Recipes

Salted Caramel Sauce

Who doesn’t love caramel sauce?

This Salted Caramel recipe is about as simple as caramel sauce gets! It only uses 5 ingredients and is the perfect topping for just about anything…a drizzle on a slice of cheesecake, over ice cream or just a spoonful!

Grab a mason jar and this sauce makes for a great hostess gift! But be careful no one in your house sees it or it definitely will be gone before you leave for the party! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

First, make sure your butter and cream are at room temperature. This is very important!

Measure out all of your ingredients and set them next to your stovetop.

In a medium saucepan, add the sugar and melt down over medium heat. If your burner takes a long time to heat up and doesn’t get too hot, melt over medium-high heat.

Whisk occasionally at first, as it will take about 5 minutes to see any changes in the sugar. As clumps start to form, whisk constantly until it’s completely melted down (about 15-20 minutes).

Once melted, it should be golden in color. Stop whisking and allow it to caramelize and darken. It will only take 1-2 minutes for it to turn a rich amber color. Don’t step away from the stove as this happens quickly.

Take the pot off the burner and quickly whisk in the butter all at once. Whisk for about 30 seconds (it may not fully combine and that’s OK).

Quickly pour in the heavy cream and whisk again. Keep whisking until it’s smooth and fluid. *if yours clumps up, see my notes in the post about troubleshooting your caramel.

Finally, whisk in the vanilla and sea salt.

Pour into a glass jar (it will be very thin at this point) and allow it too cool uncovered at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Cover and transfer to the fridge where it will last for up to 2 weeks. The caramel will thicken quite a bit once chilled, so warm it for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave to get the consistency seen in the images here.

Recipes

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This Salted Caramel Cheesecake is the best you’ll ever have! It’s smooth, creamy and delicious!

Sweet, salty, buttery caramel should be the main flavor, inside and the top. 

I love cheesecake cake so much, it is such a great versatile for so many different toppings. This salted caramel cheesecake taste delicious with baked apples especially for Thanksgiving.

I made a simple crust with gingersnaps but feel free to use the traditional graham crackers. After the crust has baked, I poured some of the caramel into the bottom of the crust and spread it into an even layer.

When it comes to the cheesecake filling, we’re going to use the caramel sauce again. Combined with the usual cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and eggs, you get a wonderful silky-smooth cheesecake filling.

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath and then cool until firm. Once it’s cooled, add more caramel sauce to the top and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm.

GINGERSNAP COOKIE CRUST

  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

  • 32 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
  • 1/2 cup of the salted caramel sauce, cooled to room temp (see recipe)

INSTRUCTIONS 

SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE

Pour the caramel into a heat proof container and place it in the fridge while you make the cheesecake. (see recipe for Salted Caramel sauce)

GINGERSNAP COOKIE CRUST

Preheat your oven to 350F and thoroughly butter or grease your springform pan.

In a bowl, combine the crushed cookies, sugar, and melted butter. Mix until the crumbs are evenly moistened then tightly press it into your springform pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes then leave it out to cool while you make the filling.

SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE

Reduce the oven temperature to 325F and place a large roast pan on the bottom rack.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the room temperature cream cheese on medium speed JUST until smooth – no more than a minute. 

Take the bowl off the stand and use a rubber spatula to knock out any air that the whisk might have added.

Switch to the paddle attachment and place the bowl back on the stand. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Then mix it into your cream cheese on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the bowl, especially on the bottom.

At this point, you’ll want to start a pot of boiling water on the stove top.

In that same small bowl, lightly beat your room temperature eggs and vanilla and slowly mix it into the batter on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again then mix it for a couple more seconds.

Lastly, mix together the sour cream and 1/2 cup of the caramel in a small bowl then fold it into your batter using a rubber spatula.

Pour ¼ cup of the caramel sauce over the cooler pie crust. 

Pour the batter over the cooled crust and drop the pan against the counter a couple times to let out any air bubbles.

Place the springform pan into the roast pan. 

Once your water is boiling, CAREFULLY pour it into your roast pan. Fill the roast pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. It’s done when the edges have puffed up and the center gives a tight giggle when you shake the pan.

Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Then, pour the caramel sauce over the cheesecake before refrigerating. If the caramel is too thick to pour, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to thin it out. 

Place the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours to set. I recommend serving it slightly chilled so that the caramel stays in tact.

If you want to serve with the apple topping, just pour the apple topping over the top of the cheesecake before serving.

Recipes

Chipotle Sweet Potato Mash

Here’s a great twist for your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes or if you love sweet potatoes as much as I do you can whip these up anytime of the year!

I love sweet and savory flavors, and these chipotle sweet potatoes totally hit the spot. You have the sweetness of the sweet potatoes balanced by the smoky heat of the chipotle chiles. You can make these as spicy as you like, just add more or less of the chipotle. 

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes (6 potatoes)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, with seeds, I used Goya
  • 2 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can of chiles)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley, chopped

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Chop sweet potatoes into chunks, nothing too specific because you are just going to end up mashing them later.

Place them onto the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. 

Roast for 15 minutes, take out of the oven and flip the potatoes over. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until very tender inside when tested with a knife. 

Place the potatoes in the bowl, and half of the butter. Mash the potatoes. 

While the potatoes cook, place the milk, cream, garlic powder, chipotle chile, and adobo sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisk, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes while whisking. 

You can use a hand held mixer or a good ole wooden spoon for this part. If using a mixer place on low speed, add the chipotle-milk mixture to the sweet potatoes. 

Add the maple syrup, rest of butter, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix until the potatoes are coarsely pureed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and parsley.

Recipes

Cauliflower Stuffing

Here’s a healthier stuffing for those of you looking to cut out some carbs this Thanksgiving!

It has all the stuffing flavors just instead of bread, I used cauliflower!

Cauliflower has stood in for carbs plenty of other times, so why not with stuffing? Of course you need to like roasted cauliflower to enjoy it, but it still has all the things you want in great stuffing.

It has the same spices and delicious add-ins that you’d expect, it’s nice and soft, and it totally has that comfort food factor. It’s actually so easy to make that I will definitely make it outside of the holiday season. Believe it or not, it’s simple enough even for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter unsalted
  • 1 Lb Breakfast Sausage casings removed
  • 1 Large Onion finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Fennel Bulb finely chopped
  • 4 Celery Stalks finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine dry
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Sage finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ cup Grated Fontinella cheese or Parmesan cheese 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Chop cauliflower into florets and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower softens and begins to brown slightly.

While the cauliflower bakes, cook the sausage.

Add the sausage to a large skillet. 

Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook until no longer pink. 

Place sausage on a paper towel-lined plate.

Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel but leave some of the grease and bits. 

Add butter to the skillet and melt, stirring constantly so it doesn’t brown. 

Add chopped onions, garlic, fennel, and celery. Sprinkle it with salt and  pepper. Cook in butter until they’re soft and lightly browned (around 10 minutes). 

Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil. 

Cook until no wine is left — about 5 minutes. 

Add cheese, parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

In a casserole dish, combine sausage, cauliflower, and veggies and stir to combine. 

Place them in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. If you want the tops a little crispy, turn the broiler on for 5 minutes.

Recipes

Creamy Peanut Butter Power Bites

These are super easy and super delicious!!

These no bake peanut butter energy bites are the healthy snack you’ve been searching for! Loaded with old fashioned oats, peanut butter and flax seeds. A healthy protein packed breakfast or snack!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey

INSTRUCTIONS 

In a food processor or blender, process the old fashioned oats and flax seeds. 

Combine all 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. 

Stir to combine. 

Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes so they are easier to roll.

Roll into 12 bites and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipes

Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

There’s nothing better than a bowl of pasta!

Here’s a super easy pasta dish with a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce loaded with garlic, mozzarella & parmesan cheese!  You can add in your favorite meats and/or veggies – the possibilities are endless.

Did you know?

Italians originally dried tomatoes on their ceramic rooftops. And it’s thought that the technique may even date as far back 700 AD when Aztecs would salt and dry tomatoes in the sun to preserve their freshness. Well, whoever started this process, I am beyond grateful. I seriously rather eat Sun-dried tomatoes than raisins any day! Not only are they delicious in pasta dishes, they are a great snack too! 

This recipe pairs great with Scout & Cellar…

 Fiddleneck Sauvignon Blanc, pairs very nicely with this rich, creamy sauce. 

Or 

Che Fico Pinot Grigio is another great match – With bright acidity and notes of citrus, it’ll pair well.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounce sun-dried tomatoes – not in oil
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ Parmesan cheese, freshly grated plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. box of Angel Hair pasta

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta water and set aside- about 1/2 cup.

While pasta cooks,  saute garlic, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 

Saute for 1 minute until fragrant. 

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes more.

Add Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese, half and half and chicken broth to the skillet and bring to a simmer. 

Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in reserved pasta water and cooked pasta, coating the pasta in the sauce. 

Adjust seasoning, sprinkle with parmesan, and more crushed red pepper if desired. 

Enjoy!

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen
Blogs, Recipes

Creamy Spinach Orzo

I love orzo! I much rather have orzo than rice any day! 

Since orzo is so quick-cooking, it’s a perfect choice for a one-pot dinner. It cooks up fast in a simmering pot of broth and milk, and the starch from the pasta actually helps to thicken the creamy sauce. 

There’s little work required, besides stirring in a few big handfuls of baby spinach and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. This orzo is an amazing blank-canvas recipe, it’s easy to tweak, you can add cherry tomatoes, peppers, or even shredded chicken. Seriously the possibilities are endless! Get creative! 

You can serve this creamy orzo as either a light main dish or a side dish. We served it alongside my Lemon Parmesan Chicken but totally could have eaten it as the main dish- it’s that good! 

Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Spinach Orzo

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried orzo pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 

Add the garlic and orzo, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the broth and milk and bring to a boil. 

Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed and has formed a creamy sauce, about 10 minutes. 

(If the orzo isn’t completely, you can add another splash or two of broth to the pot and continue to simmer until it has.)

Stir in the spinach and Parmesan until the spinach has just wilted and the cheese melts, about 1 minute. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with additional cheese.

Blogs, Recipes

Ghostly Brownies

I wanted to make something easy and fun for my brother and sister in law’s Halloween party. There are so many cute Halloween treat ideas on Pinterest- it was hard to decide on one. I know we all have seen the “Nailed It” memes so I wanted to choose wisely. Thank you Betty Crocker for this easy and fun recipe!

These ghost brownies are super easy, I promise you will “Nail it”! They start with a boxed brownie mix, top the brownies with a large marshmallow covered in white frosting, and decorated with black gel icing to make a cute face!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box (16 oz) Brownie mix plus ingredients needed on the box
  • 1 cup Rich & Creamy creamy white frosting (from 16-oz container)
  • 16 large marshmallows
  • Black Decorating Gel icing

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven  to 350°F 

Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan, bottom and sides with butter or cooking spray. 

Make and bake brownies as directed on the box. 

Cool completely on the cooling rack, about 1 1/2 hours. 

Carefully remove brownies from the pan.

Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of each brownie.

Place1 large marshmallow on top of the dollop of frosting- this will help the marshmallow stay in place. 

Scoop 1 cup of frosting in a microwavable bowl and heat uncovered on High 20 to 30 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until frosting can be stirred smooth and liquidy. 

If frosting becomes too firm while decorating, microwave 5 seconds; stir.

Spoon 1 tablespoon frosting over each marshmallow, allowing the frosting to drip over the marshmallow and brownie to coat. 

Let stand until frosting is set, about 30 minutes. 

Use black gel to make eyes and mouths.

Blogs, Recipes

Smoke Spicy Meatballs

These smoked meatballs are slowly smoked on the grill, and then finished with a homemade spicy & sweet BBQ sauce glaze. The ultimate game day food or appetizer for your next party.

I start with the meat. In this case I combined ground Italian turkey and pork for added flavor. You can  also use chicken or ground beef. Then added flavor and binding with Panko bread crumbs, garlic and egg. For the cheese, I used blue cheese but there are plenty of options (cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, anything that melts well). 

Here’s my little secret to help the meatballs stay moist, I use butter. I know Paula Deen would be proud! 

Just form your ball and make a little well in it, and place a small square of butter in the well, then cover it up and reshape the ball.

I made this recipe on my Green Mountain smoker, but you can make it on your grill or in the oven.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add the homemade BBQ sauce. Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the balls fully covered in the sauce.

Make sure to dig in while they’re still warm!.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ lb Italian ground chicken or turkey sausage
  • ½ lb ground Pork 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoon of Frank’s Red Hot Ranch Dip seasoning packet 
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese crumbles 
  • ½ stick of butter, cut into tiny pieces- about the size of your pinky finger nail. 

The Sauce:

  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – you can add more or less depending on your spice preference
  • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes about 28 medium sized meatballs

Prepare the meatballs: 

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. 

Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together. Shape the meat mixture into balls, about 3 tablespoons per ball. I like to use my medium size cookie scooper. 

Now here’s my little secret to help your meatballs stay moist, once your meatball is formed poke one piece of butter into the center and roll back into the meatball shape. 

The Smoker Method:

Preheat the smoker to 225ºF

Place the meatballs on your smoker at 225ºF. After 20 minutes of cooking, brush each meatball with the sauce. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 155ºF (one hour).

Turn the smoker up to 350 for 15 minutes to finish them off! You will know they are done when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

The Oven Method:

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. 

Place shaped meatballs on a baking sheet.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked- internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

Brush each meatball with the sauce. 

Place back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes. 

Place on a serving tray and drizzle with additional sauce.

The Sauce:

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the sauce over medium high heat, allow it to come to a boil, reduce the heat so it simmers. 

Let simmer for 8-10 minutes. 

Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. 

The sauce will thicken as it cools so don’t worry if it looks thin.

Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the balls fully covered in the sauce.

Serve and eat them while they warm!

Blogs, Recipes

Lemon Parmesan Chicken

This is definitely one of my favorite dishes! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a date night!

With this recipe you get perfectly tender, golden brown pan seared chicken coated in a quick lemon garlic butter pan sauce. It will have you wanting seconds and maybe even thirds! 

I like to serve this over a bed of spinach or with my Garlic & Spinach Orzo- recipe coming soon! 

As for my wine, this dish pairs perfectly with Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™Che Fico Pinot Grigio. It’s tart and fresh with lemon, underripe peach and a subtle minerality and a refreshing finish. Perfect on a hot summer night! 

Click the link to order the wine pairing- Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™ Che Fico Pinot Grigio.
http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Ingredients for Parmesan Crusted Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast or 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp parsley to garnish
  • 1/2 lemon sliced for garnish

Ingredients for the Egg Mixture:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • For the Parmesan Breading Mixture:
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Lemon Butter Sauce:

  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. 

Lightly beat with a meat mallet until even in thickness.

In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the egg mixture. 

In another bowl, combine the ingredients for the parmesan mixture. 

Dip chicken into the egg mixture, then dredge chicken in the parmesan mixture. 

Allow any excess ingredients to fall off from each bowl.

In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet. 

Once hot, add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes per side, or until crispy, golden and cooked through to 165˚F. 

Transfer to  a plate. 

In the same saucepan, melt butter and garlic, cook until fragrant. 

Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and pepper. 

Allow the sauce to cook for about 2 minutes. 

Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken, turning to coat. 

Garnish with lemon slices and finely chopped parsley if desired.