4 Ingredient Dark Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

4 Ingredient Dark Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies
I am a huge fan of peanut butter cookies so when I came across these 4 ingredient dark chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies on pinterest I had to make them right away! The 3 ingredients for the cookies are peanut butter, dates, and eggs with the dark chocolate for the dip being the fourth ingredient. I was super curious to see how they would turn out! They are so easy to make, you simply puree the peanut butter and dates until smooth and add the eggs, for into cookie and bake before, optionally, dipping in the melted dark chocolate. As far as peanut butter cookies go, these 4 ingredient dark chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies are really good! The date sweetener is very nice, combo-ing so well with the peanut butter and the chocolate! They are also healthier than regular peanut butter cookies so I will be making these peanut butter and date cookies a lot!

Mushroom and Eggplant Veggie Burgers

Mushroom and Eggplant Veggie Burgers
I like a good beef burger and I also like to change the meat up and so lamb, turkey, and pork make frequent appearances. Another option that I have been increasingly seeing in restaurants and that I have been getting requests for is veggie burgers or burgers made with the primary ingredient being vegetables. If you are looking for a veggie burger that reminds you of a meat burger then you have to get the texture and the flavour right, which isn't too difficult. The basic recipe for veggie burgers is vegetables, that are cooked before adding them to the patties to remove any excess moisture, beans, a grain and often a nut to build the texture of the burger and then some seasonings to build the flavour. One of my favourite combos for the veggies are mushrooms and eggplants which are both roasted to remove the moisture and to add flavour! The eggplant is then pureed along with chickpeas to form the base of the binder of the patty. The mushrooms, chickpeas, and cashew are chopped rather than pureed to give the burgers a nice texture and the barley adds to that texture so that when you bite into the burger it feels like there is something of substance there! I add dried mushrooms, parmesan cheese, miso paste, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Montreal steak seasoning which provide a ton of umami flavour! The final ingredient is the breadcrumbs which is the last component of the binder that helps hold the patties together. These burgers take a bit of effort to make but they are well worth it! You can make the mixture the day before and add the breadcrumbs when ready and then it only takes a few minutes to form the patties and grill them! These mushroom and eggplant veggie burgers are such an amazing way to enjoy a burger!

Meatless Mondays

Meatless Mondays

Are you ready for a Meatless Monday? The idea is to eat one meal a week without meat. Now don't get me wrong I could never give up things like BACON, steaks, burgers, etc. but I do find that I eat a lot of meatless meals and they are just as tasty and they are usually pretty healthy! With all of the fresh summer produce around you have plenty of options to go meatless for a meal and I thought that I would roundup some of my favourite vegetarian recipes in case you wanted to go meatless this Monday!

Dandan Noodles (Tantanmen Ramen)

Dandan Noodles (Tantanmen Ramen)
Ramen is super popular these days and one of my favourite bowls to order at restaurants is tantanmen ramen. After doing a bit of research I found that tantan-men ramen is based on Chinese dandan noodles, aka dandanmian, which typically consists of ground pork, chili oil and sichuan pepper served over noodles with a common addition being peanut butter or sesame butter. The key ingredients here are the doubanjiang (a Chinese fermented chili and bean paste) along with the sichuan pepper where the chili paste bring the spicy heat and saltiness and the sichuan pepper brings the moth tingling/numbing effect that perfectly complement each other! The sichuan chili oil further enhances those properties and adds the fiery red colour and the peanut butter adds an amazing flavour and creaminess! I like to use udon noodles for some bite but ramen style egg noodles also work well in this tantanmen ramen! The next time you think about running out for a quick bowl of ramen remember that these tasty dandan noodles comes together in less than 20 minutes making it really nice for weeknight meals!

Sichuan Chili Oil

Sichuan Chili Oil
Chili oil is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines and it's super easy to make your own! At it's base chili oil is oil and chili pepper flakes! You simply heat the oil, add the chili pepper flakes and let cool/sit so that the chili pepper heat is infused into the oil! You can add extra flavours to the chili oil making it more complex with common additions being garlic and ginger. This is a Sichuan chili oil because of the use of Sichuan peppercorns which add a nice lemony aroma along with creating a slight tingly numbness in the mouth which goes perfectly with the spicy heat of the chili peppers. Sichuan peppercorns come in green and red and you can typically find the in an Asian/Chinese grocery store, though they are usually labeled poorly so you have to look at what's in the package to make sure you are getting the right thing. This Sichuan chili oil is spiced with hints of cinnamon, star anise and black cardamom and I tend to use Korean style chili pepper flakes as they are easy to come by. (I use the same chili pepper flakes in my homemade kimchi.) Once made, this chili oil will last for months in a sealed container in the fridge.

Ultimate Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Ultimate Fudgy Cocoa Brownies
Brownies have to be one of my all time favourite treats and I like them nice and thick, moist and fudgy! The trick to getting fudgy brownies is to have a higher fat to flour ratio and to have more moisture and this recipe accomplishes this by using 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, and 4 eggs to 1 cup flour and 1 cup cocoa powder. Using half brown sugar increases the moisture in the brownies and adds an extra layer of flavour and a small amount of oil also adds to the fudgy-ness. The next trick to keeping these brownies nice and moist is to not over bake them! You want to pull these brownies out of the oven a little early and allow them to finish baking in the pan as they cool outside of the oven; having said that, these brownies are so easy to make! You simply mix the wet ingredients, mix in the dry ingredients, pour into a baking pan and bake! All said and done you are in the ultimate fudgy cocoa brownie heaven in about 30 minutes!

Oh, right, I almost forgot to mention the huge chunk of dark chocolate! I like to cut 2 full dark chocolate bars up into huge chunks and bake them into the brownies! Those chunks of chocolate are so amazing when they are still warm from the oven and the chocolate is nice and melted, ooey-gooey and good! Lava brownies anyone? The chunks of chocolate are also fantastic when cool, giving the fudgy brownies a nice solid bite! Enough talking about these brownies, it's time to get to baking some!

Mexican Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Mexican Shredded Beef Enchiladas
Enchiladas are are always welcome in my books! You really can't go wrong taking a tasty filling, wrapping it up in a tortilla, smothering it with sauce and cheese and baking it until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is all nice and melted and good! These enchiladas are stuffed with tender Mexican pulled beef and a chipotle and ancho enchilada sauce with a hint of cocoa. Although I could devour an entire batch of these shredded beef enchiladas just with the meat, sauce, tortillas and melted cheese, I also like to top them with some cool and fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and queso fresco for one really tasty and satisfying meal!

Pasta Recipes

Pasta Recipes

Pasta has to be one of my favourite go to meals! It's so easy just to toss a few simple ingredients together with pasta for a quick and tasty meal and it's versatile enough to be used in everything from soups to salads to casseroles and lets not forget, simply with a tasty sauce! I have been making a lot of pasta lately so I thought that I would take some of the best pasta recipes on Closet Cooking and share them with you here in this roundup of these top pasta recipes! These recipes include some of the most pinned pasta recipes, some of my favourites along some of the most viewed! With the cooler days I have been enjoying noodles of all sorts in soups, casseroles and with hearty sauces but lets not forget some of the lighter pasta dishes! If you are looking for a tasty pasta meal, you can'y go wrong with one of these!

Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup
Another classic dish at Chinese restaurants is egg drop soup! This is a super simple soup where a egg is poured into simmering chicken broth in a thin stream the cooks into smooth ribbons that gives the soup an amazing creamy texture. I like to use a homemade chicken broth for this to maximize flavour but store bought will also do! The chicken broth is jazzed up by simmering it with green onions, ginger and white peppercorns along with a dried shiitake mushrooms and a few slices of bacon. The green onions, ginger and white peppercorns give the chicken broth a nice Asian flare and the dried shiitake mushrooms and bacon add layers of umami flavour and a hint of smokiness and meatiness! Once the broth is ready cornstarch is added to thicken a bit before the eggs slowly are added in a thin stream that allows them to cook into thin ribbons in the soup. The egg drop soup is finished off with toasted sesame oil, for its magical aroma, along with a garnish of green onions and optional sliced shiitake mushrooms. The perfect way to start off your Lunar New Year celebrations!

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta
This quick and easy spicy garlic shrimp pasta is one of my favourite recipes for busy weeknight meals or for special occasions! The combination of shrimp in spicy garlic tomato sauce using Pomì organic chopped tomatoes comes together with almost no effort and it's sure to impress! If you're still looking for a last minute Valentine's Day dinner, look no further!

Check out my tasty spicy garlic shrimp pasta recipe on Pomì!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
Next up in my V-day dessert lineup is a red velvet white chocolate chip skillet cookie that I came across on pinterest a while ago. Chocolate chip cookies are an absolute favourite and the idea of a single huge skillet cookie that you eat with a spoon was a must try! This skillet cookie is really easy to make where you mix the standard butter, sugar, egg, flour, baking soda and salt, and throw it in the oven to bake, just like a cookie or a brownie. What makes these cookies "red velvet" is the addition of a full tablespoon of red food colouring and a bit of cocoa powder. When making this recipe for the photos I had one of those kitchen accidents where I grabbed the dark cocoa powder rather than the regular cocoa powder and this red velvet skillet cookie came out more of a dark red velvet, which I actually like! Melting ice cream is one of those pure delights in life and these red velvet white chocolate chip skillet cookie are simply divine when topped with it!

70 Valentine's Day Recipes

70 Valentine's Day Recipes

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and that means that it's time to start thinking about what recipes you want to make for that special person in your life. Homemade food is a great way to show that you care so I thought that I would take the opportunity to roundup some of my favourite recipes for Valentine's Day. This list includes tasty recipes for everything from breakfast in bed, to appetizers, dinners for two and of course plenty of decadent chocolate treats! Most of these Valentine's Day recipes are super quick and easy to make for all levels of cooking skills. No matter what you make, a homemade Valentin's Day recipe is bound to bring a smile to that special person in your life!


Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
When I am thinking about Valentine's Day I usually think about chocolate and this decadently creamy dark chocolate cheesecake is the perfect treat to end a fabulous Valentine's Day! This cheesecake is so easy to make with it's chocolate cookie crumb crust and the cheesecake part being the simple combination of cream cheese, eggs, sugar, cream and of course, plenty of dark chocolate! You really just need to mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter, press them into the bottom of a spring form pan, mix the remaining ingredients and pour them into the pan before baking until set. The hardest part is waiting until it's cooled before cutting into it, but it's well worth the wait! Surprise that special someone in your life with this dark chocolate cheesecake this Valentine's Day, or any day for that matter, or just bake one for yourself!

Recipes for the Chinese New Year

Recipes for the Chinese New Year

The Lunar New Year, aka the Chinese new year, is this coming next Friday, February 16th, the year of the dog, and it's the perfect excuse to to pull out some of my favourite Chinese recipes in addition to trying some new ones! I am a big fan of Chinese cuisine, both traditional style Chinese and American style Chinese, ie. Chinese takeout, and luckily they are both easy to make at home! Below you will find a mix of both traditional and takeout style Chinese recipes that are really easy make and most of them can be made with ingredients that are already in your pantry! I always find that it's fun to try to recreate recipes that I have had at restaurants and this is especially true for Chinese takeout where I can make the dishes much lighter and healthier than the takeout version and what's more, the homemade version tastes even better! Whether you are celebrating the Chinese New Year or not, you really cannot go wrong with making any of these tasty recipes at home!

Pan Seared Steaks with Sauteed Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter

Pan Seared Steaks with Sauteed Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter
I have been testing out some new recipes for Valentine's Day and a tasty teak dinner for two is always a nice way to go! This recipe uses the classic combo of a perfectly pan seared steaks with sauteed mushrooms and onions and if that were not enough, it's all topped off with a homemade roasted garlic gorgonzola butter! Steak, mushrooms, butter and blue cheese is a match made in heaven! With this dish I am letting the flavours of the ingredients shine so the mushrooms are really simple with onions, garlic, thyme and a bit of parsley which all complement the steak well! This pan seared steaks with sauteed mushrooms and roasted garlic gorgonzola butter is a fantabulous option for an intimate Valentine's Day dinner, or any other special occasion!

Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter

Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter
Butter is one of my favourite condiments and although it is simply divine all by itself it's also fun to add flavour and make compound butters! This roasted garlic gorgonzola butter is a great example of a compound butter and it's so easy to make! You just need to mix some room temperature butter with the roasted garlic, crumbled blue cheese, fresh parsley and a touch of fresh cracked black pepper, before chilling it all in the fridge. I like to use gorgonzola cheese but stilton and other blue cheeses also work well! Once the flavours have had a chance to mingle while hanging out in the fridge this roasted garlic gorgonzola butter excellent melting on anything from steaks to baked potatoes!

Recipes for Mardi Gras

Recipes for Mardi Gras

This Tuesday is Mardi Gras and even though I will not be in New Orleans to celebrate, I take it as an excuse to whip up some NOLA inspired dishes since I am a huge fan on NOLA cuisine. I was really into New Orleans cuisine before I had even had a chance to go there and after finally getting the chance to visit a few years ago I came back with a long list of new recipe ideas to try recreating at home! Below you will find a list of some of my favourite New Orleans style recipes many of which are staples and pretty authentic (well as authentic as someone that did not grow up in New Orleans can make them) along with a few of my creative outtakes using the flavours of New Orleans cuisine. If you are looking for a way to celebrate Mardi Gras from home this Tuesday you cannot go wrong with one of these recipes!

Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)

Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)
The other day I was at my favourite ramen joint and I noticed that they had some non-ramen items on the menu including oyakodon! Oyakodon (親子丼) is a Japanese style rice bowl with chicken and egg in a sweet and savoury onion broth. I was a little surprised as I had never noticed anything but the ramen on the menu before and it immediately brought up some nostalgic memories from 11 years ago when I first started Closet Cooking!

Closet Cooking first came about shortly after a trip to Japan where I had really enjoyed the food. When I returned I wanted to eat more of the dishes that I had tried there and after going to Japanese restaurants for a few weeks I decided that I would try cooking them at home, since eating out all the time didn't really fit my budget. I looked for the recipes for those dishes online and came across food blogs where people were sharing photos and recipes that they had made, and they looked amazing! I did not really know how to cook, unless you count throwing frozen dinners into the oven or microwave, so I was learning from scratch and on a whim I decided to start my own blog, as a kind of journal documenting my adventures in learning to cook. I found that I enjoyed it and Closet Cooking grew from there.

A lot of the recipes that I shared in the first few months were Japanese including a recipe for oyakodon so when I saw it on the menu, I just had to order it! It was good, though it did not live up to my expectations, so I decided that I would have to make it at home again!

This dish is so easy to make! You simply cook the chicken and onions in a broth, typically dashi but chicken broth is also good, seasoned with soy sauce, mirin and sugar before adding the eggs to cook in the broth and serving it all in a bowl on rice. The quickest and lightest way is to cook sliced boneless and skinless chicken breasts in the broth at the same time as the onions but I prefer to go with boneless skin-on chicken thighs as the thighs have more flavour and I am a huge fan of the crispy skin! To get the crispy skin I cook the chicken thighs until the skin is crispy and set them aside before adding the broth and onions and then I return them at the end. All said and done these tasty, chicken and egg rice bowls with their tasty sweet and savoury sauce can be made and on the table in less than 20 minutes!

This homemade oyakodon certainly hit the spot and what a great trip down memory lane!

Quick and Easy Chicken Dinners

Quick and Easy Chicken Dinners

Chicken is one of my go-to foods for when I want an easy meal, or better yet a quick and easy meal, and that's because there are so many chicken recipes that are really easy and taste great! Chicken is really versatile with recipes ranging from simple roast chicken (pure comfort food!) to light and yet filling chicken salads and everything in between such as soups, pastas, sandwiches, etc. Since I have been enjoying a lot of easy chicken recipes these last few weeks I thought that I would take the opportunity to gather some of my favourites to share with you! Whether you are looking for a quick weeknight meal or you are looking for an easy meal that will also impress guests you have plenty of tasty options!

Mexican Shredded Beef Nachos

Mexican Shredded Beef Nachos
This weekend is the big game, aka the football playoffs, and I have one last recipe planned for my game day party menu, some Mexican shredded beef nachos! When I made the Mexican shredded beef the recently I could not help but think about making it again for nachos for party finger food! I mean, who could resist, crispy and crunch tortilla chips, topped with tasty tender shredded beef and plenty of melted cheese? Nachos could not be easier to make! You simply throw the tortilla chips onto a baking sheet and top with your choice of ingredients followed by the cheese which melts and holds everything on the chips so that you can easily pick them up. I topped these nachos with the Mexican shredded beef, a tasty chipotle and ancho cocoa enchilada sauce, onions and jalapenos along with the cheese. After they are baked I like to throw on some fresh and cool ingredients like guac, pico de gallo and sour cream. Yum! The trick to quick and easy nachos on game day is to have all of the ingredients ready ahead of time so I try to make the beef a day or two earlier and make the guac and salsa the day before so I can just assemble and bake just before the game!

Decadent Dips

Decadent Dips

With the football playoffs coming this weekend I thought that it was time to dust off one of my favourite list of recipes my list of decadent dips, which are perfect for snacking on while watching the game! There are so many different dips out there, and I am a huge fan of them, so I have quite a collection of dip recipes and these are my top 50 dips! You can make dips from so many different things and of course a lot my favourites are based on plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese but you can also make dips from things like pureed beans, avocado, yogurt, etc. Once you have chosen your dip it is time to decide what you are going to be dipping with and that can be anything from chips to crackers, tortilla chips, veggies, toast, breads, pitas, etc. A lot of these dips are truly decadent (and delicious) but there are also a lot of healthy options so no matter what your preference you are sure to find one, or if you are like me, several, to make for snacking while watching the game!

That's enough of my rambling; it's time to get dipping! Oh yeah... and watching the game!