Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

My first experience with Magnolia Bakery occurred a little over three years ago. I had just moved to New York for a spring internship and was told by so many people that Magnolia had the most amazing cupcakes and banana pudding. When my family came out to visit toward the end of June, I dragged them through the rain to this delightful bakery in Greenwich Village, reassuring them the whole way, "trust me, their banana pudding is to die for." 

After oohing and aahing over all of the delectable treats while waiting in line, I'll never forget my dad's nervous, rambling order at the busy counter. It was like it was his last meal or something. Afraid to miss out on anything, we walked away with about a dozen and a half cupcakes of various flavors, two large cartons of banana pudding, a healthy slice of icebox pudding, and a sampling of Toffee Pecan Drop cookies. I think there may have been a helping of cheesecake thrown in there just for good measure. We were laughing the whole subway ride home at the amount of sugar we had just purchased, all to be consumed by about five people.

Well, I'm happy to say that, last night, my Dad went gaga over this banana pudding the same way he did over three years ago in our Times Square hotel room. Munching on my homemade version of the Magnolia recipe, he kept asking, "Is this low-fat? This is lite, right?" I kept lying to him yes, because I didn't want to ruin his experience. The truth is, this is not low-fat. If you ate it everyday, you would be fat. But sometimes, you just need to INDULGE!!!!! 

From More From Magnolia by Allysa Torey


1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream (equal to 1.5 pints)
1 (12 oz.) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas (this was about 6 bananas for me)


In a medium bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing.

**It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.**

In a large bowl, on the medium-high speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary. (There are about 90 wafers in a 12 oz. box of Nilla Wafers, so 30 should be about the right number. Top wafers with one-third of the bananas, then one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or bananas on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to 8 hours, but no longer.
Serve and enjoy your delicious hearts out!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Prosciutto-Pepper Whole-Grain Spaghetti

There are so many options with pasta. It's easy to think of pasta pairings in two categories: tomato sauce or cream sauce. But there are many different ways than just tomato or cream to flavor a delightful pasta dish. This recipe is a perfect example. 

It's a tasty winter-y delight. I hope you enjoy.

*Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis


1 pound whole-grain spaghetti (or linguine)
2 Tablespoons peppercorns, coarsely ground (about 2 teaspoons ground)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated parmesan, romano, or pecorino cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or pancetta (if using pancetta, be sure to cook for about 5 min. first)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a small, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground peppercorns and toast for about 20-30 seconds. Add the oil and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat. 

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the spaghetti to a large serving bowl. Add 1 cup of the cheese, and toss to combine, gradually adding reserved pasta water as needed to loosen up the pasta. Add the oil mixture, prosciutto or pancetta, 2 Tablespoons of parsley, and 2 Tablespoons of basil. Toss well to combine all ingredients. 

Garnish with remaining cheese, parsley, and basil. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chocolate-y No-Bake Cookies

I remember cooking these in college with my good friend Leah. They're great for college kids because they don't require any "baking" ingredients like baking soda or baking powder (things college kids don't usually stock up their kitchens with). The other night, I wanted a chocolate-y treat and I wanted it fast. This was the perfect solution. Chewy, chocolate-y goodness.

*From browneyedbaker.com


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats


Add butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder to a 4-quart saucepan. Stir until butter is melted, bring to a rolling boil and let boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in oats.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets. Let cool until set.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Turkey-Gouda Meatballs

 Meatball. Or meat-a-ball. It doesn't always sound like the most appealing of dishes to me...a ball of meat? Really? BUT...what if you take a ball of meat, add an incredible blend of savory spices and some mouth-watering cheese? Well, I did, and that changed my mind about meatballs. 

I'm always looking for ingredients that use ground turkey and this is by far the best use of ground turkey that I have ever tasted. The original recipe called for ground beef, but since I prefer the health benefits of turkey over beef I used turkey and, my oh my, in the words of Joey Lawrence from Blossom, "Whoa!". These meatballs are just scrumptious. You can serve them as an appetizer on toothpicks or as a main dish with basmati rice and BBQ sauce. You will be happy.

*Adapted from allrecipes.com


1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (may substitute with dry)
1 Tablespoon dried basil (or oregano)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup crumbled gouda cheese (may substitute with pepperjack or mozzarella)
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (may substitute with ground beef)
1/2 large onion, sliced into thin rings (optional)


In a large bowl, combine first 11 ingredients. Mix well with your hands, making sure the cheese is evenly distributed. 

Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place in a lightly greased skillet. Place the rings of onion over the meatballs. Cover the pan and set the heat to medium-low. Turn the meatballs over after about 3 minutes and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook the meatballs, turning every 8-10 minutes until cooked through (about 25-30 minutes total). 

Serve with basmati rice and BBQ sauce and prepare to die. These are good.  


Cook these on a greased skillet in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

It has been so HOT here lately, it makes me want to lie on the beach all day long. One of my favorite beach-y foods is fish tacos. We find ourselves dining out a lot on Tuesday night for various restaurants' Taco Tuesday deals, but someday I envision making every Tuesday night in my home Taco Tuesday and I will make the tacos. This would definitely be one recipe in my arsenal. It's very fast and simple.


3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup beer (may be substituted with milk)
8 oz. tilapia fillet or other white fish, cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips
Vegetable oil
Corn tortillas
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, sliced
sour cream
paprika or other seasoning 


Combine flour, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in beer to create a batter. 

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat tilapia pieces in the batter and, letting the excess batter drip into the bowl, add fish to the pan. Cook until crispy and golden, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Serve with tortillas, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and season with paprika or your favorite seasoning