Roasted parsnips make a great soup... with white chocolate as an accent flavor! This soup is surprising and delicious, thanks to the rich, quality chocolates from Forte Artisan Chocolates, a sponsor for this year's #Choctoberfest.
Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

#Choctoberfest: White Chocolate Parsnip Soup

Roasted parsnips make a great soup… with white chocolate as an amazing accent flavor! This soup is surprising and delicious, thanks to the rich, quality chocolates from Forte Artisan Chocolates, a sponsor for this year’s #Choctoberfest. 

Roasted parsnips make a great soup... with white chocolate as an accent flavor! This soup is surprising and delicious, thanks to the rich, quality chocolates from Forte Artisan Chocolates, a sponsor for this year's #Choctoberfest.

Announcement, announcement, announcement! Guess what!? Today is the last day of #Choctoberfest 2018… but you can still enter the giveaway (over $400 of prizes!) so get to it! 🙂 And then get back here for a yummy SAVORY chocolate recipe! Today’s recipe was inspired by the amazing and versatile chocolates made by Forte Artisan Chocolates, another one of our generous #Choctoberfest sponsors. I was fortunate enough to receive some samples of their chocolates–two varieties of white chocolate that I used in this recipe, one classic White Chocolate Cloud and the other an interesting Balsamic Vinegar in White Chocolate, as well as some amazingly rich 71% Dark Chocolate Brute. While all of them were incredible on their own, it was so fun using both varieties of white chocolate in a savory dish.

Roasted parsnips make a great soup... with white chocolate as an accent flavor! This soup is surprising and delicious, thanks to the rich, quality chocolates from Forte Artisan Chocolates, a sponsor for this year's #Choctoberfest.

Truth be told, on my own I probably wouldn’t take the initiative to make something savory with chocolate. But Forte challenged us to at least try it… so try it I did! And this soup is the amazing result. It’s hard to describe this savory White Chocolate Parsnip Soup without having you over for a bowl, but it is very similar to a good butternut squash bisque or pumpkin soup. A little sweet, but not too overpowering. The white chocolate is a perfect compliment to the veggie goodness of this soup.

Roasted parsnips make a great soup... with white chocolate as an accent flavor! This soup is surprising and delicious, thanks to the rich, quality chocolates from Forte Artisan Chocolates, a sponsor for this year's #Choctoberfest.

One of the most surprising things about making this soup was the fact that it definitely did not need any herbs or spices for flavor. The parsnips, when roasted, almost have a spiced flavor profile. I swear I smelled cinnamon! But alas, I just roasted them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was crazytown, but turned out to be the perfect compliment to sweet, rich white chocolate when they were blended with chicken broth, cream, garlic, and onion. This is a must try soup, especially if you can get your hands on some Forte Artisan Chocolate. This is the best white chocolate I have ever had, and lucky for you, you can use the code “CHOCTOBERFEST2018” on their website now to get a special buy 3 get 1 free sale. They have so many unique flavors… and a whole line of savory chocolate bars in their Gusto line. I can’t wait to try them all!

Roasted parsnips make a great soup... with white chocolate as an accent flavor! This soup is surprising and delicious, thanks to the rich, quality chocolates from Forte Artisan Chocolates, a sponsor for this year's #Choctoberfest.

All in all, I love this White Chocolate Parsnip Soup, even though it was a total experiment. My family enjoyed it too. It’s great with crusty bread and a side salad, but I can also envision it being a great first or second course for a fancy meal with some filet mignon. Or maybe at Thanksgiving! Yesss! How fun would it be to surprise your guests with soup, that includes white chocolate? Yes, please! Enjoy, friends!

one year ago: Double Chocolate Pumpkin Energy Bites
two years ago: Pumpkin & Sausage Pizza

four years ago: Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
five years ago: Funfetti Cookies
six years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce
seven years ago: Roasted Vegetable Soup
eight years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Please check out more chocolate recipes here!!

White Chocolate Parsnip Soup

  • Servings: 8
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adapted from Chocolate for Dinner, An Italian Tradition by Francine Segan

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds parsnips (about 4-5 large parsnips)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 45 gram White Chocolate Cloud bar by Forte Artisan Chocolates, chopped
  • 45 gram Balsamic Vinegar in White Chocolate bar by Forte Artisan Chocolates, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • minced fresh rosemary or dill

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Peel and cut parsnips into one inch slices, then toss with olive oil. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing halfway through, until softened.

When parsnips are almost done, melt butter in a large dutch oven or stockpot. Add onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds until fragrant.

Pour in chicken stock, vanilla, and roasted parsnips. Season with pepper and a little salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add chopped white chocolate, then stir until melted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add in heavy cream and lemon juice, then use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Serve with a touch of fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Disclosure: I received free product from Forte Artisan Chocolates to use in this recipe for #Choctoberfest. I was not required to review them or provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. You can learn more about Forte Artisan Chocolates and get great recipe ideas from them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

SRC: S’mores Bundt Cake

This incredible S’mores Bundt Cake is made with graham cracker crumbs–no flour–and is so delicious you won’t be able to stop at just one slice! You’ll always want “s’more!” Hahaha. But seriously, even though it’s super rich, you will. 🙂

This incredible S'mores Bundt Cake is made with graham cracker crumbs--no flour--and is so delicious you won't be able to stop at just one slice! You'll always want "s'more!" Hahaha. But seriously, even though it's super rich, you will. :) #secretrecipeclub

Heyyyy it’s another Secret Recipe Club Monday! Yay! And it’s Presidents’ Day so Ben has a three day weekend. I decided to take the day off too… what fun 🙂 This month I was assigned to Margaret’s blog, Tea and Scones. She has lots of great recipes, which is no surprise because with a food blog, who doesn’t? Hahaha lame, sorry. Anyway, Margaret loves to bake and cook and share her culinary adventures with the world. 🙂 Her favorite thing to bake is scones, preferably if they can be enjoyed with tea, so I should have baked scones from her blog. Instead I made an AMAZING s’mores bundt cake. Seriously, this cake can’t be missed! But in case you do want to miss it, or eat something else besides sugary sweet cake that you can’t get enough of, maybe one of her other recipes suits your fancy. Swedish Meatballs, Baked Carbonara, Sweet Potato Muffins, Cantaloupe Pie, Cinnamon Graham Cracker Ice Cream… the list can go on… seriously, this blog is FULL of deliciousness, and sweetness too because Margaret just sounds wonderful! 🙂

This incredible S'mores Bundt Cake is made with graham cracker crumbs--no flour--and is so delicious you won't be able to stop at just one slice! You'll always want "s'more!" Hahaha. But seriously, even though it's super rich, you will. :) #secretrecipeclub

Speaking of sweet, if you don’t like sweet, this cake isn’t for you. Good thing I don’t know too many people like this, because this cake is insanely good! It may just be my new go-to party dessert. I don’t think anyone would mind. 🙂 This cake has SO much deliciousness in it. And on it. 🙂 I normally don’t do all the fancy toppings but I’m so glad I did this time!

This incredible S'mores Bundt Cake is made with graham cracker crumbs--no flour--and is so delicious you won't be able to stop at just one slice! You'll always want "s'more!" Hahaha. But seriously, even though it's super rich, you will. :) #secretrecipeclub

First, you have yourself a graham cracker bundt cake. Sounds pretty good right? What if I told you that there’s NO flour in the cake, except what’s in the graham cracker crumbs? Sounds pretty weird, but it works! There are five eggs, butter, and sour cream all coming together to make truly delicious and moist [sorry! It is though.] cake. Next, inside the cake is a layer [Margaret calls it a hidden surprise!] of chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff. Yum! My fluff puffed up through the batter and actually became a little caramelized in the oven, so it was more s’mores like. #nocomplaintshere On top, you have not just one but TWO toppings–a rich chocolate ganache AND a silky smooth marshmallow glaze AND some extra graham cracker crumbs. Ohhh man. This cake just got real, folks. Double of each ingredient. Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. What a great combination!

This incredible S'mores Bundt Cake is made with graham cracker crumbs--no flour--and is so delicious you won't be able to stop at just one slice! You'll always want "s'more!" Hahaha. But seriously, even though it's super rich, you will. :) #secretrecipeclub

This s’mores bundt cake is intense, and almost better than the real deal because you don’t have to stand over a fire to make it. 🙂 I recommend making it for a special occasion because it is rich and a wee bit time consuming and kinda sorta messy. You should have seen my kitchen explode after I made it. I just made it because it sounded yummy… is that special enough? Hope so! And I hope you give this cake a try soon! My recommendations for this recipe are sky high! Thanks, Margaret, for a great recipe! 🙂

This incredible S'mores Bundt Cake is made with graham cracker crumbs--no flour--and is so delicious you won't be able to stop at just one slice! You'll always want "s'more!" Hahaha. But seriously, even though it's super rich, you will. :) #secretrecipeclub

one year ago: Crumb Topped Apple Pie
two years ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
three years ago: Go-To Pancakes
four years ago: Mexican Chicken Alfredo
five years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

S'mores Bundt Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from Tea and Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 2/3 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs [about 8 ounces]
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes [I omitted]
  • 2/3 cup chopped nuts, either pecans or walnuts [I omitted]
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces chocolate chips, divided
  • 13 ounces marshmallow fluff, divided
  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • additional graham cracker crumbs, for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, coconut, nuts, and baking soda.

With an electric mixer, beat together sugar, brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg yolks, then beat until combined. Next, alternate between adding graham cracker crumb mixture and sour cream, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not overmix.

Place egg whites in a separate bowl, and beat with a whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter.

Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 of the batter into prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips and top with half of the marshmallow fluff. You’ll want to press down gently to better incorporate the marshmallow fluff in the batter. Top with the remaining batter.

Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When cake is cooled, place on a serving platter, then make chocolate ganache and marshmallow glaze.

To make ganache, add remaining chocolate chips and half and half/heavy cream to a small saucepan set over low heat. Constantly whisk until chocolate has melted and cream has been incorporated into the chocolate. Mixture will thicken slightly. Let cool off heat for a few minutes before drizzling on cake.

While cool, place 2 tablespoons butter with remaining marshmallow fluff in another saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk continually until melted and smooth. Pour over top of ganache, then top with additional graham cracker crumbs, if desired.

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out all the other recipes for SRC today at the link below!

Potatoes, Recipes, Sides

Mashed Potato Casserole

A cheesy, creamy, baked mashed potato casserole that’s perfect for ANY holiday or just a special meal with family and friends. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Sometimes it’s the simplest recipes that are the best, aren’t they? My family has long tried to find the best cheesy potato recipe because everyone loves them. My sister is pretty much the biggest cheesy potato fan I know, and my husband is pretty much the biggest mashed potato fan I know, so this is a dish to please them both!

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Regular ‘ole mashed potatoes aren’t my favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all time, but add in a bunch of cheddar and parmesan, and you make this girl veryyy happy! All that cheese + some sour cream or greek yogurt jazz up plain mashed potatoes, but it’s the baking of them that take this dish over the edge! I don’t know what it is about baking dishes but that just adds an extra layer of deliciousness to the final product… especially when there’s cheese involved. Think about stovetop mac & cheese vs. baked mac & cheese. I’m right, aren’t I? There’s just no competition! Baked wins every single day. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

I’ll admit that some may take issues with this dish because it’s not traditional enough… and there isn’t even any butter in it [gasp!]. But all the cheese and sour cream sure makes up for it. One of the best parts about this creamy ‘n cheesy side dish is that you can make it ahead AND it reheats beautifully in the microwave. Regular mashed potatoes can get kinda weird after the microwave but these absolutely do not! Have I convinced you to make them yet?!? I sure hope so, because they’re pretty much the tastiest version of mashed potatoes I’ve ever enjoyed and I bet you will too!

one year ago: Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups
two years ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
four years ago: Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
five years ago: Layered Taco Dip

Mashed Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 ounces sour cream or plain yogurt [regular or greek]
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large shallots, minced – about 1/2 cup
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, when a fork easily pierces through. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Off heat, add sour cream and half and half to potatoes, then stir to combine. Use a potato masher to smash until desired texture is achieved. Stir in cheddar, shallots, and pepper. [If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften.]

Transfer potatoes to a medium baking dish – a 10 inch round, 8×8 square, or the like, at least 2.5 quarts. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with Parmesan and extra freshly ground black pepper, and broil for about 2 minutes until golden brown.

Notes:

Dish can be prepared up until the baking step up to 24 hours in advance. Let dish come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.

If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften before adding to the potatoes. The flavor was fine when raw, but even though they were minced small, we found them a little crunchy, especially the ones that were left on the top of the dish.

 

Main Dishes, Pasta, Recipes

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

Cheesy chicken pasta with tangy and sweet sundried tomatoes.. this is pretty much my new favorite Italian dish! 

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to tell you about this pasta, but it’s just so hard. It’s just so hard because it’s just so good! I mean, just look at the ingredients. What’s not to love? Cheese, chicken, tomatoes, pasta, half and half… simple, flavorful ingredients that always taste good–well, now they taste great together!

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

Truly, this pasta is the whole shebang… the whole package… everything you could ever love or want or need–and more! Besides being filled with delicious ingredients, it’s SO easy to make that it’s almost foolproof. If you can boil water you can make this delicious dish. I promise! Please make this creamy, cheesy, carby delight today. You won’t regret it! 🙂

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes| a creamy, flavorful weeknight pasta dish that's fancy enough for company! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Chocolate Baked Oatmeal
two years ago: Club Soda Waffles
three years ago: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 
four years ago: Salsas for Cinco de Mayo

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

from Julia’s Album

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ounces sundried tomatoes, either packed in oil or dried like the ones from Trader Joe’s, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil [drained from tomatoes or extra virgin olive oil + some Italian seasoning]
  • 1 pound chicken, sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces
  • paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 8 ounces small-medium pasta [I used campanelle, but rotini or penne would be great]
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil [or more fresh basil]
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2-1 cup reserved pasta water

Directions:

If using sundried tomatoes in oil, drain oil and use 2 tablespoons for the first step. If not, disregard and use extra virgin olive oil plus a bit of Italian seasoning.

Set a large pot of water to boil for pasta and prepare according to package directions, reserving about 1 cup cooking water when finished.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, heat oil until glistening. Add chicken, then season with paprika on top side. Cook for one minute, then flip and season the other side with paprika. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes and garlic. Continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes until chicken is nearly fully cooked. Add half and half to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Then stir in cheese, continuing to stir until all cheese melts.

By this point, the pasta should be about done. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.

Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to chicken and sauce mixture in the skillet. Stir to incorporate, then season with basil and red pepper flakes. Taste and add more seasoning if desired, then fold in cooked pasta. Stir together well and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Beverages, Recipes

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer is a must for fall coffee drinking!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks like none other. I know, I know. They don’t contain pumpkin. I DON’T WANNA HEAR IT! They are delicious, and the lack of pumpkin isn’t my biggest gripe with them. But my biggest gripe with them is that they are so freaking expensive. Seriously, paying $5 for a grande isn’t something I do very often. So, I have a few of them every season, say that’s that, and go the DIY route to save some cash monies. I’ve made pumpkin spice lattes at home before with homemade syrup, but this method is MUCH easier for your pumpkin spice coffee fix. And bonus? It doesn’t have any weird ingredients–just your usual milk/cream or half and half, plus pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices. Easy easy!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

Basically you just mix everything up on the stovetop and let it simmer away for a bit, then strain, chill, and enjoy! If you’re into pumpkin yogurt, you can stir the leftover pumpkin puree/spice mixture into some plain yogurt. Heavenly! I’ve made this in years past but this is my first go-round this year, and I just discovered the yogurt trick. It’s nice!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

Normally, when I use flavored creamers I just like them with plain coffee. But we’ve recently discovered that this creamer with Apple Crisp Coffee from Paramount Coffee is incredible! [No affiliation, we just buy and love their coffee! It’s available online and sometimes TJ Maxx.] And why wouldn’t it be? Apple and pumpkin are the flavors of fall, right? I think this creamer would be tasty with almost any seasonal spiced coffee, or even with hot chocolate or chai. Mmm, the possibilities! Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese
two years ago: No Bake Tropical Energy Bites
three years ago: Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna
four years ago: Southwestern Pepperjack Baked Penne

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

  • Servings: 2 cups/16 ounces
  • Print

from Next to Heaven

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk*
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick, optional
  • a few whole cloves, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Whisk milk, cream, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup together in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves, if using. Set over medium heat. Reduce heat to low when it gets steamy, then let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Use a fine sieve or a coffee filter set over a colander to strain out the cinnamon stick, cloves, and pumpkin puree/spices. Don’t skip this step! I usually strain everything in my sieve into a measuring cup, then pour the mixture into a jar or pitcher for storing in the fridge.

*I have also made this using all half and half, and while it might not be traditional “creamer” it is still really good! Use what you prefer. 🙂