Frozen Banana Sundae Treats

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Okay, so these didn’t turn out as beautifully as the picture of them that I found on Pinterest. I believe that’s what the call a “Pinterest Fail.” But dammit if they weren’t delicious. My son Tyler loves fruit, so for a little mini treat in the middle of the day before he had his birthday cake, I made these little guys. Of course, because I was stressing about everything, I had a few problems in the process. But, like I said, they way they looked didn’t change the taste.

First thing I did was freeze a bunch of bananas. I put them all in a freezer bag (peeled) the night before his party so they would be ready to go. Since it was just the three of us for his party, I only used two bananas. My husband cut off the tops so that they could stand up on their own and so the whipped cream and cherry could sit on top.

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While my husband was busy cutting the bananas and taking shitty pictures, I was at the stovetop boiling water in a pot with a Pyrex bowl on top (my own makeshift double boiler). I put a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the bowl with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil just to help it smooth out.

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I continued stirring the chocolate with a wooden spoon until it was completely melted.ImageImage

Here’s where the trouble started. When the chocolate was melted, I attempted to dip the bottom quarter or so of the bananas into the chocolate. However, when I tried to do this, the chocolate wasn’t sticking very well to the bananas. It was like the bananas were so cold and the chocolate was so hot that it just wouldn’t stick. Plus, while I was holding each banana, the heat from my fingers would start to unfreeze the banana and so it would start to get mushy and slip out of my hand. Whatever. Anyway, I dipped them as best as I could and then dipped the chocolate part into these colorful nonpareils that look like the colors from Toy Story (because Tyler loves the shit out of some Toy Story)! Finally, I topped them with a little Reddi Whip and some maraschino cherries and boom! Frozen banana sundae treats for my kick-ass kid.

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Look at that face! How can I be mad that these looked crappy when Tyler thinks they are the coolest things he’s ever seen and devours them with a smile? Maybe with some practice I’ll get better at these, but I’m not too worried about it. But if you all try them out, let me know any tips you have for making them turn out better.

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Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls

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My son eats macaroni & cheese all the time. He absolutely loves it. While I was talking with my mom about things he might like for his “special birthday dinner,” I said, “Well, he really loves mac & cheese, but that’s not very special because he gets that all the time.” So my mom suggested these and I said, “Oooh! That’s an awesome idea!” while simultaneously thinking, “Bitch! I wish I’d thought of that!” Well it may not have been my idea, but the result on the plate is all me. I’m pretty proud of how well these turned out. They were sooo good. You feel a little more grown up eating macaroni and cheese when it doesn’t come straight out of a blue box with a package of orange powder mixed in it. To the recipe!

I found this recipe here on Food Network’s website. First thing I did was cook the pasta. I used the brand below, but any kind of elbow macaroni will do. I cooked it to al dente and then drained it and set it aside while I made the cheese sauce.

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I got the cheese from the deli section at Wal-Mart. I needed a pound of cheddar and a pound of smoked gruyere.

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This macaroni ain’t fuckin’ around. Next time I make this, I am definitely asking if they will shred the cheese for me, because just shredding all that cheese at home took me at least 20-30 minutes. In case you were wondering what TWO POUNDS of shredded cheese looks like, here it is:

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It probably would have taken a little less time to shred if I hadn’t used my Microplane, but I wasn’t sure how well this cheese would melt, so I wanted to make the shreds as small as possible. After I broke my arm shredding two pounds of cheese, I sat down for about 15 minutes (probably more). Then when I realized that it was like 1AM and Tyler’s birthday was the next day and I still needed to wrap his presents, I got off my ass and got back to cooking. I melted two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan on medium heat. When the butter was completely melted and started to bubble, I whisked in a tablespoon of flour.

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I stirred the flour until combined (about 1 or 2 minutes) and then added the warm milk. I’m not completely sure why it has to be warmed. (Maybe the butter/flour mixture will get lumpy if you add cold milk?) I whisked the milk in, getting rid of any lumps that formed. I let it thicken for a few minutes until I noticed the milk coating the back of my spoon.

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The recipe said to take off the heat before adding the cheese, but it wasn’t really melting the way I liked at first, so I kept it on the burner on medium low while adding the rest of the cheese.

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I didn’t really like the consistency of the cheese sauce in the picture above, so I decided to try and smooth it out by adding about another 1/2 cup of warm milk. Then I seasoned it with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

IMG_1256(Looks better now, don’t ya think?)

I poured the cheese sauce over the macaroni and stirred it up. Then I put it in a 9×13 pan, covered it, and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

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The next morning I took the macaroni out and used an ice cream scoop to form them into balls. This was actually a little tricky. I had to really mush them into the ice cream scoop so that they kept their shape. I found that if I formed one half of the ball, took it out, and then put the other side of the ball in and mushed it in again, they kept together better. I set them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Once all my balls were the right shape (lol…balls) I put them in the freezer until I was ready to cook them. They need to be in there for at least 2 hours so they can freeze. When I was ready to make them, I set out a bowl of flour, a bowl with some egg wash (two eggs and a splash of milk), and a bowl with bread crumbs. I dipped the balls (I can’t stop laughing at this) into the flour, then the egg wash, then the bread crumbs, and then set them on a clean sheet of parchment paper.

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If you don’t have a deep fryer, I highly suggest you buy one because they are so much fun to use. Of course, you can fry these on the stovetop with a few inches of oil, but the deep fryer is just way cooler in my opinion. Anyway, I fried these in 350° oil two at at time in my awesome deep fryer for about 5-6 minutes. Since I could only fit two at a time in my deep fryer, I put the ones that were cooked in my convection oven on warm while the others cooked so they wouldn’t get cold. While the deep fryer was making these into delicious crunchy gooey goodness, I decided to make the sauce. And here comes some St. Louis love…

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If you haven’t read my About Me page, you should check it out really quick. I’ll wait………….done? If you didn’t do it, the gist is that I am from St. Louis and I love St. Louis food. So this is why I’m using this sauce, straight from The Hill. I would have made a sauce myself, but I was already making so many other things from scratch for Tyler’s birthday and when you have shit like this so readily available, it’s stupid not to use it. Plus, it tastes AMAZING! I heated about 2 cups (I eyeballed here) of the sauce on the stovetop and when it was hot, I added probably about 1/2 cup or so of the heavy whipping cream. The sauce should look like this:

IMG_1525(Mmmm…sooo good.)

I served this by putting a few ladles of the sauce on the plate and then placing the mac & cheese balls on top. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about with this recipe was the smoked gouda. I personally didn’t care for the smokiness. After I made this, I realized that I had pinned something on Pinterest that was supposed to be “The Best Macaroni & Cheese Ever” so I think I’ll have to try that and see if it’s better than this one. When I do, I’ll be sure to post a tutorial. In the meantime, try this one out. I think you’ll really enjoy it! 🙂

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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The other day, I finally had the time (and the ingredients) to make something I’ve been craving for months…stuffed portobello mushrooms. These really don’t take that long to make (unless you’re taking pictures between every step), but it is hard for me personally to do things like dicing tomatoes and sautéing mushrooms when my son, Tyler, just wants me to play with him. I will choose that over cooking something special for myself 100% of the time. However, on this particular day, I decided to wait to make my lunch until after I put Tyler down for his nap. The recipe didn’t come out perfect. There are definitely a few things I would change next time. But overall, these really hit the spot.

First thing I did was wash the mushrooms. I’ve read about several different ways to do this, but I kept hearing that you’re not supposed to completely submerge mushrooms in water or really get them super wet, so the method I chose was just the wipes the dirt off with a damp paper towel. The best way to do this is to start at the middle of the cap and wipe down. This will ensure that you don’t strip the brown part off the top (like I did a little bit to the one on the right in the picture below). This is how they looked after that.

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Then, I took off the stems and scooped out the gills. I used just a regular spoon. Just make sure you choke up on the handle. This gives you more control over the spoon; it’s really easy to break the mushrooms if you’re not being gentle. This is how they looked after that.

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Next, I grabbed the ingredients for the “stuffing.”

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I decided to use two Roma tomatoes for the stuffing. Lesson learned. This is too much tomato…for me at least. For two mushrooms, I think one medium-sized tomato will do just fine. I cored the tomatoes, cut them in half, and scooped out the seeds, juice, etc.

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Next step was to julienne and then dice the tomatoes. I went for a larger dice, and I didn’t care for it. Next time I will definitely dice them smaller. After I diced the tomatoes, I put them in a bowl and seasoned with Kosher salt.

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I’ve found that I like my food more garlicky than a lot of other people. I added about 1 ½ teaspoons of minced garlic. If you don’t like a strong garlic flavor, I would back it off a little bit. I also added a few twists of freshly cracked black pepper.

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Now for the cheese. I’m all for any excuse to use fresh mozzarella. Man, I love this stuff. I diced up a few slices. You could even buy those adorable tiny pearls of fresh mozzarella and then you could skip the dicing step.

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Finally, I added a squirt of lemon juice, about a tablespoon of parmesan & Romano cheese, and a couple shakes of parsley and then mixed it all together!

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I was trying to make these as healthy as possible (I’ve been attempting to eat healthier lately), so instead of brushing the mushrooms with olive oil at 120 calories per tablespoon, I tried using this I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray that’s made with olive oil. It wasn’t bad! I sprayed that tops and bottoms and then lightly seasoned the caps with Kosher salt. After the pan was hot, I sprayed with Crisco olive oil spray and added the mushrooms, cap side up. I cooked them on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Then I flipped them over and cooked the other side for about another minute before spooning the cheese and tomato mixture into the caps. Then I put the lid on the pan so that the cheese could melt.

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So I decided to make these on the stovetop. Last time I made them, I put them on the grill and I think that worked a lot better. However, I didn’t want to heat up my whole grill for two measly mushrooms. But the grill definitely makes them better since you don’t have the collection of juices just sitting in the pan. I think next time I might try to make them in my toaster oven on the grill setting with something underneath to collect the juices. Overall, this was a great dish and I’m definitely looking forward to perfecting it! 🙂

FOODGASM!

I love food…I mean I REALLY love food. Put me in a room with all of my favorite food and I wouldn’t need social interaction for months (assuming the food lasted that long). This blog is about food appreciation, recipes, and fun in the kitchen. If you like food, please, stick around…