Sweet Treats

Recipe—Cannoli Dip  

Recipe—Cannoli Dip

Yesterday I did my first ever Instagram Live Cooking Demo. Did anyone catch it? If so, what did you think? Any feedback? I know there was certainly areas for improvement but I had fun and know what I can do better next time! If you want to view it you can do so here.

This was my first time ever doing any sort of live cooking demo so when Sac State UNIQUE Programs asked me if I would be willing to be a part of their summer virtual programming I jumped at the opportunity. I have never done any sort of cooking demo or Instagram Live video so I was absolutely stoked to do something outside my comfort zone. After all, virtual programming and activities have become such a big part of life these last several months.

For the cooking demo I was given a 1-hour timeslot and could make anything I wanted. I thought about it for a couple of days and knew I wanted to do a dinner and dessert. My go to favorite meal these days is my Italian Chicken Dinner. (It is so freaking easy and it is an entire meal!) Once I had that established, I decided to commit to an Italian theme. My first thought for dessert was tiramisu or cannolis. However, both are relatively time consuming and complex and since this was my first time cooking live I wanted to be sure it was something I could pull off. I decided to try and do a quick adaptation of cannolis and came up with this cannoli dip. Dessert dips are kind of my thing. You may recall that I have also posted recipes for Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip, Sweet Cherry Chip Dip, Toffee Apple Dip, and a Sweet Cream Dip with Strawberries.

For those of you that may not know, a cannoli, it is a traditional Italian dessert that is a fried pastry tube filled with a sweet cream made with ricotta cheese as the base and then the ends are traditionally dipped in assorted garnishes, pistachios, chocolate chips, cherries, etc. If you have never had a cannoli, you may be thinking ricotta cheese in a pastry? The answer is, YES! YES! YES! Ricotta is a cheese that can be used in both savory or sweet dishes. The fluffy ricotta cheese is completely transformed in this recipe to a light and sweet cream filling that you could eat by the spoonful. This recipe is fantastic to take to a party or just to serve up for the family for a night in. I served it with broken waffle cones but it also goes great with strawberries, graham crackers, and Nilla wafers. The possibilities are really endless!

INGREDIENTS
1 c ricotta cheese
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c mini chocolate chips
box of waffle cones, broken up into chip sizes

STEPS

  • Place the ricotta, cream cheese, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat using a handheld or standing mixer on medium speed for 3–5 minutes or until smooth.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and continue to mix for another 1–2 minutes making sure it is all evenly incorporated.
  • Add most of the chocolate chips to the bowl and fold in using a rubber spatula or spoon. (Be sure to save a small handful to sprinkle over the top as garnish!)
  • Transfer the dip to a serving dish, garnish with remaining chocolate chips, and serve along with the broken waffle cones.
Dinners

Recipe—Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Ooey, gooey, cheesy white sauce goodness. What more do I need to say about this lasagna. It is layer upon layer of creamy mozzarella sauce, noodles, ricotta, chicken, spinach, and cheese. My mouth is literally watering.

This dinner is the ultimate comfort food. So rich, creamy, and filling. A perfect family dinner as the weather starts to cool down. Seriously though, what is better on a cold night then a big filling serving of pasta? Nothing, the answer is nothing.

This is one of those recipes that is great to make ahead on the weekend when you have some extra time and then during the week all you have to is pop it in the oven and bake. Boom! Dinner is done!

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

Chicken & Cheesy White Sauce Lasagna

INGREDIENTS
16 oz lasagna noodles
salt
1/2 c butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c flour
2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c milk
5 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c ricotta
2 c cooked chicken breast, chopped
10 oz package frozen cooked spinach, thawed and drained
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • Cook the noodles per the package instructions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until cooked through.
  • Stir in the flour until it begins to brown.
  • Gradually add the broth and milk to the saucepan and whisk together.
  • Allow the sauce to come to a boil and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  • Mix in 2 cups of the mozzarella, 3/4 cup of the parmesan, basil, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir until all the cheese is melted and well integrated.
  • Remove the sauce from the stove and set aside.
  • Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Ladle a quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Layer a quarter of the cooked noodles in the bottom of the baking dish and top with half of the ricotta, half of the chicken, and half of the spinach. Sprinkle with some of the mozzarella and parmesan and ladle another quarter of the sauce over the top.
  • Repeat the previous step. Noodles, ricotta, chicken, spinach, cheese sauce.
  • Add the final layer of noodles and top with all the remaining sauce and cheeses.
  • Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and just starts to brown on top.
  • Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to rest for 5–10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the parsley over the top.
  • Cut and serve.
Dinners

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Pasta with Seared Scallops and Peas

Quick and super easy recipes are always popular with me and it’s even better when I can actually find one that is delicious and somewhat gourmet. A meal like this makes the average day feel a little extra special. Scallops aren’t something I cook very often due to the price but they sure are awesome to indulge in every now and again. They are incredibly simple to cook and have a really mild flavor sure to please the whole family. This sauce is the perfect pasta sauce for summer. It’s light and super refreshing with all that lemon. Whether you are looking for a quick dinner for a work night or even an elegant one for company, this is a great go to recipe.

Note: Start with the lesser amount of lemon zest and lemon juice and adjust accordingly per your taste.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb fresh scallops
salt and pepper
lemon pepper
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
16 oz fettuccine noodles
1 tbsp butter
1/2–1 tsp lemon zest (depends how much you like lemon)
1/8–1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
15 oz container ricotta cheese
1/2 c peas (if using frozen be sure they are defrosted)

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Rinse scallops and pat dry.
  • Season the scallops with salt and lemon pepper.
  • Put the pasta on to boil and cook per package instructions.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter over medium high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer.
  • Cook turning once until golden on the outside and no longer opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the scallops to a large plate.
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and additional salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the ricotta until you have a nice creamy sauce and then add in the peas.
  • Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and top with the seared scallops.

Recipe adapted from Crumb.