Chocolate Crinkles with Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle Kisses

Chocolate Crinkles with Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle Kisses

Okay, okay….someone was a bit behind this year on their holiday baking.

And that “someone” may be a certain 5’2″ Vietnamese gal we all know and love….

Okay- FINE!

Five foot, 1 inch AND three quarters….

Sheesh!

Chocolate Crinkles with Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle Kisses

But let’s not get stuck in the minutia of things because I’ve got cookies.

Some SERIOUS cookies that will rock your jingle-jangle, holiday socks off. When I saw these crinkle cookies from the Recipe Girl, I knew I had to have them!

Chocolate + Mint = THE BEST PAIRING EVER!!!!!!!

I hadn’t even known that Hershey made these magical little confections in the form of Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle Kisses. These little beauties are, to date — my FAVORITE of the Hershey Kisses.

Truth.

Chocolate Crinkles with Dark Chocolate Mint Truffle Kisses

As for the base cookie, Recipe Girl is completely on point. The cookie is moist, chewy, fudgy and somewhat brownie-like. The only change I made was a splash of additional vanilla extract when the mint extract goes in.

Mo’ flava, mo’ betta!

And the kiss, the KISS just sends things over the top and seals the deal. So if you plan on leaving the Big Guy a plate of cookies next Wednesday night, do yourself a solid and whip up a batch of these beauties because I’m pretty darn sure that it’ll flip you to the “nice” list in a jiffy.

Want the original recipe? It can be found here.

ps. Two quick notes on the recipe. First, you really MUST chill the dough before rolling them out or you’ll have a hot mess on your hands. And second, if you want the cute little point of the kiss to stay intact, definitely chill the cookies on the sheet immediately after you take them out of the oven.

pps. HAPPY BAKE COOKIES DAY!!!!!!!

20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

I love pasta…yeah, yeah, yeah!

Pasta is so great….yeah, yeah, yeah!

 

That’s my new pasta song. Do you like it? Well obvi you can’t appreciate the full artistry of the song by just reading it.

But trust me.

It’s going to be a Grammy hit one of these days.

20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

This 20-minute beauty truly tops the cake! Or pasta cake…or whatever. Y’all get where I’m going with this………………

Using two of my most favorite items– spicy Italian sausage and ‘shrooms, this number comes together so quick and is so delish that it’ll be a regular staple in your weeknight dinner rotation. You can also throw in other cast members that you may have lingering in your fridge like bell peppers, carrots, zucchinis, etc.

This time around, I ended using whole wheat pasta but feel free to use whichever that tickles your fancy.

TGIF Folks!

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20-Minute Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

kosher salt
½ pound dried linguine, or pasta of your choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
½ cup diced shallots
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon dried fennel, crushed
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups sliced crimini or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed Roma tomatoes
2-3 pinches sugar
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Boil the pasta for approximately 8-10 minutes in heavily salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in.

While the pasta boils, heat a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat while it’s browning. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink (about 1-2 minutes) and add the shallots, garlic, pepper flakes, fennel, oregano, and mushrooms. Sauté the items together for another 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes with its juices and bring to a boil. Add the sugar, thyme and lower the heat to medium-low. Use the wooden spoon to crush and break apart any large pieces of tomatoes. Allow the items to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Toss in the cooked/drained linguine, coating the pasta well. If you want a looser based sauce, add a tablespoon at a time of the starchy pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Plate the pasta and cover each dish with freshly shaved parmesan.

Enjoy!

 

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with Coconut-Cilantro Rice

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with Coconut-Cilantro Rice

So here’s the problem I have after EVERY Thanksgiving.

Do I now try to eat lighter the weeks leading up to Christmas to make up for the gazillion calories I inhaled during Thanksgiving weekend?

Or………

Do I not let leftovers go to waste and continue on with the turkey, potatoes, casseroles, mac n’ cheese, and desserts until they’re all gone?

First world problems.

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with Coconut-Cilantro Rice

Eh….let’s be honest. I’m going to continue shoveling in the last of the leftovers and THEN jump over to something lighter and easy to whip up.

Which works out fantastic because our friends at The Saucey Sauce Co. had sent me a care package awhile back with a variety of yummy goodness that can be used as ready-to-go sauces or marinades. They’re a family owned group (yay for family!) that base many of their products on their Asian/Vietnamese heritage. You can find them at their online store but they’re also branching out across the country to some great retailers!

 

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I love using the sauces to marinade chicken breasts and fish because it’s all ready to go. I’ve also tossed some chicken wings in rice flour, deep fried it and then tossed them in their Sweet Ginger Sauce — so good!

 

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with Coconut-Cilantro Rice

I happened to pick up some gorgeous mahi mahi fillets while at the store because they looked wonderfully fresh and I like the “heartiness” of the fish. When I got home, I grabbed my trusty bottle of Spicy Garlic Sauce and added some lime zest and ginger for a bit more brightness. (On a side note, I always add a bit of additional fresh herbs or other aromatics when using bottled products. I think it greatly enhances the flavor and adds that needed zing.)

After coating the fish with the marinade, I placed it in the fridge for about an hour so that it could work its magic.

Saucey-sauce magic.

 

Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with Coconut-Cilantro Rice

Once the fillets have had its fill of magic, I pan-seared the fish on a screaming hot cast iron skillet to get that super crunchy skin. And like I said on the Pan Seared Black Cod post, do not — and I mean DO NOT, try to flip the fish before it’s ready. It’ll let you know when the time is right when you can slide a spatula underneath it.

Trust me.

To serve with the mahi mahi, I made a fragrant coconut-cilantro rice. The recipe below tells you how to make it on the stove but if you have a rice cooker, just throw it all in machine and let it do its thing.

The fish turned out so delicious! The mahi mahi was able to soak up the slightly sweet, slightly spiced marinade but it wasn’t overpowering at all. And you can definitely use any other fish of your choice if mahi mahi isn’t your thing.

The perfect, easy, scrumptious weeknight meal.

And as always, much thanks to our friends at The Saucey Sauce Co.!!

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Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi with Coconut-Cilantro Rice
Serves 2

Ingredients:

½ cup The Saucey Sauce Company’s Spicy Garlic Sauce
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons fresh lime zest, divided
2 mahi mahi fillets, skin-on, de-boned (5-6 ounces each)
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
½ cup coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut water (or water)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
whole cilantro leaves and lime wedges for garnish

In a shallow dish, whisk the Spicy Garlic Sauce, ginger and 1 teaspoon lime zest together. Place the fish in the dish and coat both sides. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate for 45-60 minutes in the refrigerator. Take out of the refrigerator about 10 minutes before cooking to take the chill off.

While the fish marinates, prepare the rice. Combine the rice, coconut milk, coconut water (or water) and salt in a heavy bottom pot. Bring the liquids to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and allow to cook for 18-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat with the cover still on and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Once the time is up, add the cilantro and remaining lime zest. Using a fork, fluff the rice and set aside.

Choose a skillet that can handle a high level of heat (ie. cast iron, stainless steel, etc.) Heat the skillet over high heat so that it becomes screaming hot. Once it reaches the desired temperature, add the oil and swirl it around the skillet. Carefully place each fillet, skin side down into the oil. Using a spatula, gently press down on the fillets so that they don’t curl up on the sides. Cook the first side of the fish for about 3 minutes — depending on the thickness of the fillets. Be careful not to flip the fish before the skin has crisped up and formed a crust. Once the first side has cooked, about 2/3 way through, flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove the fillets from the skillet. Use paper towels to gently blot any excess grease off of the fillets and plate on two separate plates. Add a large scoop of the rice on each plate and top each fillet and rice with the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve each plate with a piece of lime wedge that should be squeezed over the fish before eating. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

 

 **Disclosure: I did receive products from The Saucey Sauce Co., but as always, my opinions are my own.**

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Wait, wait, wait – hold up!

Did I really suggest Thanksgiving dessert ideas yesterday and NOT include anything with chocolate?????

Quick! Someone check my temperature!

 

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

But fear not, dear friends. There’s still PLENTY of time to make this luscious Peanut Butter Cream Pie and your loved ones won’t even know it was a last minute addition.

Because it’s a known fact that Peanut Butter and Chocolate are a match made in heaven.

Foodie Heaven.

 

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

I had actually made this beauty a few weeks ago when one of my besties and I had gone over to a friend’s for dinner. Because I can never go to someone’s house empty-handed, I offered to bring a dessert and turned to this fabulous pie courtesy of Joy the Baker.

Instead of the graham crackers that the recipe calls for, I opted for Oreo cookies because mo’ chocolate is always mo’ better! As for the filling, you can’t beat the light, fluffy, peanut-buttery center that is then layered with whipped cream. And to go that extra bit over, top it with whatever your heart desires! I kind of went to infinity and beyond by topping the pie with a drizzle off melted chocolate, crushed salted peanuts, itty-bitty mini chocolate peanut butter cups AND chopped up chocolate covered pretzels.

Yea….I have no self control.

Want the recipe? It can found in Joy the Baker’s new book, Homemade Decadence. Or, you can find it HERE at the Candid Appetite’s site.

So once again, HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS!!! And now, you have no excuse to leave out the chocolate :)

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes + Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes

 

Goodlawd…..do I love me some potatoes. And in fact, my last meal that I request could possibly be a mountain of Mickey D french fries that is then washed down with a lovely bottle of vino.

I’m so classy.

 

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes

So naturally, I’m obsessed with these easy, crispy, oven-roasted herb potatoes.  They can be prepped in under 5 minutes and since they’re roasted in a hot cast iron skillet, they are wonderfully crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

These little beauties are quite versatile as well. Perfect side dish for a brunch….low maintenance for a weeknight dinner….and fantastically delish to adorn your table for any special occasion/holiday – like Turkey Day!

 

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes

And if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to figure out what to make for Thursday. But worry not peeps, here are some great ideas if you’re stumped.

First off… Cocktails of course!

My recommendation to kick off the festivities – The Spiced Apple Pie

It’s made of apple cider, spiced rum, nutmeg and all other types of goodness that screams the holidays.

 

The Spiced Apple Pie

And if your family/loved ones are anything like mine, you’ll need to keep the Appetizers flowing before the masses get h’angry. So for your safety, make a double batch of these fab Crispy Arancini Stuffed with Mozzarella. They can also be made in advance and frozen until you’re ready to fry them up.

So. Dang. Addicting.

 

Crispy Arancini stuffed with Mozzarella

Next up… Bread time!!! Because in addition to potatoes, bread is my kryptonite.

I’d recommend these Honey Yeast Rolls with Sea Salt. They’re fluffy, slightly sweet and if you happen to have a few leftover (which I doubt!), they make the perfect buns for sliders.

 

Honey Yeast Rolls with Sea Salt

Another bread option would be Potato Rosemary Rolls which are the truth! Potatoes inside of bread?! Total no brainer. And trust me, your casa will smell like HEAVEN while they’re baking.

 

Potato Rosemary Rolls

How about a few Side Dishes?

Now I realize there are some people who don’t fancy mashed potatoes. Nobody I would trust, mind you. But for those folks (and for those who just like plenty of options), this Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower will be a huge hit.

 

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

And just in case your Thanksgiving table wasn’t decadent enough, this Lobster Macaroni and Cheese  not only kicks up a classic but it’ll have your guests giving thanks to YOU!

 

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

 

At some point, you may want some greens. You know, because greens are good for you. And this Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette is not only good for you but will be gobbled up in heartbeat.

 

Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

And now on to the Poultry.

I totally get it. Fixing up an entire turkey can be a bit intimidating. But that’s no reason to totally nix a bird. These little Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter are a perfect alternative. Game hens cut your roasting time down to about an hour and the meat is wonderfully succulent and juicy.

Did I mention there’s bacon in it?

 

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

Or you could keep things really simple and opt for a traditional Roast Chicken. Because really, a beautiful roast chicken is bliss.

I almost always default to the grandmaster Thomas Keller’s method. Completely no fuss and I always get perfect results. Crispy skin, juicy meat.

 

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken

And finally, Dessert.

Sure there’s apple pie, pumpkin pie (BLEH!) and yadda, yadda, yadda. But how about something a little different?

My Pistachio-Orange Blossom Cake would be a great finale to your Thanksgiving feast. The cake is light and gently perfumed with citrus. The crushed pistachio adds to the scent of the cake and it’s all topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

 

Pistachio-Orange Blossom Cake

And because my family is never satisfied with just one dessert, these Pomegranate-Peart Tarts are just the ticket for a low fuss addition to the dessert buffet. Especially since you can cut corners by using pre-packaged puff pastry.

YES, PLEASE!

 

Pomegranate-Pear Tarts

Now, I’m officially starving…. But hopefully this gave you a few ideas to fill your menu for Turkey Day.

And from my tummy to yours – I wish you and your loved ones a wonderfully delicious and comforting Thanksgiving!

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Crispy Oven-Roasted Herb Potatoes

Ingredients:

 

2 pounds small Yukon gold or red potatoes, washed and dried
¼ cup melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt
black pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley
1-2 wedges lemon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats. (If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can use a sheet pan)

Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters so that they’re even sized. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss them with the melted butter, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper flakes. Season them well with the kosher salt and black pepper.

Once your oven has reached temperature, carefully take out your cast iron skillet (be careful, it’s hot!). Spread the potatoes into an even layer and place back into the oven. Roast the potatoes for about 30-40 minutes until they’re crisp on the outside and tender on the inside when pierced with a paring knife. Be sure to flip the potatoes a few times during the roasting process to ensure even cooking.

Once done, remove the skillet from the oven. Toss the potatoes with the chopped parsley and squeeze fresh lemon over them. Enjoy!

*For some added zing, whisk in a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard into the melted butter before tossing them into the potatoes for roasting. YUM!*

We’re 5 Today!! Plus Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy Grits and a $100 AmEx® GiftCard GIVEAWAY!!

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsMan, oh man!

We’re F-I-V-E today!!! For real, for real— as in, I’ve been rambling about food, family, and absolutely random things for 5 YEARS!

Holy Moly!!!

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsThese past five years have been filled with quite the Foodventures and every foray into the kitchen still brings surprising successes, utter failures and always new takeaways. It’s never a dull moment!

And I kind of dig how my palette has changed over the years. Dishes I used to despise are now the ones I crave and are obsessed with making. Things I used to think I couldn’t live without are now nowhere to be found in my kitchen.

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsWhich is why for our 5th blogiversary, I opted to make this utterly decadent, stick-to-your-ribs Bacon & Cheesy Grits. Because believe it or not, I used to hate grits. Well…anything of that similar texture. Oatmeal, porridge, cream of wheat— all of it. Bleh!

But then one day, I woke up and the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the forest animals were frolicking and a bowl of shrimp & grits somehow magically appeared in front of me.

And my life was changed. Luscious, cheesy, goodness. Mind blown.

So I’m pretty certain you’ll love them too. Not to mention it’s super easy to make.

Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy GritsAnd because y’all have stuck with me throughout these past few years and have followed my random musings, we’re having a fantabulous (did I just use that word??) $100 American Express® GiftCard GIVEAWAY for one of our lucky readers. I don’t know about you but it may come in handy with the holidays coming up.

Want to know how to win?

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There are six (6) different ways for you to enter!  Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each indicating which of the below you did: This Giveaway has ended- THANKS!

  1. Leave a comment sharing what dish do you now love but didn’t like before;
  2. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already Subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  3. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  4. Follow @CulinaryChron on Twitter (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  5. Follow our boards on Pinterest (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  6. Follow us on Instagram (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so

The deadline to enter is Monday, November 17th at 5pm (PST) and the winner will be notified the next day. This Giveaway has ended- THANKS!

And with that dear friends, thanks again for all of your support and here’s to another five years of delicious and entertaining Foodventures!!!

Alohas <3

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Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy Grits
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 tablespoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or other Cajun spice blend)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, chopped, more to garnish
3¼ cups low sodium chicken stock
kosher salt
1 cup grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, more to garnish
3 slices bacon, diced
½ cup minced shallots
1 cup finely diced bell peppers (assorted colors)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the hot sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, olive oil and chopped scallions. Set aside.

In a heavy bottom pot, bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Slowly whisk in the grits and cook until the grits have thickened and become tender. For quick grits, this will take about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. For regular grits, simmer for about 25 minutes. Once done, stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Cover and keep warm.

In a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom skillet. Slowly sauté the bacon until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered down—about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Reserve one tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Sauté shallots in the bacon drippings until translucent. Add the diced bell peppers and cook for an additional two minutes. Add the garlic and shrimp and cook until the shrimp just begins to turn pink—about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet. Turn the heat to medium high and pour in the white wine. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits. Allow the wine to come to a boil and reduce the liquid for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, Worcestershire sauce, and red chili flakes. Add the shrimp back into the skillet and allow the items to cook for an additional minute. Taste and season as needed.

Divide the cheesy grits amongst four bowls and top each mound with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle each bowl with the additional cheddar cheese, scallions and crispy bacon. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Guys… I moved to Việt Nam.

Okay, not really. But I swear, San Diego these past few weeks have been as hot and humid as South East Asia in the dead of Summer!

I’m MELTING!!!

And turning on the oven or kitchen burners has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do. But a girl has got to eat and the lighter and easier the dish–the better!

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Quick and light bites like this Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad is the perfect remedy to combat the heat. Soba (buckwheat) noodles tossed with fresh veggies in a bright and acidic ponzu sauce is easy to make and doesn’t leave you feeling like gazillion pounds.

I opted for a vegetarian take but if you miss the meat, throw in such grilled chicken or shrimp and you’ll be a happy camper.

Now excuse me as I pass out in front of the air conditioner.

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Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad
Serves 2

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons prepared ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil (or other light flavored oil)
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon sambal paste
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
kosher salt
black pepper

6 ounces dried soba noodles
1 heaping cup sweet peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup blanched edamame beans
1 cup blanched asparagus tips
1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers (or other small cucumbers of your preference)
¼ cup sliced scallions
1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or accordingly to package instructions. Drain the soba in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl. Add all the vegetables to the noodles, except the scallions. Add several spoons of the vinaigrette over the noodles and vegetables and toss well. Add additional vinaigrette as needed for everything to be lightly coated.  Divide the contents between two serving dishes. Top each plate with scallions, sesame seeds and enjoy!