Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I don't know about you but we go through chocolate syrup like CRAZY!  With all the chocolate milk, ice cream topping, hot chocolate and random walk by the fridge and fill your mouth with creamy goodness, we need to buy it by the gallon.
So in order to save a little moolah I started looking around for an easy homemade recipe that would serve as a good stand in for the brown bottle of deliciousness.

Here is what I came up with.  This is a combination of a few recipes I found online.  They all have the same general principal but some of the measurements are a little different.  Many people are certain that if you don't use Hershey's cocoa powder your right eye will fall out.  Of course I had the cheapo generic cocoa powder in my pantry so that is what I used.  I can tell you, the stuff is still fantabulous! 

Before you start this make sure you have a nice fresh gallon of milk available because you must make a large class of chocolate milk to taste test.

Cast of characters...

1 cup packed cocoa powder
2 cups water
4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 2/3 teaspoon vanilla
48oz empty chocolate syrup bottle

In a large pot, I use a 4 quart pot so I don't have to deal with boil over mess.  The first attempt at this left my entire house smelling like burned chocolate and a big mess to clean up!  Grab whatever you use to boil spaghetti in and you should be set.
Whisk the water and cocoa powder together over low heat.  Add the sugar and whisk to dissolve.

Increase the heat until you have a light boil and continue stirring.  Reduce heat to keep boil but you don't want to let it run away with you.
Boil and stir for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat as necessary to keep it from boiling over.  If you use a large pot this shouldn't be a problem.

After boiling for 3-5 minutes remove from heat and add salt and vanilla.  Mix it well and set it aside to cool.
When cool, skim the skin off of the top, and pour into your empty chocolate syrup container.  Store in the fridge. 
Make sure the kids are doing something else and make yourself a large glass of heavenly chocolate milk!

You can play with this to make it just right for you.  Maybe a little more vanilla?  Half dark cocoa powder?  Even add some peppermint extract around the holidays.  There are so many things you could do with this and it is yummy and cheap.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tortine di Lasagna

Now that we are all settled into our new house in San Antonio I am enjoying cooking new things in our absolutely beautiful kitchen.
One of our new favorites are Tortine di Lasagna, or Lasagna Muffins. 
These are a fun and easy way to make individual servings of lasagna, plus the kids can help!

Here is what you need...
1 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Phyllo dough (thawed)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Go ahead and start your oven preheating to 375.  These will only take a few minutes to throw together.

Brown the ground beef and sausage on the stove top, drain and scoop out 1/4 of the cooked meat.  One of the lovely parts about this is the extra meat can be used to make spaghetti in a couple of days and half the work is done!

Once the meat is separated add the spaghetti sauce to the remaining meat mixture and stir.
In a separate bowl add the salt and pepper to the cottage cheese.

Cut your phyllo dough into shapes resembling rectangles.  I just cut a 3" strip off the sheet and cut it ins half to create two rectangles about 3" by 4". 
Layer 3 phyllo rectangles in each cup of a muffin tin.

  Now start filling in with half the cottage cheese mixture.
Then top with half of the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and cover with another two phyllo rectangles.  Repeat the layers of cottage cheese and meat mixtures and top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the phyllo is golden and crispy.

Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before you scoop them out and serve.

I just serve these with some steamed broccoli and everyone is happy!

I think I may try a taco version of these with salsa, re fried beans and some green chilies.  Should be yummy!!!