Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Chicken Parm.  It sits atop the "favorite food" list for many Americans.  To be honest, it ranks pretty high up on Tall One's list, and Small One loves its vegetarian sister, Eggplant Parm.  This is such a favorite though, that everyone already has a recipe they love!  Or a grandma who makes it.  Or a favorite restaurant that serves it.  For example, there is a pizza place (OIP for all you Central Pennsylvanians) in the town where we went to college, that makes the BEST Chicken/Eggplant Parm Sandwiches. 

So when we started thinking Chicken Parm this past weekend, we knew we needed to do something a little different.  How do you take such a classic food and make it a little different, but still equally as delicious?  Then it hit us... CHICKEN PARM MEATBALLS!  As a little disclaimer, The Spatularettes tried this with both ground chicken and ground turkey.  Both ended up with a tasty finished product, but we found the turkey to be a little easier to work with than the chicken.  If you want to hold true to the name, then by all means use the chicken!

-1 lb ground chicken or turkey
-1 egg
-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
-1/4 shredded Parmesan cheese
-2 tsp chopped fresh basil
-2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
-1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp pepper
-4 oz block of mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 small cubes.
-1 Tbs olive oil
-Marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet (preferably with edges) with parchment paper.

Dump first 9 ingredients (ground turkey through pepper) into a large bowl.  Use a wooden spoon or your hands (we find the hands work better) to combine ingredients.  Make sure the seasonings and bread crumbs are well distributed, but try not to over-work the meat.  If the mixture seems to sticky, slowly add more breadcrumbs to make it more workable.

To form the balls, start by pressing a couple of Tbs of the meat mixture into the palm of your had to form a thin patty. 

Place 1 cube of mozzarella cheese on the patty and gently fold the edges up around the cheese. 

Once cheese is covered, roll the meatball in your hands to form its shape.  Add a little bit more of the meat mixture if needed.  It is important that the cheese is well sealed inside the meatball.  This is the perfect amount of meat to make 12 balls.

Once meatballs are formed, place them on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Brush each one with a little bit of olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes.  This should leave your meatballs crispy on the outside, but still juicy and tender on the inside.  Transfer meatball to a pot of warm marinara sauce, and allow to simmer until you are ready to serve.  You can also transfer them directly from the oven to a serving dish and top each one with a little marinara and shredded Parmesan cheese if you are serving them as an appetizer.

Served as a sandwich, appetizer, or over pasta, Chicken Parm Meatballs are sure to please any hungry crowd!

Tall and Small

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Do you ever find yourself nostalgically longing for a grilled cheese, but have found that your palate has matured beyond American "cheese" and Wonder Bread?  Well, you've come to the right place.  The Spatularettes picked up some sophisticated supplies to create an adult grilled cheese.


Sourdough bread (though any tasty bread variety would work well!)
Brie cheese, sliced
Bosc pear, sliced
a splash of olive oil

Heat your olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Meanwhile, create a sandwich with brie and pear between two slices of bread.  Grill until both sides of bread are golden brown and brie becomes oozy and melty.

The Spatularettes suggest enjoying your grown up grilled cheese with some grown up beverages: sauvignon blanc PEARS perfectly :)

Tall and Small

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cheese Fondue

So here we are on the dark side of another Valentine's day.  And I'm sure everyone is wondering... did The Spatularettes have hot dates to celebrate this year!?

The answer is...

wait for it...

wait for it...


So what does a Spatularette do on a dateless Valentine's Day?  Make a fancy dinner and post up in front of the TV to watch The Bachelor with her girl friends of course!!

Like the life size Rocky by the TV?
He's the man of the house.
When we say fancy... we mean real fancy!
(minus the whole eating in front of the television part)

For the first course we prepared a creamy, cheesy fondue.  The second course was surf and turf (stuffed portabellas for Small One since she doesn't eat meat), with baked mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables.  And the third course?  Sampling way to many of those delicious treats we baked last weekend.

We spent our Valentine's Day the way everyone should... sharing special food with the people we love.  And now we want to share a special recipe with you.  The next time you are looking to impress friends, family, or a cute Spatular, this recipe for Cheese Fondue should do the trick!  If you don't have a fondue pot, this can be prepared over low heat on the stove top, and then transferred into a mini crock pot to keep warm while serving.

-1 cup white wine
-3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
-8 oz good Gruyere cheese, shredded
-8 oz good Wisconsin jack cheese, shredded
-2 Tbs cornstarch
-1 1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard

-1 baguette, sliced or cubed
-2 apples, sliced or cubed
-Anything else you think would be tasty covered in cheese

Pour 1 cup white wine in fondue pot and set to high heat.  Add 3 garlic cloves, cover, and allow wine to come to a simmer.  Once wine is simmering, use a spoon to removed garlic. 

Toss shredded cheese with cornstarch.  Begin adding cheese to fondue pot, one handful at a time.  Slowly let it melt into wine base, stirring occasionally to combine.  Once all of the cheese has been added, continue stirring until it is completely melted and well incorporated.  Finally stir in 1 1/2 tsp of spicy brown mustard.  Continue to heat on high until fondue is hot and bubbly.  Reduce heat to low for serving.  We used sliced baguette and sliced apple for dipping, but the possibilities are endless!  Let's face it, everything is better when covered in cheese!

Nothing says I LOVE YOU like a big bubbling pot of cheese :)

Tall and Small

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes (aka Proposal Cupcakes)

We hope your day is filled with lots of love, joy, and tons of empty calories!
Chocolate for breakfast?  Sure, why not?
Dessert with lunch?  If you insist!
Some sweets before bed?  You bet!
So for the LOVE OF CHOCOLATE, eat up!!

On a holiday like this, The Spatularettes knew there was only one treat that would do the trick.  These Oreo Cupcakes will ROCK YOUR WORLD!  And if you're really lucky, they will live up to their nickname of Proposal Cupcakes, and you will land a ROCK ON YOUR FINGER!

Tall One's roommate is very active in the world of Pinterest.  She has found all sorts of great recipes, styles, quotes, and crafts that she has graciously shared with Tall and Small.  Without a doubt though, her best Pinterest find has been this cupcake recipe from Confessions Of A Cookbook Queen.  We've made them in previous months for co-workers and our inboxes were flooded with emails of praise and gratitude telling us these are "the best f'ing cupcakes I've ever had!"  More impressively though, these babies have resulted in down on one knee marriage proposals and offers to leave one's wife if we promise to bake for the rest of our lives.

So when the 14th of February rolled around this year, The Spatularettes could think of no better way to say I LOVE YOU (and maybe receive some love in return), then with a batch of Proposal Cupcakes!


-1 Box white cake mix
-1 stick unsalted butter, melted
-1 cup water
-3 eggs
-24 whole Oreos

-Half a 7.5 oz jar of marshmallow fluff
-2 Tbs salted butter, at room temperature
-Splash of vanilla
-1 Tbs of heavy cream (or milk)
-1/3 cup of powdered sugar

-3 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
-3 Tbs of heavy cream (or milk)
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-6 cups powdered sugar
-10-12 Oreos, very finally chopped (we used the food processor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners and place a whole Oreo in the bottom of each liner.  In honor of Valentine's Day we used fun holiday Oreos with red filling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cake mix, butter, water and eggs on low speed for 1 minute.  Turn up the speed to medium and beat for another minute or two.  Distribute batter between the 24 tins.  Each should be about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the marshmallow fluff, butter, vanilla, and cream on low speed.  Once well combined add powdered sugar and continue to mix for another minute.  We added a few drops of red food coloring to be extra festive!  Use a small serrated knife to cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake.  Slice off the bottom of the cone and discard, leaving just a little topper.  Spoon a teaspoon of filling into each cupcake and top with the little cupcake hat.

Finally for the best part... the frosting!!  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, cream and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat on a low speed until well combined.  Crank up speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.  Add Oreo crumbs and mix until smooth and evenly distributed.

What a Spatularette fridge looks like right before Valentine's Day...

We know, we know, this seems like a lot of work for a cupcake, right?  But these are so much more than cupcakes!  They are perfect for Valentine's Day, but also for any day of the year when you'd like to make an extra special treat.  So whip up a batch, box them up, and distribute to those you love! 

We may not be experts on men, but we are definitely experts of food!  With a recipe like this though, you're guaranteed to be lucky in LOVE AND THE KITCHEN this Valentine's Day!
Tall and Small

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We love love!

The Spatularettes LOVE love!  We also love the combination of powdered sugar, butter, and just a few drops of red food coloring.  Did you make a resolution to avoid sweets this year?  Go ahead, cheat a little.  We promise we'll forgive you :)

See what Tall and Small were whipping up this weekend in preparation for Feb. 14!  If we can't win your hearts, we'll surely win your stomach!!!

Oreo cupcakes:


Chocolate-sugar cookie sandwiches: 

Sugar cookies with royal frosting:

Red velvet brownie with cream cheese frosting, cookie dough truffle, and s'more mini tart:

What's wrong with going a little overboard for LOVE?  Yeah, Ben Flajnik and Chris Harrison.  We gave up everything for love.  And by everything we are referring to our Saturday afternoon and our figures. 

Don't worry... recipes to come!

Tall and Small

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Football Pockets

Superbowl weekend is upon us and as far as food bloggers are concerned, this is one of the biggest holidays of the year.  Small One is still feeling a little bitter about the way her beloved Ravens were knocked out (or should we say kicked out...) of the playoffs this year, but the promise of good food is drawing her back to football this weekend.  Tall One has never really had a football team to call her own, so for her the Superbowl has always been all about the food!  The Giants may be getting ready to take on the Patriots tomorrow, but The Spatularettes decided to take on Buffalo Chicken in the kitchen!

Buffalo chicken dip is always a crowd favorite at any sports themed party, but whenever we read the ingredients, it makes us think twice before dipping.  A BOTTLE of ranch dressing?  A CAN of chicken?  Yeah, we decided this classic recipe needed an update.  Our Buffalo Chicken Football Pockets are still far from healthy, but we thought dropping the canned meat and the bottle of fatty dressing was at least a good start.  And seriously, could it get any cuter than these little hand held footballs?  We love them and are sure that you and your guests will too!


Football Pockets:
-1/2 Tbs butter (or butter substitute)
-1 c shredded chicken
-4 oz cream cheese
-3 tsp dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
-3 Tbs hot sauce (we like Franks' Red Hot)
-1/2 blue cheese crumbles
-10 frozen empanada disks, thawed (we use Goya)
-1 egg + splash of milk

Dipping  Sauce:
-8 oz sour cream
-1 Tbs dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
-1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
-About 10 shakes of hot sauce

Note: The empanada wrappers can be hard to find, but well stocked grocery stores should carry them.  We always find them at Shoprite in Philadelphia.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover two baking sheets with foil.

In a large pan, melt the 1/2 Tbs of butter or butter substitute over medium heat.  Add shredded chicken and toss around to even  coat and warm through.  Store bought rotisserie chicken works great when you need shredded chicken in a pinch, but you can also cook up a couple of chicken breasts ahead of time and shred those.  Once meat is warmed through, add cream cheese, 1 oz at a time and allow to melt into the chicken.  Once cream cheese is melted, add 3 tsp of ranch seasoning and 3 Tbs of hot sauce and stir until well combined.  Remove from heat and fold in blue cheese crumbles.  Set mixture aside until ready to fill football pockets.

The process of making the footballs is a little tricky, but totally worth the cute results!  We've included some step by step pictures to help make things more simple.  First, lay an empanada disk on a cutting board.

Fold disk in half, but don't press too firmly.  You don't want it to stick.

Choose a large round object.  We thought the lid from the blue cheese was the perfect size!

 Use the lid to gently press the 2 arcs of the football into the disk. 

Carefully use a knife following the shape of the football to remove the excess dough. 
Separate the 2 footballs and lay a piece of wax paper between before setting aside.

Top 1 football with 1 1/2 Tbs of buffalo chicken filling.  Top with other football and use a fork to press edges and create a seal.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Beat 1 egg with a splash of milk and gently brush each football with the egg wash.  We saved the excess dough and used it to make little laces for each football.  Brush with egg wash again after applying laces.  Use a fork to gently poke holes in the top of each football to allow for ventilation while baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

For a super simple dipping sauce, fold together sour cream, ranch seasoning, blue cheese, and hot sauce.

It doesn't matter who wins the big game, because you'll be the real winner if you serve these at your Superbowl party!

Tall and Small