Posts tagged quick

Quick Dark Chocolate Orange Mini Tarts

Dark chocolate mini tarts

Have you ever needed to whip up a rave-able dessert but you only have a few minutes? Yeah, I’ve been there, too.

 

I came up with these mini tarts last Thanksgiving. I needed something with dark chocolate for dessert but I didn’t have time to bake up a pie or a cake. Plus, I wanted something bite-sized. These mini tarts come together quickly – your kids can even do these while you’re cooking something else. The key to making these mini tarts ah-inducing is all in how you plate them. One approach: Drizzle the plate with chocolate syrup (Hershey’s is fine), add a swirl of raspberry jam, and pair with an assortment of other sweets. Or, top each one with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, dust with cocoa powder, and insert an orange sliver.

Dessert assortment

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + chill time*

Servings: 30 mini tarts

 

Ingredients

2 packages of Mini Fillo Shells (15 each; I like Athens brand)*

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup orange zest

Dash of salt

Whipped cream (optional)

 

Directions

  1. In a glass bowl melt together the cream and chocolate chips in the microwave for 90 seconds; stir until smooth (some microwaves may take longer – be careful not to burn).
  2. Add in orange zest and salt. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour filling into shells. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. To serve: Garnish with fresh whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.

 

*Note: You can either use the shells thawed and right out of the package. Or, for a crisper exterior, bake them for 9 minutes at 350°. Cool, then fill.

Orange chocolate mini tarts

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Fancify Friday: egg roll bowls

Egg Roll rice bowl

My kids know that I like to “fancify” meals. I’m sure there’s some sort of French word for our made up one. The idea: to present your food in a fun way. Make it a little fancy. Our fancifying comes from different places: sometimes we try making something we ate at restaurant, sometimes it’s a creative way to get my kids to try something new. But this time, it was all about using up an ingredient I didn’t want to go bad in the fridge.

 

I made Asian Mex avocado egg rolls earlier this week so I still have a few wrappers on hand. So when I was making a stir fry the other day, I wanted a cool way to put the rice on the plate–enter the egg roll bowl. I found a recipe for mini morning quiches from Nasoya, which I still want to try, but I thought I could use the same technique. These bowls were so simple and fun to make my kids kept brainstorming during dinner other ways we could fill them. I’m thinking a dessert egg roll bowl would be good–wouldn’t it? Maybe a bananas foster egg roll bowl…

 

Recipe

Servings: As many as you want!

Prep time: 10 minutes + baking for 10

 

Ingredients:

Large egg roll wrappers (Nasoya wonton wrappers work well)

Fillings–let your kids decide

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray the underside of your muffin pan with cooking oil.
  3. Working with one wrapper at a time, drape the egg roll over the inverted muffin cup to form a cup. For folds, I brushed a little water on the wrapper to help them stick together when baking.
  4. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Watch carefully! These bowls will burn easily.
  5. Gently pop the bowls off of the muffin pan.
  6. Enjoy!
And here's how my grade schooler served up apples recently

And here’s how my grade schooler served up apples recently…fancified

 

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7 summertime snack ideas

Taking a breather from the hot weather, poolside

It’s been one hot summer! Normally, you can find me cooking up something in the kitchen even in 90-degree weather. Not this year! All those 90-degree days with a heat index pushing 100 add up to me looking for cool snacks for the kids.

Here’s a few of my favorite hot-weather treats:

5-minute yogurt popsicles. Yogurt + fruit + freezer = a kid-pleasing snack once they’re done with their water gun fight.

Watermelon limeade. Update your lemonade! Try using limes instead and mix in fresh raspberries, watermelon, or blueberries.

3 Grab ‘n go snack packs. We make these to pack with us when we head to the zoo.

Firefly crackers. Inspired by my kids’ fascination with catching lightning bugs.

Magic smoothies. Secret ingredient? Spinach. It gives the smoothies some heft and nutrition, but your kids won’t even know it’s in there.

Energy bites. My version of granola bites feels like you’re eating cookie batter, only they’re good for you.

Elvis ice pops. Mini frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, then crushed peanuts. Yum!

Fireflies! Don't worry, my kiddos let 'em go at the end of the night

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3 Ingredient recipes for an easy romantic meal

I think I have more food traditions tied up in Valentine’s Day then any other holiday (Christmas included!). First, I don’t cook–it’s like Mother’s Day. I don’t clean up either (notice a trend?). And finally, no matter what we have for dinner, for dessert my husband makes crepes. He makes them just once a year and Valentine’s Day happens to be it.

Unlike me, he doesn’t use a recipe book but takes a peek at ingredients online and then judges whether he’s got the batter right by checking the thickness. Then he makes a filling with a combination of bittersweet chocolate, pecans, almonds, coconut, honey, and whatever else he happens to find tucked in the back of the kitchen cabinets. Then he serves it topped with fresh whipped cream.

See, now you’re getting why we only have this once a year.

Well this year I’m going to try to let him concentrate on his crepes and let my kids take over the main meal. They’re actually pretty excited about this (my oldest mentioned something about tying it into the Chinese New Year, my youngest just loves any excuse to throw on her little apron).

But I’m going to try to make it easy on them. I want them to feel good about what they make. I’ve been brainstorming a recipe ideas that only take a few ingredients. Here’s a few ideas from our house, I’d love to hear some of yours too!

Spaghetti

Ingredients= noodles, Italian sausage, 2 jars marinara

I always make my spaghetti sauce in the crockpot. I’ll brown the Italian sausage over the stovetop until it’s cooked through and then put it in the slow cooker along with the marinara. I set it on low for the day and the sauce takes on this rich, restaurant-worthy flavor. I think my kids can handle cooking noodles and then scooping out the sauce.

Asian wraps

Ingredients=Ground turkey + Boston lettuce + teriyaki sauce

This meal is easy to throw together. You just need to brown the ground turkey (job for the 12 y-o), add in the teriyaki sauce and then serve it on the lettuce pieces. If you don’t have a little person old enough to be at the stovetop you could brown the meat for her or you could use a purchased rotisserie chicken and have her mix in the sauce. Of course, everyone likes washing-lettuce duty.

Caesar salad

Ingredients=Romaine lettuce + salad dressing + grated Parmesan cheese

For a non-cooked meal, Caesar salad happen to be my favorite. Your kids can take care of washing the lettuce, pouring on the dressing and grating the cheese. If you want you can add croutons or even pieces of leftover chicken.

There are other ways to make the day fun for your whole family–while not spending a bundle. Check out these suggestions for Love on a Budget from Parents. I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

Your turn–any creative ideas (simple recipes) that your kids can make for Valentine’s Day?

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