Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Honey and Thyme

15 Jul

Last night I joined my neighbors for their annual Beer and Cheese party.  I knew I wanted to bring something featuring homemade cheese, but I also knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to putter around with anything complicated.  In trying to figure out what to make, I may have stumbled on my new go-to appetizer recipe.

Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Honey and Thyme – you are tasty and make me look fancy.

Honestly, it just does not get much easier than this recipe (especially if you skip making the ricotta from scratch).  With four ingredients and a few minutes of time, you can have a beautiful plate of slightly sweet appetizers. Bite-sized, these cups are easy to eat, low in calories, and full of delicious flavor.  They would be great as appetizers, a nice brunch addition, or served with some fruit for dessert.  And, they look really, really beautiful on a plate.

For this batch, I made my own ricotta.  I can see at least one of you rolling your eyes from here (hey mom!).  It is worth noting that you absolutely do not need to make ricotta from scratch for this recipe; store-bought ricotta will be perfectly fine.  However, if you’ve had any interest in making your own cheese, I would highly recommend starting with ricotta.  Of all the cheeses I’ve made so far, ricotta is the easiest and requires the least amount of equipment, patience, or special equipment.  I’ve used a recipe from Cooking Light with great success.  This time, I used whole milk instead of the 2% that the recipe called for.  The cheese was much drier than I’ve made in the past, so next time I’d stick with the 2% as I preferred the consistency and would rather save those calories for something else.

The only effort in this recipe is in the assembly, which from start-to-finish is probably under 5 minutes.  The phyllo cups can be filled ahead of time, but I would not recommend doing it more than an hour or so before eating.  The cups soften slightly over time, and the honey soaks into the cheese the longer it sits.  The flavor is still the same, it just looks a little bit prettier when you can still see the honey drizzled on the top.

Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Honey and Thyme
Serving size: 2 filled phyllo cups
Serves: 6

12 prepared phyllo cups
1/3 c. ricotta
1 T. honey
Fresh thyme leaves

Thaw frozen phyllo cups at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of ricotta into each up.  Drizzle cups with honey and sprinkle with thyme leaves.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Estimated calories:  75 cal/serving

Print it: Phyllo Cups with Ricotta,  Honey, and Thyme

Bourbon Peach Tea with Mint

12 Jul

This summer while we were in Texas, we were lucky enough to visit the Garrison Brothers Distillery.  It is a lovely spot, and I’ll tell you what, they make some mighty fine bourbon.  It is smooth, delicious, and if you find yourself in the Texas Hill Country, it is well worth the visit.  While we were there, we attended the Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner fund-raising event for The Hye Preservation Society, the highlight of which was a super refreshing bourbon cocktail.  I could have sat there all day, in the shade, listening to music, and sipping away on that bourbon-laden goodness.

Bourbon Peach Tea with Mint, you are mine.

I’m not exactly sure how they made theirs, and I wasn’t stealthy enough to snag the recipe.  But since I had that first sip, I’ve been busy trying to recreate it.  I knew that the tea and mint parts of the recipe would be easiest, so I set out to tackle the peach portion first.  I wanted a really full peach flavor, but without a whole lot of effort.  I started out by making my own peach puree, then tried canned nectar, and finally settled in on the version that was easiest and lowest in calories – diet peach tea drink mix.  Lipton makes a really tasty diet peach tea mix that is only 5 calories per serving, and tastes just as peachy as the versions that require more effort and are higher in calories.  So while it is the least natural of the options I tried, easy and low-cal won out this time.

Now I’m no bourbon expert, but there’s one thing I know for sure – it is a crying shame to drink really expensive bourbon in any other way than served over ice and sipped VERY, VERY SLOWLY.  When deciding which bourbon to use for this cocktail, I decided to go with Maker’s Mark.  It is different than the bourbon distilled at Garrison Brothers, but it is still very tasty.  I love to use it in cocktails and cooking, and it’s perfect in this one.  Any bourbon could be used in this recipe, so if you have another favorite, feel free to use it.

Other than the tea, peach flavor, and bourbon – the only other thing you need for this cocktail is some fresh mint.  Throw a small handful of leaves in the bottom of a glass and muddle it, which is basically smashing it around a bit to release some of the mint flavor.  You want to just mash it slightly so that it is a bit darker in color, somewhat limp, and smells minty.

So good, so easy, and very refreshing.  Enjoy.

Bourbon Peach Tea with Mint
Serving size: 1 tall, cool drink of summer
Serves: 1

Glass filled with ice
Handful of fresh mint leaves
8 oz. water
1 T. Lipton Diet Peach Tea Drink Mix
1-1/2 oz. bourbon

Muddle mint leaves in the bottom of a tall glass.  Fill glass with ice cubes.

In a separate container, mix together the water and peach tea drink mix until well combined.  Pour over ice, and add bourbon.  Stir gently and serve.

Estimated calories:  110 cal/serving

Print it: Bourbon Peach Tea with Mint

Zucchini Spaghetti with Kalamata Olives

11 Jul

A few weeks ago we visited one of our favorite restaurants, Russo’s, located in Marble Falls, Texas.  They have wonderful food and so many tasty options that it’s really hard to decide what to order.  I wanted a little bit of everything, and luckily my mom was willing to share the zucchini spaghetti that she’d ordered.  And by sharing, I mean one bite.  With that one bite, I’d decided that I’d found a new favorite.  Offered on Russo’s menu as an alternative to regular pasta, zucchini spaghetti provides the sauce delivery system that I love, while leaving behind the heaviness and unwanted calories of traditional pasta.  Bonus that it is nutritionally superior.  The trick to making it at home is having the right tool.

I love you, Lemon Zester.

Unless you have kickin’ knife skills, you’re going to need a tool to create all of the thin, even zucchini strips.  Unfortunately, I do not.  Pair that with my HUGE fear of using a mandoline (which seems like it might be a good tool for the job as well), I knew I needed another option.  I dug around in my utensil drawer and came up with the lemon zester.  Turns out, it was AWESOME for creating these strips.  Originally purchased for zest, I found that when I needed a dash of citrusy goodness, I preferred the microplane zester.  But, not wanting to discard the first one, I just kept it around.  And now I know why: zucchini spaghetti.

With the right tool in hand, prepping the zucchini spaghetti is easy.  Remove both ends of the zucchini and peel it, leaving behind some thin strips of the dark green peel if you’d like.  It does nothing for flavor, but does add a little bit of color contrast to the finished dish.  Holding the zucchini squash in one hand, scrape down one side with the multi-holed end of the zester to create long, thin strips.  Roll the zucchini in your hand, continuing around the zucchini until you eventually reach the seed center.  Discard the seed center, or save for another use.  Prepping the zucchini takes just a few minutes, and should be done right before cooking.

I think that the zucchini would work really well as a substitute for pasta in almost any recipe.  To cook the zucchini for use with any sauce, follow these basic steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  2. When it’s hot, add the zucchini spaghetti and cook for two minutes.
  3. Sauce it up.

When considering the sauce for this recipe, I decided to take an idea from the dinner salad at Russo’s and combined Kalamata olives and orange zest.  It is a refreshing and tasty combination, and works really well with the zucchini spaghetti and some fresh basil.  I really loved this dish, and will definitely make it again as a side or a light lunch.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Kalamata Olives
Serving size: About 2/3 c.
Serves: 4

1/2 c. kalamata olives, halved
1/2 t. orange zest
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 zucchini, ends cut off and peeled
2 T. white wine
1 T. fresh basil, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix together kalamata olives and orange zest, set aside.

Using a lemon zester or mandoline, cut zucchini into thin, long spaghetti-like strips.  Turn zucchini and continue to create strips until you reach the seed center.  Reserve the seed centers for another use.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add zucchini and cook for 1 minute.  Add wine and basil, cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in olive mixture, season with salt and pepper.  Divide between plates, and drizzle with any remaining sauce.

Estimated calories:  137 cal/serving

Print it: Zucchini Spaghetti with Kalamata Olives

Corn, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

29 Jun

The best thing about watching the kids play baseball four nights a week is that we’re outside watching baseball.  The worst thing is that we have a very small window to get home, ready for baseball, and eat dinner.  The eating dinner part of this is particularly tricky because it needs to be ready, quick to eat, and something everyone will eat because there’s no time for dilly-dallying at the dinner table while we have an EAT YOUR DINNER SHOWDOWN.  Last night I made a cold salad that I considered to be the ultimate meal – a base that everyone would enjoy, hidden protein, and lots of extra toppings to meet the needs of the picky palates at my table.  A cold salad featuring corn (everybody’s favorite), black beans, and tomatoes topped with a light honey-lime dressing.  The dressing is really nice, a little sweet and kind of tangy; it has the kid friendliness of French dressing with the added benefit of not being French dressing.  As I pulled out the bowls and encouraged everyone to DISH UP and ENJOY, I started to hear the words I dreaded most.

I hate black beans.
Are the tomatoes already mixed in?
Is there anything else?
Why isn’t this a pot pie?

Using the words that I knew their baseball coaches would later in the night, I told them to HUSTLE and GET GOING and NOT EVERYTHING IS A POT PIE (okay, no baseball coach is likely to say this, but they could because it is totally true).  I loved the dish, adding radishes and Sriracha to mine.  Martin said that it was edible, and liked the dressing even though the tomatoes contaminated the rest of his food.  And Sophie begged me to never to make it again.

Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1/2 c.

15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz bag corn, steamed, rinsed, and drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL ITEMS
Diced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced radishes
Sliced green onions
Jalapenos
Shredded lettuce
Tortillas
Corn chips
Salsa
Sriracha

In a large bowl, mix together black beans through salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  For best flavor, refrigerate for an hour before serving.

As is, this makes a nice side dish.  Add avocado, cilantro, radishes, green onions, or jalapenos if desired.  If serving as a main dish, serve in a bowl, over lettuce, in tortillas, or with corn chips.  Top with salsa or sriracha for extra kick.

Estimated Calories:  138 cal/serving

Print it: Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Churros Locos

22 Jun

Last summer while we were in Tucson, we visited Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados where we made two important discoveries.

#1 The Sonora Hot Dog, aka The Best Hot Dog on Earth

#2 Churros Locos

I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to recreate that delicious hot dog, but I’ve taken the Churros Locos on as a personal challenge.  Living in Minnesota, there are two key ingredients that can be hard to find.  One I hauled back in my suitcase (Chamoy – a sweet, spicy, limey sauce, that is a bit like French dressing but kickier) and Churritos (sort of a like Cheetos but spicy and lime flavored).  In this recipe, the Chamoy is essential.  Without it, you are pretty much left with a veggie laden virgin Bloody Mary (also not bad, but not the same).  Most would argue that the Churritos are even more essential than the Chamoy.  I will agree that they give a crunchy goodness to the dish, but most of the time, I’d rather skip those calories and use them for something else later.  This dish is good with and without; add them if you’d like.  If you can’t find Churritos, I would recommend substituting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Crushed Doritos, or Chili Fritos.

THE ORIGINAL

MINNESOTA-STYLE

 

Churros Locos
Serves: 1

½ cucumber, quartered and cut into chunks
2 radishes, quartered and cut into chunks
4 baby carrots, cut into sticks
3 oz. Clamato
3 oz. Spicy V8
Salt and Pepper
2 T. Chamoy

 

Fill a large glass with as many cucumbers, radishes and carrots as you can.  In a separate glass, mix together Clamato, Spicy V8, salt and pepper.  Pour over vegetables.  Top with Chamoy.  Serve.

 

Estimated Calories:  88 cal/serving

Print it: Churros Locos

Notes:
– Want it a bit spicier?  Add some tabasco to the tomato juice mixture.
– Don’t like Clamato?  Skip it and double up on the Spicy V8.
– Too spicy for you?  Skip the Clamato and Spicy V8 and use regular V8 instead.

 

And if you’re in Tucson, track down a Sonora Hot Dog here:
Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados
3235 N. Flowing Wells Road
Tucson, AZ 85705

More info:
(520) 888-0421

Braised Ribs

21 Jun

My son Martin really loves ribs.  He orders them any time he spots them on a menu, and when we talk about going to TX, his list of activities always include EATING RIBS (love that boy).  Unfortunately for him, I don’t make ribs at home very often.  It’s not that they are that hard really that hard, it’s just that the idea of grilling them up can be kind of daunting.  After you’ve had GREAT ribs, like those found at Coopers and The Salt Lick, it is pretty hard to make any ribs that measure up.  Since we are not in Texas and our access to THOSE ribs is limited, we decided to give making ribs a try.  And since baseball season is in full swing, leaving no time for a grilled meal, we went with the next best option:

Slow-cooked, braised ribs.

I started with a recipe I tried a few years ago for baby back ribs.  I remembered that they were really tender, but also felt like there were a lot of steps.  Using this recipe as a guide, I made some changes to better suit our tastes and to simplify it a bit.  I made two different sets of ribs, one for the child who hates all things spicy (salt, sugar, and ketchup only), and one set for the child who loves a touch of heat (peppery spice blend, sugar, BBQ sauce).  Both were good, but I preferred the peppery version.  The other big change to note is that I used Pork Loin Back Ribs instead of Baby Back Ribs.  I prefer the Pork Loin Back Ribs because they are meatier, with thicker chunks of meat on top of the bone.  The braising method makes the pork fall-off-the-bone tender, which is good for me because I hate gnawing on a rib like a caveman.  I like to look like a lady; a lady who really likes ribs.

When I made ribs this week, I was banking on baseball being cancelled due to rain.  The weather held out that night, and we did not have time to eat the dinner I had planned.  Instead of trying to cram in the tasty meal, I left them wrapped up and finished them with sauce the following night.  They were perfect.  I would highly recommend making these a day ahead, and finishing them to serve the next night.  These would be perfect for a crowd, as it would be just as easy to double or triple the recipe for more guests (or hungrier guests).

Braised Ribs
Serving size: Approx. 3 ribs
Serves: 6

 

3-1/2 lbs pork loin back ribs
1/2 c. white wine
1 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire
1 T. ketchup
+ One of the options listed below

OPTION 1 (mild)
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 t. kosher salt
Ketchup

OPTION 2 (medium)
1 T. brown sugar
Peppery spice blend (recommend Coopers)
BBQ sauce (recommend Coopers & The Salt Lick Original, mixed)

 

Decide which spice blend option you prefer, then mix together the brown sugar and salt or pepper blend.  Divide the mixture evenly between each of the racks of ribs, sprinkle on top and lightly rub into the meat.  Completely wrap the rack of ribs in foil, leaving one end rolled for easy access later.  Place the foil-wrapped racks in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 250° F.

In a small container, mix together the wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, and ketchup.

Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet.   Gently open one end of each of the foil packs and pour in some of the liquid.  Divide the liquid pretty evenly between each of the foil packets, then seal it back up.  Place the tray of ribs in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

If you are ready to serve, remove the ribs from the foil and return to the baking tray.   Top with the ketchup or BBQ sauce (depending on which Option you chose above) and spread it around a bit.  Increase oven temperature to 350° F, return ribs to oven, and cook for 15 minutes.

If you are making ahead, leave the ribs in the foil packets and refrigerate until you are almost ready to serve.  Place the wrapped ribs in the oven at 200 degrees and reheat for 30 minutes.   Top with ketchup or BBQ sauce and spread around a bit.  Increase oven temperature to 350° F, return ribs to oven, and cook for 15 minutes.

 

Estimated calories:  670 cal/serving

Print it: Braised Ribs

Baby Banana Crumble

19 Jun

I’ve gotten into a rut when it comes to breakfast foods.  Every morning I sling one of the following, based on what my audience wants on any given day: toast, oatmeal, cereal, or eggs.  For the most part, the kids are pretty happy with this functional and fast breakfast style.  But me?  I’m bored.

This morning I tried something new, which honestly was pretty risky for a Tuesday (but sort of a Monday since the kids were gone yesterday).  The recipe is very simple – smashed banana with a crumble topping, and then baked.  The prep is very simple, and the hands-off baking time leaves me free to make lunch/prep bags/yell like a drill sergeant to GET GOING PUT ON PANTS WHERE ARE YOUR SOCKS BRUSH YOUR TEETH.  Basically, this recipe is perfect for those mornings when you want something hot and sweet but are short on time.  I made ours in individual ramekins, but if you were cooking for a crowd simply increase the recipe and place the whole thing in a baking dish that can contain the number of servings you need.

The critics say:

“This would be good with some maple syrup on top.” – Martin

“This would be better if it were toast with French dressing on it.” – Sophie

Baby Banana Crumble
Serving size: 1 serving
Serves: 1

1 ripe banana
1 T. flour
1 T. oatmeal
2 t. brown sugar
1 t. non-dairy margarine
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a ramekin or small individual baking dish, smash a banana until it is creamy.  In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.  Spoon topping over banana and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove, let cool a bit, and serve.

Estimated calories:  210 cal/serving

Print it: Baby Banana Crumble

Notes:
– Feel free to substitute the non-dairy margarine for regular margarine or butter.
– I used frozen and thawed bananas in this recipe.  If you haven’t frozen super ripe bananas before, I’d highly recommend it.  They thaw quickly, and after snipping off one end, you can squeeze the mushy banana right out of the peel like squeezing a tube of toothpaste.  The banana is basically pre-mashed and ready to go.  If you don’t have a freezer filled with black, ripe bananas like I do, any really ripe banana will work in this recipe.

Healthy Summer Challenge

12 Jun

As an adult, the connection between food (what and how much) and exercise (how much and how often) and how I feel is something that I can clearly see.  The more I eat and the less I move, the worse I feel.  Sometimes those feelings are physical like an upset stomach or discomfort in clothing that does not fit as well as it used to.  Other times, those feelings come in the form about how I feel about myself.  It seems like common sense that by eating the right amounts of good foods and exercising regularly, you are giving yourself the best possible chances for feeling healthy, strong, and comfortable in your own body.  And while it is common sense, it doesn’t always come easily and it rarely happens without thought and effort.

As a parent, I struggle with how to talk to my kids about health and nutrition in a way that is both age appropriate and positive.  We started last year by using the Lunch Log as a way to help illustrate the different factors that go into a making and eating a healthy meal.  In a worksheet format, the Lunch Log can help a kid to make sure they are eating something from each of the major food groups and getting some variety along the way.  In our family, tracking meals helped the kids to understand that while they like apples and it is a healthy choice, mixing up the kids of foods and vegetables that you choose helps to give your body different nutrients.  Full disclosure: they were more interested in eating something from each of the color groups so that they could use more  markers, than they were with the nutrients that those foods provided.  And you know what?  I’m okay with that.  At this age, seeking and consuming variety is a lot more important than understanding the nutritional value that each option provides.

Lately I’ve noticed that we’ve gotten into a bit of a food rut, and this led to some interesting discussion about making healthy choices.  The more we talked about health and wellness, the more I realized that two of the hardest parts about living a healthy life are AWARENESS and CONSISTENCY.  While it is not that hard to plan out a healthy lunch, it is just one part of a day that is just one part of a week and so on.  And of course, when you start to look at the big picture, the focus moves off of just food and onto the other stuff you do for yourself that helps you to feel good.

To help us to take a look at what we’re doing to help ourselves be healthy and feel good, we’re putting into action the:

Healthy Summer Challenge

And because we’re nothing if not competitive, we’re making it into a game with prizes.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill out a Healthy Summer Challenge Form (example below, printable page at the bottom).
  2. Write down the basic information in each category to show what you ate, what you did for exercise, and how much water you consumed.
  3. Give each category a rating from 1-10 (10 is high) to show how you think you did that day.  Making pretty good food choices for a day could give you a 8 or a 9.  Eating a bunch of junk would warrant a low number.  These ratings are subjective.
  4. Add any Notes for Tomorrow to help you to identify things you might like to do differently.  This gives each person the chance to reflect on the day and determine if there is a positive change to make for the next day.
  5. Add the date and the person’s name to the bottom, then drop it in a bucket.
  6. Once a week, draw a slip from the bucket to select a winner.
  7. The winner gets to select a prize from the Healthy Summer Challenge Prize Pack.
  8. All remaining slips stay in the bucket, earning more chances to win.
  9. One entry per person, per day.

For our Prize Pack, I selected a few things that would encourage activities, stuff they’ve been begging for, and items I knew would catch their attention.  Also, I made an effort to choose items that did not use food or inactivity as the reward (except for the Mad Libs, they are on the sedentary side).

We’re one week into the Challenge and so far, they’re doing great.  I’ve set the Prize Pack up like a display so that they can stare down the options while they decide whether or not it is worth it to fill out the form.  And once they have the form in hand, they want to make choices that will give them a higher rating.  And although I won’t tell them, my plan to get them to be more aware of their choices is working.

As the summer progresses, I anticipate that their interest in filling out the slips will wane.  As that happens, I may throw bonus options into the mix:

  1. Bonus form for the person who has the most activity in a single week
  2. Bonus form for the person who plans and makes a healthy meal
  3. Super prize, like an afternoon at the water park
  4. Double-prize award

Want to have a Challenge at your house?  Download and print the form below.  Each sheet includes four slips – print and cut the sheet into quarters.

Print it: healthy summer challenge slips

If you participate, let us know!  We’d love to hear your ideas for bonus options, prizes, and how it works at your house.

Flashback Meatballs

1 Jun

There are a few party recipes that were very popular when I was a kid, and every once in a while I really crave them.  Sometimes nothing can compare to a big bowl of Chex Mix (the original recipe, not any of the variations), ripple potato chips with french onion dip, cream cheese topped with chili sauce and crab from a can, or meatballs cooked in a sauce made with grape jelly.  It’s this last recipe that I’ve searched for the longest.  When I’ve asked people how to make it, it’s always the same answer – one bottle of chili sauce and some grape jelly (amount varies).  It’s never quite as good as I remember it as a kid, but maybe it’s because now I’m the one making it.  Food always seems to taste better when someone else makes it for you.

I make a lot of meatballs, but the one thing I don’t like about making them is that they can be kind of tedious.  So when I found a recipe last year for meatballs that can be cooked in a crock pot and don’t require any pre-cooking, I was thrilled.  They were pretty good, but the flavor wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  And, the recipe called for 1.5 lbs of ground beef and since the beef in my freezer is in 1 lb. packages, that strikes me as completely inconvenient.  To fit the size of the beef packages in my freezer and to bring back that old grape jelly-laden memory, I made a few changes.

These meatballs are darn easy to make and very tasty.  Throw some on a plate, grab a pile of toothpicks, close your eyes and you’ll feel like you’re back in 1982.

Flashback Meatballs
Serving size: 3 balls
Serves: 10

1 c. grape jelly
1 bottle chili sauce
1 slice white bread
1 lb ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper

In a crock pot, mix together jelly and chili sauce.  Fill the chili sauce bottle about 1/3 full with water and add to the sauce.  Stir until well combined.  Set crock pot to low.

In the white bread to a food processor and pulse into crumbs.

In a large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper.  Form into small-sized (about 30) meatballs.

There are two methods for cooking the meatballs:

Slow method: Add the raw meatballs to the crock pot and gently stir to coat with sauce.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally.

Speed method: Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and cook meatballs for 30 minutes at 350° F, turning halfway through cooking.  Transfer the meatballs to the crock pot and stir to cover with sauce.  Heat on low for at least an hour to allow the meatballs to sauce up.

Estimated calories:  240 cal/serving

Print it: Flashback Meatballs

Chocolate Whiskey Ice Cream

24 May

Some people say that inspiration is born of desperation, which is exactly what happens when it is cold and gloomy on a summer holiday and nothing sounds better than some coffee with Bailey’s.  Except that when the holiday lands on a Sunday and nobody thought of this ahead of time and you are in Minnesota, then you are out of luck because liquor stores are closed on Sundays.  It was on a day just like this that the recipe for Chocolate Whiskey Ice Cream was born.  My thought was that a little scoop of the ice cream would be PERFECT in coffee, except that it was so tasty that it never quite made it that far.

Although this ice cream technically meets my criteria for low-calorie at 201 calories/serving, a half cup size serving is not huge.  So, watch the portion size when dishing up.  Compared to other premium ice creams, it has about 1/3 fewer calories.  Which seems shocking because it sure does not taste low in calories, even relatively speaking.

A few notes about ingredients:
– The first time I made this, I used 2% milk.  It was really tasty.  The second time, I used raw milk and I could definitely taste a creamier difference.  Because I believe that convenience sometimes trumps all, use whatever is easiest for you.
– As far as whiskeys go, I have become partial to 2GINGERS.  It is really tasty in cooking, baking, and in cocktails.  It is versatile and pretty smooth.  I would totally recommend it.
– Have you tried the Dutch cocoa powder from Penzeys?  It is AMAZING.  If you’re ordering some to give it a try, might as well get some Sandwich Sprinkle while you’re at it.  Not needed for this recipe of course, but good on every other thing in the world.

Chocolate Whiskey Ice Cream
Serving size: 1/2 c.
Serves: 10

8 egg yolks, beaten
1 c. powdered sugar
3 c. whole milk
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 t. vanilla
1 c. whiskey

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and powdered sugar until it is lighter in color (similar in color to butter) and texture.  Set aside.

In a double-boiler, heat the milk over medium heat.  Very slowly, add about 1/3 c. of warm milk to the egg mixture and keep mixing.  Adding the milk too quickly can result in cooked egg bits, so do it slowly and just keep the mixer moving.  Slowly mix in the cocoa powder and vanilla, mix until well blended.

Return the milk mixture to the double boiler and heat until thickened and coats the back of the spoon.  Stir the milk frequently to be sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom, and so that you can tell when it starts to thicken up.  If your double-boiler is small (like mine), do this step in two batches.

Remove from the heat and stir in whiskey.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.  When it is thoroughly cooled, churn in ice cream machine for about an hour.  Spoon into a container and freeze for a few hours.

Serve and enjoy.

Estimated calories:  201 cal/serving

Print it: Chocolate Whiskey Ice Cream

Notes:

  • You can substitute lower fat milk in this recipe, although it may change the texture a bit
  • I’ve also made this with chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder, and it was great.  In that case, omit the cocoa powder, and stir in the chocolate chips at the end, but before the whiskey.
  • Even after freezing, this ice cream has a texture similar to soft serve.