just like the Mexican Grilled Street Corn that I remember from the street vendors. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins
Difficulty:  The directions were clear and easy to follow. Grill. Schmear. Blend. Sprinkle. Sprinkle. Eat. However, since there is open flame involved I’m giving this 4 Pins.
Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins
Time:  The total time for this was about 20 minutes including the corn shucking, grilling, and seasoning. It times out well if you’re grilling burgers, kabobs, steak, or anything else. 5 Pins
Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins
Cost:  Corn on the cob is very inexpensive in the summer. I got 5 ears of corn for $2. The mayonnaise and spices were already in my cupboard and are common to most kitchens as is grated parmesan. The total cost for Veronica’s recipe with parmesan was less than $3 or $0.60 per serving. The cotija cheese was $5.49 for a bag that will make at least 10 recipes so it has no impact on the price per serving. 5 Pins
Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins
Practicality:  We have already made this 3 times since the first Pintesting and I’m sure we’ll make it often. Whichever cheese option you choose, this is great to serve with Mexican food, grilled food, as an appetizer, and it’s vegetarian, too. The spice blend can be adjusted to suit your taste and can be applied as lightly or as generously as you’d like. 5 Pins
Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Best Ever Waldorf Salad Recipe

Salads in summer is a classic combination, and one of the favorite salads in our home is the classic Waldorf Salad. Even though this salad has been around since the late 19th century it still ranks in the Top 10 of America’s favorite salads – and with good reason. The combination of flavors and textures is fabulous, it’s healthy without trying too hard, and it’s so easy to make! My HH likes this as a quick guilt-free snack and requested it the other day so I did a quick Pinterest search and found this Pin for the Best Ever Waldorf Salad Recipe by Daniela of My Gorgeous Recipes. I had to know the difference between my version and the “Best Ever” recipe so let’s get to the Pintesting.

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad - ORIGINAL PIN

Some interesting history on the Waldorf Salad: It came from the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1896 and was created by Oscar Tschirky who was not a chef but the dining room manager or “the maître d’hôtel.” It was a huge hit and has stayed on the menu ever since with a minor tweak. History can be delicious.

The Pintesting:

The ingredients include those of a traditional Waldorf Salad and added Greek yogurt to the dressing.

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

The salad ingredients are apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts. I was so happy to find the walnut pieces which I think are easier to mix into a salad.

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

Next add the dressing ingredients; lemon juice, mayo (I recommend using real mayonnaise instead of “salad dressing” for this), and Greek yogurt.

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

The variation that I had been making just used vanilla Greek yogurt which made it a little sweeter. The mayo and lemon juice gave a nice tanginess.

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

Now comes the hard part; toss everything together until it’s mixed well.

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

That’s it! You can chill it or serve it immediately (which is what we did).

Pintesting Best Ever Waldorf Salad

Normally Waldorf Salad is served on a bed of lettuce; this recipe uses spinach. However, we were going more for the snack version so we skipped this and just dug in. One of the things that I liked about this recipe is that it makes two very generous servings rather than a huge amount. You can easily be double or triple the recipe, but since it’s just the two of us we had four snack or side-salad servings.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy: Daniela’s recipe is the classic with a fresh update. The Greek Yogurt and lemon juice give a nice tang and lighten the heaviness of straight mayonnaise without compromising the original version. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: There is nothing hard about this recipe but it does require a bit of chopping. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: This recipe is very quick to put together. You can make it ahead of time but it’s not necessary to chill it to develop the flavor. That’s perfect for when you need something quick. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost: Although its origins are from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, a 5-star luxury historic hotel, this classic is inexpensive to make. The total cost was less than $2 for 4 snack/side-salad servings. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality: Whether for a snack, side dish, or light meal, the Best Ever Waldorf Salad Recipe is perfect for any salad occasion. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Honey Balsamic Chicken

It’s the new year and I have resolved to eat healthy – again – for about the 100th year in a row. Anyone else with me on this? Granted, I don’t eat terribly but I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be. But some meals make eating a healthy diet much easier. For example, I saw a video for Honey Balsamic Chicken on Facebook and a couple of days later this pin for the recipe by TipHero (inspired by Chungah of Damn Delicious) popped up on my Pinterest feed, too. They do seem to copy her recipes quite a bit, so if you’re not following Damn Delicious yet you just might want to.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

I really like the idea of a whole meal made on one sheet pan in the oven. (Hooray for fewer dishes!) I also like that the recipes used a variety of vegetables.

It’s worth noting that there were a few slight differences in the two recipes.

  1. The TipHero recipe uses green beans while the Damn Delicious recipe uses asparagus. We love asparagus in our home, so that’s what we went with.
  2. The honey balsamic marinade recipes had a few differences. TipHero’s used thyme, rosemary, and chili flakes while the Damn Delicious recipe used Dijon mustard, oregano, and basil.
  3. Chungah’s recipe also took less time to make – a big plus in my book.
  4. The TipHero recipe pours the marinade over the chicken and veggies prior to roasting; Damn Delicious didn’t. I went with TipHero on this step. More flavor is more better. (I beg forgiveness from the grammar police for that.)

The Pintesting:

I didn’t get a photo of all of the ingredients this time. What can I say? I was hungry. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of ingredients.

The first thing that I did was to make the marinade. I used a short-cut here and just dumped all of the marinade ingredients into the bag that the chicken came in and squished it until it was mixed, tossing the chicken in the marinade at the same time. Since my chicken breasts were still somewhat frozen I thought I’d let it defrost and soak up the flavor all at once. Also, since it’s just my HH and me I only used one whole chicken breast (two halves). This worked for us since the chicken breasts are very large and we like lots of veggies.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

While the chicken defrosted, I lined the pan with parchment and prepped the vegetables.

Quarter the potatoes then add the tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and season with salt and pepper.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Put the chicken on the pan and drizzle the remaining marinade on the veggies.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Roast for about 20 minutes then add the asparagus (I drizzled the asparagus with a little more extra virgin olive oil), then roast it for another 10 minutes. This was my timing compromise between the two recipes.

You don’t want to eat undercooked chicken! When in doubt check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. For chicken, this should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Done! Your dinner is done and the only dirty dishes are one pan, one cutting board, and one knife. Join me in the happy dance?

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

The chicken was juicy and flavorful. The tangy-sweet acidity of the tomatoes, starchy creaminess of the potatoes, and the bright crispy asparagus complimented each other, and the marinade brought it all home. YUM!

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

And now I have to say this. WINNER! WINNER! CHICKEN DINNER!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This recipe was as simple as the TipHero video showed it to be even though I followed Chungah’s recipe. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  This recipe was very simple – perfect for novice cooks. The prep work was minimal and the marinade made everything taste wonderful. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  The active time to prep and cook the recipe was 40 minutes. The chicken requires time to marinade (30 minutes to overnight). I did this ahead of time and let it marinade all afternoon. While it isn’t active cooking time, it’s still necessary to make the recipe turn out so I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  The cute little potatoes and grape tomatoes were both buy-one-get-one-free at the store when I got them. (I love shopping sales!) The total cost of all the main ingredients (not deducting for the sales) was $12.00. Even though we used only 2 chicken breast halves, we had 4 meals making this $3.00/serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  This is the kind of home cooking I could eat every week. It was simple, delicious, and planning ahead with the marinade made quick work of the cooking. Perfect for busy weeknights! You could experiment with using different kinds of vegetables such as green beans, carrots, Brussels sprouts, or whatever your family likes. You can also switch up the marinades – try the TipHero version for a more traditional herbed chicken flavor. This will be a regular in our menu rotation. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is over, the dishes are done, and even the leftovers are gone. This year I did something a little adventurous (or maybe crazy or even brave) and, with the exception of the turkey and my mother-in-law’s dressing, I made our entire Thanksgiving meal from Pinterest recipes. This is the first of the Thanksgiving Pintesting recipe reviews – the Sweet Potato Casserole.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

I’ll be honest; I didn’t see this initially on Pinterest. First I saw this TipHero video through my Facebook feed. I really like that TipHero gives credit to the original sources for their videos – just like they did for my Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake when they made it into a video. If you scroll down to the end of the recipe you’ll see the credit. When I went to their site for the recipe, I noticed that it gave credit for the recipe to Nikki’s blog Chef In Training so I went straight there and pinned her Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Don’t hate, but I find the mini marshmallows on so many sweet potato casserole recipes just too cloyingly sweet. If that’s your thing, then by all means, keep making your sweet potato casserole the way you prefer. But I should warn you – this recipe is now my go-to recipe. More on that later – for now here’s the Pintesting.

 The Pintesting:

The ingredients are pretty simple. Nikki used boiled sweet potatoes while TipHero used baked. I had a LOT of recipes to make so I went with baked since the oven was already on for the turkey.

Note: Multitasking is wise when you are making all of Thanksgiving dinner.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Mix until blended and smooth. I like that the baked sweet potatoes were cooked soft enough that I didn’t even have to get the mixer out.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Put into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and top with the streusel topping and bake it in a 350-degree oven.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

This is how it looked when it came out of the oven. It smelled incredible!

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

My HH proclaimed that this sweet potato casserole was better than pumpkin pie. He said it one of the best desserts that I’ve made. I let him know that it is a casserole and not a dessert. He disagrees and calls it dessert. We do agree that it’s delicious both warm and cold. It’s like a crustless sweet potato streusel pie. So if you can’t be bothered with making a pie crust or if you’re on a “diet” and can’t have dessert or if you just want an easy side dish with a lot of wow factor, this is the casserole for you!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.55 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This recipe performed exactly as Nikki (and TipHero) said it would.  5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: The directions from both the Chef In Training and TipHero recipes were quite simple and straight forward. I really liked that I didn’t have to get the mixer out for this – one less complication when juggling 4 recipes at once. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time: Since I baked the sweet potatoes while working on other recipes I had a tough time judging this. On one hand, it took about an hour to bake them which is a lot of time to add to a recipe. If I had boiled them it would probably have only added about 10-15 minutes. On the other hand, just the post baking time would shorten the prep time to only 5 and 25 minutes of baking time. Averaging out the 1 1/2 hours and 45 minutes that’s still over an hour so I’m giving this 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples. The pecans and sweet potatoes were all that I had to buy for this recipe and I only needed 2. The recipe makes a 9×13 inch casserole dish which is a LOT of casserole/dessert but due to the pecans and sweet potatoes, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  This has been a pleasantly surprising Pintesting. I was expecting a good sweet potato casserole. I wasn’t prepared for one that was not only easy but also delicious enough to be one of the high points of our Thanksgiving meal. I was planning on making a pumpkin flan for a dessert, but HH said to not bother and went for another serving of this sweet potato casserole. Bonus points for making my life easier. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Pintesting the Best of Italy with Pizza

October is NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH! Did you know this? I didn’t until the month was nearly over. Pintesting Monini Mutti Pizza I’ve wanted to do a pizza recipe post for quite some time but with so many unique kinds of pizza, I wasn’t sure which would be the best one to start with. There’s the Neapolitan style Margherita, the large thin crust New York style, the deep-dish Chicago style, the thick crusted square shaped Sicilian style, grilled pizza, French bread pizza, regional tomato pies, and so many variations of crusts, sauces, and topping… it’s a bit overwhelming. But then I thought about what Italian pizza from Naples would be like. While at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show, I was introduced to Italy’s favorite tomato company, Mutti, and their sister olive oil company, Monini. After tasting them I know why they’re the best of Italy. And now they’re coming to America so that you can cook with the best Italian ingredients, too!

2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Mutti Exhibit

Below are a few of the appetizers and even a dessert that was made using the Monini and Mutti products.

2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Mutti Collage

I was given some wonderful products to try at home including a ready-made pizza sauce and a squeeze bottle of olive oil that’s not supposed to drip. Let’s see what Italy’s favorites taste like on a pizza.

The Pintesting:

In our house, we normally make our own pizza dough, but on this busy weeknight I picked up a pack of pre-made crusts and our toppings will be cheese, sausage, and pepperoni.

Pintesting Monini & Mutti Pizza

I brushed the dough with the Monini olive oil in their new squeeze bottle. This is SO MUCH BETTER than having the olive oil drip onto the counter or down the side of the bottle. No Leaks! No Drips!

To really boost the flavor, I cut a garlic clove in half and then rubbed it on the oiled dough. If you love garlic but have trouble with heartburn, this is a great way to get that great taste and be gentle on your stomach.

Pintesting Monini & Mutti Pizza

To get real authentic Italian pizza flavor you need a real authentic Italian pizza sauce.

Pintesting Monini & Mutti Pizza

Cheese Please!

Then we added the toppings. The HH worked at a pizza place many years ago, so he does this part. The sausage is raw when put on the top of the pizza, but it will cook through while the pizza is cooking.

Pintesting Monini & Mutti Pizza

Then we baked it per the crust instructions.

Pintesting Monini & Mutti Pizza

This is how it looked when it came out of the oven. The sausage is perfectly cooked. The cheese is all melted. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool enough to taste it, so I’ll get one more picture while I wait.

Pintesting Monini & Mutti Pizza

The Results:

So THIS is what pizza in Italy tastes like… Monini & Mutti made this pizza incredible. The no-drip squeeze bottle really worked; there was no olive oil anywhere it wasn’t supposed to be. The pizza sauce was very fresh and tasted like real tomatoes – not overprocessed or artificial. I can see why they are the favorites in Italy. The good news is that both of these products will soon be available at grocery stores across the U.S. so watch for them!

The Recipe:

Pizza

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 Pizzas (using the 2 mini crusts)

Pizza

Ingredients

  • Pizza crust of choice (I used Boboli Mini Original Pizza Crusts, but you can use home-made)
  • Monini Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic clove, cut in half
  • Mutti Pizza Sauce
  • 8-oz Mozzarella, shredded
  • Toppings of choice

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven per your crust instructions (450 degrees for the Boboli crust).
  2. Place crust(s) on a baking sheet.
  3. Brush 1-2 teaspoons of Monini Olive Oil on the crust to coat evenly.
  4. Rub the garlic clove all over the crust for great flavor.
  5. Spread the Mutti Pizza Sauce in an even layer on the crust.
  6. Top with shredded mozzarella and toppings.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Notes

Pizza is personal, so you can use whatever kind of crust and toppings you like to make it completely your own.

http://pintesting.com/pintesting-the-best-of-italy-with-pizza/

 

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

When I was a college freshman living 700 miles away from home and “independent” for the first time in my life, I felt that I was seriously underfunded – as most freshmen do. I had a nice dorm room with a great roommate, a cafeteria card that would provide all the cafeteria food that I cared to eat, and all my needs were more than met. But that’s not the same as having spending money to go hang out with my friends (never mind that I was supposed to be studying). Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieOne day I was feeling rather homesick, so I made Chocolate Chip Cookies in our dorm kitchen. I had girls rushing in offering to buy the cookies (and cookie dough). That was my Aha! moment. I found out that two hours of serious cookie making in the cafeteria during their down time on Saturday afternoons could turn my $20/week allowance into $80 or more, and got me the nickname, Betty Crocker.

Since then I’ve made hundreds of dozens of cookies, but I’m always looking for a way to improve upon the standard. I’ve tried chilling the dough, using different kinds of flours, using different kinds of chocolate, and so many other tips. So when I saw this recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, I was rather sceptical. . . until I saw the source – America’s test Kitchen.

I’ve watched their PBS show, Cook’s Country, for years and I have a subscription to their magazine, Cook’s Illustrated. For those who don’t know, they test recipes, ingredients, gadgets, and products. Per their website, “we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.”

Well, I’m accepting the challenge to see if theirs really is The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. Let the Pintesting begin!

Pintesting Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - ORIGINAL PIN

The Pintesting:

They make several changes to the original Toll House cookie recipe, so please go to their recipe to read the logic and science behind the changes.

One of the biggest differences is that instead of creaming softened butter with sugars, this recipe starts by browning most of the butter to develop the butterscotch notes and deepen the flavor.

You can see how the butter melts and then browns below. Then the browned butter is added to and melts the remaining butter.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Melt Butter Collage

Whisk the sugars, salt, and vanilla with the melted butter and then add the egg. Even here they modified the recipe from 2 eggs to 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk. They have their reasons – just go with it.

Now walk away for 3 minutes.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Sugars & Salt

Whisk and wait for 3 minutes two more times. This allows the sugars to completely dissolve rather than having a grainy creamed mixture.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Whisk & Wait

You can see that the mixture is satiny smooth. No graininess in these cookies.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Flour Mixture

Next, stir in the flour and baking soda mixture.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Dough

Here’s the dough made without a mixer. Doesn’t it look like peanut butter?

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Nuts & Chips

Add the chocolate and *optional* nuts. My HH LOVES chocolate chip cookies with nuts and he chose pecan pieces this time.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Cookie Dough

Oh. My. Gosh. Just look at that dough. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

I scooped it for uniformity, as I usually do with cookie dough, and baked them in a 375-degree oven.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Baking

Even without chilling the cookies didn’t melt into flat cookie pancakes. I was so happy to see that they had nice volume and height.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Done

And after the torture of waiting for them to cool (because cookies don’t taste as good when they’ve melted the flesh from the roof of your mouth), they did recede a little. But only just a little.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Closeup

You need to try these cookies. The flavor and texture are beyond what I could have imagined from a humble chocolate chip cookie.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

And now for the Pintesting results – and a large glass of milk.

The Results:

OVERALL RESULTS:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  The recipe promised cookies that are “moist and chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges, with deep notes of toffee and butterscotch to balance its sweetness,” and this cookie definitely delivered. The taste and texture were incredible. My HH gave it 500 pins so I’m giving it 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: This recipe involved browning the butter, but because the butter was melted no mixer was needed. If it’s easier to just mix in the bowl, then I think it’s just all-around easier. But because there is the extra step of browning the butter, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  Most cookie recipes require a minimum of an hour to make and bake (not including dishes). This includes 30 minutes (give or take) to soften the butter, a minimum of 5 minutes of creaming time, and chilling time (30 minutes to overnight) in order to keep the cookies from going flat in the oven. But this recipe uses melted butter and although there were roughly 10 minutes of mix/wait time, they went straight from the mixing bowl to the oven and the cookies maintained a nice thickness. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost: There were no weird, unique, or specialty ingredients to pull off these cookies. Most of the ingredients are common to most kitchens, so I’m giving this 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  These are ridiculously delicious cookies when they come out of the oven. They were still moist, chewy, crispy, and delicious four days later. (They’re big cookies and it’s just the two of us.) This is now my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Pintesting Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

This is the post that wasn’t going to be and then wrote itself. I made the cake and took some pictures, but didn’t really intend on doing a proper Pintesting – until I shared the pics. The response was mind blowing, so here’s the post complete with my first recipe.

The Pintesting:

It started with this picture of a pineapple upside down cake in a bundt pan on Pinterest. Because it’s my HH’s favorite cake, I wanted to surprise him with this.

Pintesting Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Sadly, the link went to a picture. Can we take a moment to talk about responsible pinning here? Check the pins before repinning them, folks.

I did a search for an original source, but only came back to the same picture that was on Pinterest.

UPDATE: I found the original source for the picture! Her name is Tina Carver, this is her original idea, and she is very happy that her cake is getting so much fame. 😀

Pintesting Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Luckily, the picture was enough this time. Pineapple upside down cake traditionally starts with melted butter and brown sugar, then an arranged layer of the pineapple and maraschino cherries, over which the cake mix is poured. When the cake is baked and inverted onto the serving plate, then you see the design of the fruit. This is no different other than it’s in a bundt pan, and the pineapple rings are halved and arranged vertically.

I wanted to ensure that the cake would come out of the bundt pan cleanly, so I really greased the pan with my favorite pan release. (The recipe will follow.) I used a stick of melted butter and sprinkled a half-cup of brown sugar on top of it, then alternated the halved  pineapple rings and cherries. I think it turned out just like the original picture.

Pintesting Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Substituting pineapple juice and milk for the liquid and adding a box of instant vanilla pudding makes this cake incredibly moist and flavorful.  The cake batter gets poured on top, and then the cake gets baked, cooled, and flipped.

And let me tell you, you’re going to flip for this cake.

Pintesting Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Normally I give my Pintesting results at the end of each post, and this would get 5 Pins. Instead, I’m sharing my recipe. Enjoy!

The Recipe:

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 1 Cake = 17-18 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Can pineapple rings in 100% juice (reserve the juice)
  • 1 Jar maraschino cherries
  • 1 Box yellow or pineapple cake mix
  • 1 4-serving box instant vanilla pudding
  • 3 eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the bundt pan by generously applying pan release (recipe below) or non-stick spray.
  3. Melt the butter and evenly pour into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  4. Cut the pineapple rings in half and alternate with the maraschino cherries around the bundt pan as shown in the picture. Set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer or large bowl, stir the cake mix and pudding mix together. Drain the pineapple juice into a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 Cup of liquid. Add this with the eggs and the amount of oil called for in the recipe to the cake mixture; following the instructions on the box.
  6. Carefully pour the batter over the fruit. Place the bundt pan on a baking sheet and bake as instructed for a bundt cake on the cake mix box. The cake is done when an inserted knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Slide a knife around the edges including the inner ring.
  8. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Slice between the pineapple rings and serve warm or room temperature.

Notes

Several people have commented that they had the butter and brown sugar overflow their bundt pans causing a big mess in the oven. Just say no to messes. Make sure to put the bundt pan on a baking sheet.

Also, use the baking time for a bundt cake that's listed on the cake mix directions. This will vary by brand. My times are approximate - go by the box.

In order to prevent problems with the cake being too moist, soft, or cracking, cover the pan with foil half way through baking and then uncovering for the last 10 minutes. This will also keep it from over browning. (Thank you, Barbara!)

http://pintesting.com/pintesting-pineapple-upside-down-bundt-cake/

Best Ever Pan Release: from I Am Baker

Mix equal parts of vegetable shortening, vegetable oil, and all-purpose flour until smooth. Using a pastry brush or paper towel, apply to the pans paying special attention to corners, nooks, and crannies.

 

 

Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

I’m a Daddy’s Girl. Always have been, always will be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom very dearly, and as I get older, I see the best parts of her in me. I know I’m blessed beyond words to have the parents that I do. But daddy was the first man in my life, and he set a very high bar as a standard for what to look for in a man. Even though it’s been more than 10 years since he’s walked this earth, I still get excited on his birthday. The quirky little memorable things are what I love to celebrate. He loved God, his family, Tab (does anyone remember that diet cola before there was Diet Coke or Pepsi?), butter pecan ice cream, Fritos & bean dip, mom’s chili when it was so spicy that the steam would peel paint, and he always seemed happy.

His favorite canned soup was Bean & Bacon. I’m pretty sure that Campbell’s has changed the recipe over the years, because it just doesn’t taste the same, nor does it have the same texture. Our family has been avoiding canned soups since they’re usually high in sodium and other “stuff” that we don’t want as a part of our diet. So when I saw this pin for Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup by Deborah of Taste and Tell, I looked up and smiled into the heavens and told dad that I was going to make this for him.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

You know how they say that girls usually marry a man like their dad? Yes! My HH is like my dad in so many ways – including a love of butter pecan ice cream, Fritos & bean dip, HE makes the chili, and he used to drink Tab. And guess what his favorite canned soup is. Go on – guess… Yup! So with my HH cheering me on, and daddy watching from above, let’s get on with this Pin Test!

The Pintesting:

There aren’t a lot of ingredients, which means that the flavors come from simple ingredients and should shine through (I hope).

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

 

Cook the bacon until it’s rendered a good amount of fat and is nice and crispy.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Remove the bacon and most of the drippings, leaving a couple of tablespoons of the rendered fat to give flavor and to cook the mirepoix. (That’s equal parts of onions, carrots, and celery.) I seasoned with salt and pepper at this stage rather than waiting until the end. Once the aromatics are softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Add the beans and broth and let it cook for an hour. The recipe says to remove half of the soup and blend in a blender or food processor. That makes a lot of extra dishes and (in my world) potentially puts me in harm’s way. Instead, I used my immersion blender to pulse it enough times that it looks like it was about half blended and half whole beans and veggies.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Add the tomato sauce and 3/4 of the bacon, and let it heat through for another 5 minutes or so.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Serve and garnish with the reserved bacon.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

You can’t really see the beans in the bowl because they sink to the bottom and are covered by the broth, but they’re there. (Did you catch that beautifully correct grammar?) I have to say that daddy would have loved this soup – probably a lot more than the canned variety. I know the HH and I did. It was hearty, flavorful, and filling without being heavy. I liked that I could control the sodium levels (and add more bacon garnish, if I want to). So now for the Pintesting results.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.7 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This soup brought back the memory of how the canned name-sake in my past used to taste. It was like a time machine in a bowl. The flavors were spot-on, and the texture was creamy and rich. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  The steps weren’t hard, but it’s not something for kids in the kitchen. Cooking bacon can cause grease burns from the popping and splattering if you have the heat too high. Also, the extra step of blending half of the soup, while necessary, comes with its risks. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: The prep work only took about 20 minutes, but then add an hour of simmering time after that, plus one more time of heating it through and you’re looking at 1 1/2 hours to make from start to finish. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost: This is a great soup if you’re on a budget. The most expensive ingredient was the bacon, which I got on sale for less than $5, and I had leftover bacon for BLTs. I had the rest of the ingredients on hand and the cans of beans were only about $1 each. We can estimate the total cost at $10. The recipe says 4 servings, but the HH and I got 6 good-sized servings from the pot of soup. That’s less than $2 per serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

 

Practicality: If you like bacon, or have fond memories of bean and bacon soup, or if you like soup, this is a must-try recipe. My HH and I love this recipe, now one of our favorites, and I’ve made it twice now. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Mini Peach Cobblers

My husband loves peach cobbler. It’s one of his all time favorite desserts. When I saw this pin for Mini Peach Cobblers, I knew I had to make it for him. I’m very fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful man to call my husband, and love to spoil him in little ways like this. Much of my love comes from the kitchen. Last week he had a rough work day, so we had pan-seared scallops and steak for supper with steamed veggies and a Greek salad. On a Tuesday – just because. He felt the love.

My wonderful husband spoils me by cleaning the house. The man is gifted at cleaning. I mean, he puts Mr. Clean to shame. He can do in one hour what takes me all morning. So tell me, who wouldn’t make peach cobbler for the man who cleans? That ‘s what I thought. He was very excited about this pin test, so let’s get to it.

The original pin was by Melissa from Sugar Derby, who was guest posting on Alli’s blog, Alli-N-Son.

http://www.alli-n-son.com/2011/06/02/mini-peach-cobblers/

http://www.alli-n-son.com/2011/06/02/mini-peach-cobblers/

The Pintesting:

The ingredients called for a can of diced peaches. Melissa tells a funny story regarding this difficult-to-find ingredient, but I had no problem finding them at my grocer.

Ingredients

First I mixed the dry ingredients and combined with the milk until smooth. Melissa says to use a wooden spoon. I used a whisk and the results were perfect.

Mix until Smooth

I added the melted butter to the muffin pans, then topped with the batter.

Melted butter and batter in muffin cups

Next came the peaches, followed by a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Add peaches then sprinkle

The amount of brown sugar and cinnamon was omitted and left to the discretion of the cook. I did half with a lighter sprinkle and half with a heavy “sprinkle” to see if there would be a noticeable difference. We couldn’t taste a difference, but noticed that the cobblers with a more generous sprinkle were more nicely browned when baked.

I should note that the recipe yields 12 minis, but I had quite a bit of leftover melted butter and batter. I would recommend using 4-6 TBS of butter rather than the whole stick, and evenly divide up any additional batter.

Leftover butter & batter

I baked in a 350 degree pre-heated oven and set the timer for 12 minutes. Nothing was mentioned about using a convection oven, so I went with the conventional oven setting.

Bake

After 12 minutes the cobblers didn’t look quite done, so I gave them another 5 minutes. That seemed to do the trick.

Almost then Done

The directions say to let them cool almost completely before removing from the pan. After about 10 minutes, the cobblers had shrunk a bit from the cooling.

Shrink after cooling

Since it was a cold evening, we decided to test them with a cup of tea and skip the recommended ice cream. I’m sure it’s a delicious addition, but totally not necessary.

Done

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Rating: 5 Pins

5 Pins Overall - LARGE

Accuracy: The recipe was easy to follow, and the blog post added clarity on the sprinkle question of the brown sugar and cinnamon. My husband, who considers himself a peach cobbler expert, said this was one of the very best he’d ever tasted. We both liked the light, crispiness and chewiness of the cobbler crust. It wasn’t doughy at all, which is his biggest pet peeve of cobblers. 5 pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Difficulty: This was a very simple recipe. Perfect for a novice baker. 5 pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Time: I found that it took about 5 minutes more than the time in the recipe, but it took roughly 10 minutes of prep time, 17 minutes of baking time, and 10 minutes of cooling. At just over half an hour, 5 pins.

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Cost: The ingredients are common to most kitchens. I only had to pick up the can of diced peaches for less than $2.00. 5 pins.

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Practicality: This makes a nice after school snack or week night dessert. The leftovers (if you have any) also make a yummy breakfast with a cup of coffee. 5 pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL