Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Celebrate seasonal Indiana produce with Blueberry Sweet Corn Cobbler

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

There are two things that will always make me think of summer in Indiana: blueberries and sweet corn.

My love for blueberries started when I was very young. I went blueberry picking with my mom every summer, and we brought home buckets (literal buckets) of blueberries. We added them to everything, both sweet and savory dishes.

Sadly, that blueberry patch no longer exists. But fortunately, blueberry pints are usually discounted at the grocery store this time of year, so I am still able to indulge in my favorite summer treat.

I came across a recipe for blueberry and corn crisp recently from Bon Appetit, and the concept of combining sweet corn with blueberries in a dessert really piqued my interest. I was more interested, though, in making a cobbler instead of a crisp.

Fruit crisps are definitely delicious, however, sometimes I prefer the heartiness of a biscuit topping, especially when I’m “splurging” on dessert (which I’ve been doing a lot of post-wedding, oops).

The emphasis of the role sweet corn plays in this recipe is what makes it truly unique. The biscuits are comparable to cornbread; however, instead of just using cornmeal to achieve the corn taste, I’m using actual fresh sweet corn. I mean, utilizing seasonal Indiana produce is the reason I’m making this in the first place, right?

As you’ll see in this recipe, there’s no heavy cream or milk. Instead, I used juices from the sweet corn. I collected these juices by grating the corn. It’s a messy process , but the milky, starchy pulp from the kernels is certainly worth it.

Depending on the size and juiciness of your corn, you’ll need 2 to 3 ears to collect the ¾ cup necessary for this recipe.

Blueberry Sweet Corn Cobbler
For the berries
  • 1.6 pounds (725 grams or 2 1/4 pints) blueberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (66 grams)
  • 1/4 cup flour (30 grams)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
For the topping
  • 3 ears sweet yellow corn, uncooked
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (150 grams)
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) medium or coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold Challenge unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the inside of a 8-by-8-inch square casserole dish with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine blueberries with sugar, flour, and lemon juice.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish spread in an even layer and set aside.
  4. Using a box grater, grate the corn over a bowl to collect its milky juices and pulp; discard the corn cobs.
  5. Make sure your corn juice measures 3/4 cup. If not, grate another ear of corn.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
  7. Cut in the butter using pastry blender or hands until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  8. Add corn juices to the flour mixture and mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and you have a cohesive dough.
  9. Use an ice cream scoop or create dough balls with your hands to place over blueberries.
  10. Sprinkle the dough evenly with sugar.
  11. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan to catch any potential overflow, and place in oven. Bake until the cobbler is golden and the blueberries are bubbling, about 30 minutes.
  12. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

Chicken salad can obviously be made year-round, but it feels like a summer staple. There’s something kind of refreshing about it.

One of the great things about chicken salad is that it can be made into a million different variations. My absolute favorite chicken salad is at a restaurant on Mackinac Island called Mary’s Bistro. Their chicken salad is on the sweeter side with mango chutney and cherries. They serve it on a bed of lettuce with crostini.

That was the inspiration behind this recipe for pina colada chicken salad. The coconut I used isn’t sweet, and it gives the chicken salad a nutty flavor, especially when combined with macadamia nuts. I thought it would be a good contrast in flavors to the sweetness of the pineapple in the recipe.

For the dressing, I used a combination of mayo and Greek yogurt to cut down on calories and add a little more protein. I also added a little bit of coconut milk to really enhance the nuttiness of the coconut. If you don’t have coconut milk, don’t sweat it! You could use a little pineapple juice and make it a little sweeter instead.

I served the chicken salad over romaine lettuce with red peppers and crostini that I made from a pre-sliced French baguette. If you prefer to eat it as a sandwich, I recommend Hawaiian buns for an extra dose of tropical flavor.

Side note: The chicken salad’s flavor develops more after about a day in the refrigerator, as is the case with most salads like this.

Pina Colada Chicken Salad
For the chicken salad
  • 3 cups cooked (about 1 pound), shredded chicken (or the meat from 1 rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nut,s chopped and toasted
For the dressing
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Mix the chicken salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the Greek yogurt, mayo, coconut milk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour over chicken salad ingredients, and story until everything is coated in the dressing.
  3. Serve on a bed of lettuce with red bell pepper and crostini or on a Hawaiian bun.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Patriotic Bald Eagle Cheese Ball

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I launched Kylee’s Kitchen the year after I graduated college. I was working a stressful job with terrible hours (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) for little pay. I wasn’t able to sleep much, and I was very depressed and lonely. The blog became my creative outlet. It helped me to feel inspired. It gave me a purpose.

Baking cupcakes and cookies has always brought me so much joy because I love decorating food. I felt that same joy while making this cheeseball. 

It truly was a lot of fun sculpting the eagle’s body and carefully placing the cheese shavings on its head.

I began to think about what other cheese balls I could create. Perhaps it will be a new series on Kylee’s Kitchen. Surely there’s a demand for cheese sculptures, right? 

As with most all of my recipes, it is indeed much easier than it looks. You can use just about any cheeseball recipe you want. This recipe works well because all the ingredients are all white, so it makes the eagle’s head look a little more believable (not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for, but you get the idea). Also, other than the little amount of blue cheese, I stayed away from soft cheeses and liquids like Worcestershire sauce (some recipes call for it) because I wanted his head to be as firm as possible.

No matter what your work and life situation is, I hope you feel as inspired and creative as I did when making this recipe.

Happy Fourth of July!

Bald Eagle Cheese Ball
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup pecan halve
  • 1 olive
  • Slice of yellow pepper
  1. Cream together the cream cheese, white sharp cheddar cheese, blue cheese, and garlic powder.
  2. Use a spatula to dump the cheese mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap it in the plastic wrap, form it into a ball, and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least hour.
  3. While the cheese ball is still in the plastic wrap, start to form it into a cone so it resembles an eagle’s bodice.
  4. About 1/3 way down from the top, make a neck be indenting the cheese. Remove the wrap.
  5. Layer two rows of pecans around the base of the eagle like roof shingles.
  6. Press shredded white cheese onto its head.
  7. Cut an olive in half and add to both sides of head for the yes.
  8. Stick a slice of yellow pepper into the front of its face to resemble a beak. Use a toothpick to secure it in place if you have problems.
  9. Serve with blue tortilla chips and beet crackers to finish off your patriotic cheese ball.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Perfect picnic with sandwich skewers

I will always be a proponent of dining al fresco. Some people view eating as just a way to sustain life. But for me, dining is an experience. I find dining outside to be more relaxing and liberating. I find food tastes better and fresher outdoors.

That being said, I love picnics!

Packing a picnic shouldn’t be complicated. Instagram makes us think we need an adorable basket, an elaborate cheeseboard, a vase filled with beautiful flowers, and champagne. 

But that’s not real life.

Personally, I think the best picnics are the most simple ones. I don’t want to do a lot of work. I just want to dine outdoors and enjoy the Indiana summer.

To start off, here are the essentials…
  1. A good picnic blanket. I use a big thick blanket that I don’t care about getting dirty. You can always check second-hand stores or make your own if you don’t have one. Make sure the blanket isn’t too thin or you’ll feel every rock and stick and piece of grass through it.
  2. A cooler. Sure, wooden baskets are adorable, but I’m not sure they’re the most practical. I use a cooler bag instead. It’s much more functional (food won’t spoil) and easily foldable so you can store it in a backpack when you’re finished. I like to freeze water bottles instead of using ice packs, so you can drink them after they’ve served their purpose.

Now, let’s discuss what foods to pack. There are three things I like to focus on when packing for a picnic.
  1. Focus on finger foods. Have you ever tried sitting on the ground and trying to eat with utensils?mIt’s not that easy. If you focus on only packing finger foods, you don’t have to worry about packing utensils from home or buying plastic utensils. For example, I avoid packing fruit salad, and instead, I just stick with plain fruit in a bowl or fruit skewers. I also love the idea of sandwich skewers.
  2. Focus on food that will last and not get soggy. I try to avoid lettuce because it can wilt, fruits like melons because they must be refrigerate, and dairy dips because they don’t last long outdoors. Instead, I opt for berries because they do not need to be refrigerated, and I prefer to use hummus for a dip because it lasts longer in the sun.
  3. Focus on desserts that won’t melt in the sun. Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, but the chips may melt and get messy. Try rice krispie treats, shortbread cookies, or other easily transportable non-chocolate desserts instead. Also, I find dried fruit to be a sweet enough treat that’s the perfect dessert substitute.

Sandwich skewers
Add any or all of the following ingredients to a kebab for a portable, non-messy sandwich that won’t get soggy and you can make in advance.

  • Baguette, cubed
  • Whole wheat bread, cubed
  • Pita bread, cut in triangles
  • Deli turkey
  • Deli ham
  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Thick cheddar cheese, cut in squares
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Cheese cubes
Other toppings
  • Mini dill pickles
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Olives
  • Pepperocinis
  • Hummus
  • Black bean dip

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Strawberry salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette

A lot of people prefer “lighter” meals in the summer, but they don’t want to feel hungry a few hours later! So I’m sharing ideas to transform your wimpy side salad into a hearty dinner salad.

Salads are a great way to use fresh, local ingredients, and they make a great base for whatever you’re grilling.

There are no rules to building a dinner salad, but there are certain key elements every good dinner salad should contain.

Those elements are greens, protein, fruit, nuts, and cheese.

Another key to building the perfect salad is using ingredients that are in season. That’s what is going to help it taste the best. Fortunately, summer is the best time to do that in Indiana as we approach a season where most produce is readily available.

If you’re worried about the amount of time it takes to prep the ingredients for salad, you can always buy pre-cut ingredients or use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut.

The last thing I want to emphasize before I discuss this particular recipe is salad dressing. I think the biggest misconception about salad dressings is fat makes you fat. NOT TRUE! Fat slows the digestion process, and it’s great for heart health and glowing skin. That’s why you don’t need a fat-free dressing.

BUT you should avoid dressings high in saturated fat and added sugar. Pay close attention to that when you’re looking at the label.

When time allows, make your own salad dressing. That way you can control everything that goes into it. It also tastes a lot better!

Now, onto this strawberry salad! Here’s the breakdown if the ingredients I used:

Greens: Spinach—it is packed with iron and fiber, among other macronutrients. It’s also currently in season in Indiana.

Protein: Grilled chicken breast—salads are versatile enough that you can incorporate anything you grill with them. I also added bacon because bacon makes everything better.

Fruit: Strawberries—they’re currently in season in Indiana!

Nuts: Pecans—they provide a crunch like croutons, but they contain important nutrients like manganese which is important for helping your metabolism properly function.

Cheese: Goat cheese—it’s a little bit lower in fat than other cheeses , and it has a tangy taste which pairs well with the sweetness of the strawberries.

Miscellaneous: Pickled onions—Not as sharp of a taste as raw onions, and they’re easier to eat, in my opinion. Also, red onions are important for your immune and digestive systems.

Strawberry salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette
Serves about 4 people
For the salad
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pickled onions
For the pickled onions
  • 1 medium onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
For the lemon Dijon vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the pickled onions
  1. Place onion in mason jar or another bowl with lid.
  2. Warm water for 2 minutes in microwave or on stove. Add vinegar, honey, and salt, and whish until it looks uniform. Pour over onion. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. They’ll stay good for up to 3 weeks.
For the salad
  1. In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together.
For the lemon Dijon vinaigrette
  1. Add ingredients to mason jar and shake or whisk together in bowl. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cookout Cookies are perfect for summer

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I will always love themed treats, and I’ve made some pretty fun ones in the past for the Indy 500 / Memorial Day weekend. This year is no exception! I wanted to celebrate the official start of grilling season by making cute little grills.

There are multiple steps to this, but nothing is too tricky, so stay with me! I started by making the easiest, tastiest chocolate cookies. It’s the same base recipe I use for my hot cocoa cookies. They’re soft, thick, and very chocolatey.

Then I made a batch of classic buttercream with red food coloring. This will act as the flames in the grill.

The third step is the trickiest: I made a picture of a grill grate using the paint program, and I printed it out, making sure it was the same size as the cookies. I then set a piece of wax paper on top and used melted chocolate to draw the design on the wax paper. It will harden after just a few minutes. That’s when you peel it off the wax paper and stick it on top of the frosted cookies.

The last step is the most fun! Use your favorite candies to create shish kebabs to lay on top of the grill.

If I’m being honest, this is not a quick recipe. But sometimes it’s just fun to spend time in the kitchen, and the final result is totally worth it!

Cookout Cookies
For the cookies
For the buttercream frosting
  • 1 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 4 – 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring
For the grill grates
  • Melted chocolate
For the shish kebabs
  • Gummy bears, Mike & Ike’s, Hot Tamales, etc. cut into small pieces
For the cookies
  1. In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, melted butter, and egg.
  2. Add cream cheese and beat until completely incorporated.
  3. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes so it’s easier to shape into a ball.
  5. Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Form dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet, and bake for 8 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before frosting.
For the buttercream
  1. Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth–about 2 minutes.
  2. Add heavy cream, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until combined, and then increase mixer to high speed for about 3 minutes.
  3. If frosting isn’t thick enough, add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. If frosting is too thick, add more heavy cream.
  4. Frost cookies. I always prefer to use a piping bag, but you can just spread it on if you prefer.
For the grill grate
  1. Print out picture of grill grate, and cut piece of wax paper to lay on top of it.
  2. Melt chocolate and add to Ziploc bag. Cut one corner and trace grate design on wax paper.
  3. Let harden and place on frosted cookies.
For the shish kebabs
  1. Place small candy pieces on toothpick and place on top of grill grates.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Giant Oatmeal Cream Pie with Maple Cinnamon Cream

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Bigger isn’t always better, but it is in this case! As you’ve realized by now, this recipe is for a homemade oatmeal cream pie—but not just any oatmeal cream pie. We’re talking about a GIANT oatmeal cream pie with maple cinnamon cream filling. Seriously, it’s the size of the cake! 

For the cookies
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the maple cinnamon cream filling
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
For the oatmeal cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine flour, quick oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix together brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until dough forms.
  4. Spray 2 8x8 round cake pans and evenly distribute the dough between the two pans.
  5. Pat dough down in the center of the pan so it makes a circle shape. Don’t try to stretch the dough so it reaches the edges—just pat down in the center. It will spread as it bakes.
  6. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the center is mostly set. Let cool before frosting.
For the maple cinnamon cream filling
  1. Using a mixer, beat butter on high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add the cream, vanilla extract, maple extract, cinnamon and salt.
  2. To assemble, take one of the cookies and turn it upside down so the bottom is facing up. Spread buttercream on cookie. Carefully lay the second cookie on top.

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