Mediterranean Chicken with Feta Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are my cure-all for a menu-planning drought. As long as a jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil are in the fridge, I know a variety of meals are at my disposal. Sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and arugula packed into an omelet for lunch; pizza popcorn for a snack or movie night; or Mediterranean Chicken for dinner, one of my favorite (and quickest!) recipes from my I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook.

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Mediterranean Chicken with Feta Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: around 6 minutes

This dish is easy enough to make for yourself on a weekly basis, but flavorful and colorful enough to serve on a special occasion. No Trader Joe’s near you? That’s perfectly fine–simple enhance 1/2 cup regular crumbled feta with 1/4 teaspoon each of dried basil, dried oregano, and dried thyme.

1 pound chicken breast tenders
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Sun-dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, plus 1 tablespoon of the oil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives (chopped if you desire)
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Crumbled Feta with Mediterranean Herbs

1. Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the chicken tenders over and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Cut into the thickest chicken tender to check for doneness.

2. In a small bowl, stir the sun-dried tomatoes with the olives and feta to combine.

3. When the chicken is cooked, transfer to a serving plate and top with the feta mixture. Serve.

 

Double-Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza Nachos for Movie Night

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Pizza Nachos are a family moment in the making.

You know what’s always a family dinner winner? Pizza piled high with everyone’s favorite toppings. The only hitch is that it can be a bit of a pain to make at home. Stretching out the store-bought dough never goes smoothly for me: half of the dough might puff up too high with thin holes in the other half. I can never get it perfect. So behold an easier, quicker way to get your pizza fix: Pizza Nachos, tying into Netflix’s September theme of “Pizza and a Movie.” It’s quick to make and easily devoured in front of a movie.

And the best thing is that you can use whatever pizza toppings you want. I went the pepperoni and double cheese route: there’s a layer of garlicky fondue-like cheese sauce made from a 6 Cheese Italian blend. I think the cheese blend is the best route since it’s a combo of mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan and more—but all mozzarella can be used instead. Then, I layered with my favorite toppings: mushrooms, roasted peppers, olives, tomatoes, jalapenos, and two types of pepperoni (turkey and regular). My toppings are lined up below but you can add any pizza toppings that your heart desires to these nachos.

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The options are pretty endless at this point—pineapple and ham; cooked sausage crumbles and peppers; crisp bacon and jalapeno. Make two batches of nachos, so kids and adults can design their own just like they would a pizza. Then, another layer of shredded cheese is spread on top of these toppings for double cheesiness. A stint in the oven makes these all oozy and warm.

Note that the measurements for the toppings are what worked for me–feel free to increase/ decrease any toppings. Like more pepperoni? Pile it on! Don’t like mushrooms? Nix it all together. Turn this into a family activity before movie night to brainstorm the best ultimate pizza nachos you can make.

Double-Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza Nachos

Yield: 4 servings

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2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole milk

2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced

2 cups finely shredded 6 Cheese Italian blend, divided

Tortilla chips, as needed

3/4 cup to 1 cup halved pepperoni slices

3/4 cup to 1 cup diced roasted red peppers

3/4 cup to 1 cup diced tomatoes

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

3/4 cup sliced white mushrooms

1/3 cup sliced olives

1 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.

2. First, make the cheese sauce: In a medium, heavy duty pot, let butter melt over medium-high heat. Add flour, using a whisk to combine with butter. Pour in milk, again whisking to combine, until thick, just about 1 minute. (If mixture cooks too long and get too thick, just add a little more milk to thin out.) Reduce the heat to low. Stir in garlic and 1 cup shredded cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce. Remove from heat.

3. Next, make the nachos: In an oven-proof dish or a foil-lined baking sheet, lay out one layer of chips. Pour some of the cheese sauce over the chips and layer with half the toppings: pepperoni, red peppers, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, olives, and jalapenos. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese. Top with another layer of chips, again drizzling cheese sauce over them (you may have extra cheese sauce leftover). Add remaining toppings and another ½ cup cheese.

4. Place nachos in the oven until the top is melty, about 5 to 7 minutes. Devour.

 

(Salted) Caramel Monkey Bread

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Don’t you just want to dig in?

Netflix’s August movies take the message of the Netflix Original Series, Derek, one step further under the theme of “kindness is magic,” encouraging acceptance of everyone of all ages and abilities. A perfect recipe for togetherness is Monkey Bread, a classic shareable family pull-apart treat.

So how do you improve on a classic like Monkey Bread? It’s already  a tower of dough pieces rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture drizzled with butter. But adding caramel–even salted caramel–takes it up a notch. Using brown sugar in place of granulated white sugar decreases the cooking time for a homemade caramel, making it less of a pain to accomplish. And what a show-stopper this is once magically flipped-over onto a plate. The caramel adds a gorgeous brown hue to the Monkey Bread, along with a nutty sweetness. The salt in the caramel is completely optional, of course. But it’s an added taste that adults can appreciate, all the while being the same ooey, gooey Monkey Bread that kids devour.

While you’re serving it, watch Curious George to tie into the monkey theme and other programs that promote the universal kindness theme like Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails, Mulan: Special Edition (a love of mine, even as an adult), and Charlotte’s Web.

(Salted) Caramel Monkey Bread

Shaking the dough pieces in the cinnamon-sugar Ziploc bag is a kid-friendly task. Just be warned: the caramel is still quite warm while using, so make sure the kids stay away from the caramel-drizzling part of the recipe.

6 to 8 servings

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 For the caramel:

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon sea salt (optional)

 

For the monkey bread:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 cans (4.5-ounce) Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/3 cup melted butter

Make the caramel: In a heavy-duty medium pot, add brown sugar and butter. Warm over medium-high heat. Stir together with heatproof spatula, getting rid of any brown sugar lumps. Let sugar cook, stirring constantly, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and (optional) salt.

Make the monkey bread: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup or 10-cup fluted tube pan with cooking spray. In a large Ziploc bag, mix together sugar and cinnamon until combined. One at a time, remove each batch of biscuit dough from the can. Cut each biscuit dough in half, adding into the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Shake in the bag until dough is coated in sugar.

In the bottom of the pan, pour ¼ of the reserved caramel and ¼ cup walnuts. After each biscuit batch is arranged into the pan, top with ¼ caramel and ¼ cup walnuts. When all the dough is used, pour the melted butter over entire dough. Bake in the oven about 30 to 40 minutes until dough is golden brown and fully-cooked inside. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Turn monkey bread upside down onto a plate, serving warm, if desired.

Brain Booster: Strawberry-Yogurt Swirl Popsicles

Strawberry-Yogurt-Popsicles

The swirling is the best part of making these–for adults and kids alike.

I’m obsessed with brain foods. In a sense, these foods have been scientifically dissected and are known to wire your brain with a focused energy. They’re also assumed to keep your mind sharp for years to come. Berries are one of the best brain foods there are–blueberries seem to have the highest amount of brain power, but all berries rate very high. (Other honorable mentions are salmon, eggs, and nuts.) I took that knowledge to create the most brain-boosting popsicles possible by merging berries with brain-friendly pomegranate juice and the protein powerhorse, Greek yogurt. Watermelon juice is added for sweetness, so less honey is needed.

In light of the dog days of summer, where kids’ brains are also on hiatus along with school, Netflix has rolled out featured educational shows like Leap Frog: Math Adventure to the Moon to documentaries like National Geographic: Secret Yellowstone and When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions. My husband is a teacher and will sometimes incorporate documentaries like these to jazz up a science lesson for his students. So he’s especially grateful to these year-round. Pair a popsicle with an educational program via Netflix to keep your kids’ brain active throughout summer. The popsicles are so refreshing and scrumptious, kids don’t need to know that they’re good for them as well. I won’t tell if you won’t.

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These brain-powered babies aren’t just for dessert–they also work as a snack or for breakfast.

Strawberry-Yogurt Swirl Popsicles

Two cups of any type of berries can be used, whether that’s blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.

Yield: 6 to 8 Popsicles, depending on mold size

1 cup chopped watermelon

2 cups sliced strawberries (about 1 pound strawberries)

3 tablespoons pomegranate juice

3 tablespoons honey, divided

1 cup no-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt

1. In the bowl of a food processor, add watermelon, strawberries, pomegranate juice, and 1 tablespoon honey. Process about 1 minute until mixture turns into a puree. Taste; add just a bit more honey, if needed; a lot of this depends on the sweetness of the watermelon and strawberries.

2. In a small bowl, combine together yogurt and remaining 2 tablespoons honey.

3. Fill the popsicle molds: First, pour the strawberry mixture in the bottom of each popsicle mold. Spoon yogurt into it; again, top with strawberry mixture and then yogurt. Use a wooden popsicle stick or a skewer to swirl the strawberry mixture and yogurt together. Place in the freezer overnight.

4. To remove from popsicle molds, hold under warm water until popsicle can be easily pulled free of mold. Serve.

 

Snack Like a Scandal Gladiator: Red Wine Spritzer and Pizza Popcorn

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Scandal snacks: red wine spritzer and pizza popcorn

I like to spread the Scandal love.

“You haven’t seen Scandal?” I’ll say. “Stop what you’re doing and watch now.” I’ve started many Scandal addictions this way–for friends, family, strangers. I’m basically a walking, talking Scandal promo. The first two seasons I watched on Netflix with this past third season in real time. Can I admit something? This fast-paced, soap opera-esque thriller is best for binge watching, which is great because Netflix now has all three seasons of Scandal.

Because everyone deserves a little me-time to refresh and recharge from hectic lives, I devised these Scandal-worthy snacks for the ultimate viewing experience. It doesn’t take many episodes of Scandal to realize main gladiator, Olivia Pope, basically consumes nothing but copious amounts of red wine and bowls of popcorn. So naturally, a Red Wine Spritzer and Pizza Popcorn were in order. While these recipes were inspired by Scandal, they’ll also work for other guilty-pleasures, like Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards or such.

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pizza popcorn

First, this is the popcorn to beat all popcorn. I could barely stop snacking on it long enough to take a photo. Pizza seasonings like dried oregano and basil are mixed with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan for an addictive twist on popcorn. And, of course, you’ll need to pair this salty snack with a drink. If you’ve never had a wine spritzer before, it’s a light and refreshing–not to mention easy–wine cocktail for the summer. If you can’t find the Italian orange-flavored San Pellegrino Aranciata, there are a variety of other options like Sprite, 7-Up, or even seltzer with a squeeze of lime. Spritzers are a 1:1 ratio of wine to soda/ seltzer. If I know a spritzer is in my future for the evening, I’ll go ahead and put the red wine and Aranciata in the fridge to chill for later.

So crash on the couch, pull up Scandal on the iPad and eat like Gladiator.

Pizza Popcorn

Makes 8 cups

8 cups popped popcorn (around ½ cup popcorn kernels)

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped sundried tomatoes

1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil

1/8 teaspoon each of dried oregano, dried basil and garlic powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Make popcorn via either microwave popcorn or the stovetop. If going the stovetop route, I highly recommend Mark Bittman’s method.

2. Add 8 cups of popped popcorn to a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together, melted butter, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato oil, herbs, and salt. Mix to combine.

3. Slowly drizzle sun-dried tomato mixture over popcorn, tossing to coat all the popcorn. Top with Parmesan cheese, again tossing to combine. Serve.

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red wine spritzer

Red Wine Spritzer

Any type of red wine can be used for a spritzer–just utilize whatever you already have around.

Makes 1 drink

½ cup red wine

½ cup San Pellegrino Aranciata

Slice of orange

In a glass, add red wine and Aranciata. Squeeze the orange slice into the glass and then garnish with it. Add ice to chill if needed. Serve.

A Parfait Shrek Would Love

 

I never would have thought to take food advice from a cartoon character, but Donkey in Shrek made a valid point:

Donkey: You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!

Shrek: NO! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story! Bye-bye! See ya later.

Donkey: Parfait’s gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!

And who can argue with that? In celebration of Netflix’s new slew of musical-themed titles like Shrek the Musical, I created a green parfait that Shrek and Donkey can both dig their spoons into.

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A Jell-O layered Shrek Parfait in the back with a Jell-O free one in the front.

Parfaits can be a great wholesome breakfast or a light dessert. Here’s the key to get kids to dig all the way through the granola, yogurt, and fruit—there’s a layer of Jell-O cubes at the bottom. I discovered the idea of adding Jell-O into layered desserts when working on developing recipes for Knickerbocker Glories—yes, like those in Harry Potter. They have layers of fruit, ice cream, nuts, cake, Jell-O and  more, with the Jell-O adding a jiggly, fun dimension to the treat.

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As another nod to Shrek, this parfait harnesses green elements like the Lime Jell-O, kiwi slices and green grapes. Placing the grapes into the freezer the night before gives an added cold, crunchy element. If you haven’t discovered the allure of frozen grapes, you’re in for a treat. I try to always keep some on hand in the freezer–they’re perfect to pop into your mouth, especially during the summer months. Here’s another tip—I used to consider it such a war trying to get the kiwi fruit out of its skin until I learned this trick: cut a ripe kiwi in half and then work a small spoon around the edge of the fruit’s flesh, rotating throughout the kiwi until the kiwi half is loosened from the skin.

Shrek’s Kiwi-Yogurt Parfait

For an adult version of the parfait, skip the Jell-O; stir in 2 teaspoons lime zest into the Greek yogurt along with the honey and add a layer of shredded coconut into the parfait for a tropical flair.

Yield: 2 to 4 parfaits, depending on glass size. 

Jell-O optional Parfait

Jell-O optional Parfait

1 (3-ounce) package Lime Jell-O (optional)

2 cups green grapes

1 (17.6-ounce) container plain 0% or 2% Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

4 to 6 ripe kiwis

1 to 2 cups granola or cereal

If using Jell-O, the night before making the parfait, prepare Jell-O according to package directions. And while you’re at it, add washed grapes into a large Ziplock bag and place in the freezer.

To prepare, if using the Jell-O, cut into cubes. Open the yogurt container and swirl honey into it, stirring to combine. Slice the grapes in half and chop or slice each kiwi.

The exact amount of fruit and yogurt used in the parfait will depend a lot of the size of your glass—I like to use a parfait glass like the one pictured, a wine glass or even a small mason jar. Start layering the parfait by adding a couple spoonfuls of yogurt into the bottom. Then, layer with optional Jell-O, grapes, kiwi slices, more spoonfuls of yogurt and then lastly topping with granola.

Homemade Jell-O Pudding Pop Recipe

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Are you drooling yet?

For April, Netflix has assembled an assortment of movies and television shows that wax 70s and 80s nostalgic. We’re talking classics like Saved by the Bell (a total favorite of mine), Baby-sitters Club, Family Ties, Smurfs, and more. When you think 80s in food terms, what enters your mind? I go straight to Fun Dips, Pop Rocks, and none other than those Jell-O Pudding Pops. As a child of the 80s, I remember sweater-clad Bill Cosby constantly on television with those Pudding Pops commercials, making my mouth water each and every time.

Even though Jell-O Pudding Pops were somewhat of an 80s phenomenon, they pulled a disappearing act in the 90s for reasons unknown. But don’t fret, because they are easily recreated. Now, you can show your kids exactly what they’ve been missing.

Pudding Pops are essentially frozen chocolate pudding using a cornstarch-based, dairy-rich pudding. I think 2 percent milk strikes a perfect balance but feel free to use whatever type of milk is hanging out in your fridge, whether it’s whole milk or skim. For a dairy-free option, soy milk or almond milk is a great substitute. There are also two ways to go with how to freeze them–either in whatever Popsicle mold you have on hand or by using those cute Dixie cups to recreate that Jell-O Pudding Pop look:

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Using Dixie cups as molds harnesses the more traditional Pudding Pop look.

Now doesn’t this look like what you grew up on? If you use Dixie cups to mold the Pudding Pops, after they’re frozen, use scissors to cut away the cup from the Popsicle. It’s a quick and simple trick to remove the Pudding Pop in one simple motion.

Using Jell-O Instant Chocolate Pudding is totally ok; just make 1 box of 3.4-ounce pudding mix according to directions. Pour it into 4 to 6 Popsicle molds and freeze overnight. However, this recipe has more of a pow of chocolate than the pudding mix can provide and is made in less than 10 minutes flat. Either way, if your family is anything like mine, coming home to a late afternoon snack of Pudding Pops (for kids and grown-ups alike) is greeted with total excitement. And a hastily-eaten Pudding Pop.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pop Recipe
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Any extra chocolate pudding that can’t fit into a popsicle mold can be devoured once it cools, much to the satisfaction of kids.
Yield: 8 to 10 pudding pops

1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ cup cornstarch
Pinch salt
3 ½ cups 2-percent milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the chocolate pudding: In a heavy-duty medium pot (that is off the heat), add sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Use a whisk to mix it together, essentially creating your own Jell-O instant pudding mix. Add in the milk and vanilla; turn the heat to medium-high, whisking the mixture vehemently until no clumps remain. Continue stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble, about 4 to 6 minutes. Once mixture is at a roaring simmer, cook 1 minute longer, still whisking constantly, until thickened to a pudding consistency. Pour into a heat-resistant measuring cup, because the spout helps pour the pudding into the molds mess-free.

Make using Popsicle molds: Immediately pour the hot chocolate pudding into 8 to 10 Popsicle molds. Let them sit until cool, about 1 to 2 hours. Fasten the handles into the Popsicle molds and freeze overnight. To unmold, hold the Popsicle under hot running water for about 15 to 30 seconds. Press onto the mold to remove the pudding pop, gently twisting and keeping mold under running water until it is released. Whatever you do, don’t fiercely pull the handle! The handle will come right out without the pudding pop (And, yes, I learned this the hard way.).

Make using Dixie cups: Immediately pour the hot chocolate pudding into 8 to 10 small Dixie cups. Let them sit until cool, about 1 to 2 hours. When pudding is cool, insert wooden Popsicle sticks into the middle of each cup; freeze overnight. To unmold, use scissors to cut down the side of the Dixie cups, peeling off the cup from the pudding pop.

Egg Cream: What’s in a Name?

Chocolate Egg Cream from Artisan Soda Workshop

I’m obsessed with the fresh, constant supply of seltzer water pumped out by my small SodaStream. So much so that I wrote a cookbookThe Artisan Soda Workshop, revolving around syrups that can be mixed into the seltzer for DIY soda. And then it was a thrill to write a blog post for SodaStream featuring a recipe from the cookbook. I chose to highlight my Egg Cream recipe, which is misleading as far as names. As I convey in the post, my Northern-raised mom would tell this Southern kid about how she missed Egg Creams. Of course, I thought the drinks actually contained eggs–a raw yolk floating in the mix of a drink. As an adult, I learned that an egg cream is actually nothing like that. It’s a splash of rich, chocolate syrup mixed with dairy and topped with seltzer. I use cream versus the more traditional milk because it makes the drink oh-so-much-more fizzy. Also, add a splash of booze like Kahlua turns this into cocktail magic.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce, Two Ways

One of my first *wow* moments from culinary training was learning how to correctly peel gingerroot. Using a peeler never worked quite right due to the knobbiness of ginger. Cutting off the peel with a knife made me feel like half the ginger was ending up in the trash. The trick is to use a spoon to scrape the peel away, which works like kitchen magic.

I’m a self-admitted ginger-aholic. I can’t get enough of it and I’m always on a quest to use it in everything (even drinks…see here.), so this was a time-saver. One of my favorite ginger concoctions this past year has been whizzing gingerroot, scallions, canola oil and salt in the food processor. I make a pot of rice, saute chicken thighs and then serve it with ginger sauce to dip it. It transforms ho-hum chicken and rice to fabulous. I’ll saute shrimp and pour the sauce over it, or even drizzle a bit into butternut squash soup. It’s massively versatile, and I plan my dinners around the sauce when a vat of it is in the fridge.  But then I stumbled on Francis Lam’s version, which uses hot oil instead of cold. Results are below.

Gilt Taste’s “hot” version of the sauce

 

 Garlic-Scallion Sauce, Two Ways

The version using cold oil and just a food processor: about 4 ounces gingerroot (peeled and chopped in 1-inch pieces), 2 to 3 roughly chopped scallions, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more) in a food processor. Puree it all, while pouring 1/2 cup canola oil down the feed tube. Puree until emulsified. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning if needed.

The version using hot oil, a food processor and many pots: about 2 ounces gingerroot (peeled and chopped in 1-inch pieces), 2 bunches of scallions and salt whirled in the food processor and then put in a large heat-proof pot. 1 cup of canola oil is heated until smoking and then poured over the scallion-ginger combo. The complete recipe is on Gilt Taste.

The Verdict: There’s no denying that the hot oil gently cooks the scallions and ginger, mellowing out both. In a hurry, go for the version using cold oil. It’s quicker with easier clean-up. If time’s on your side, the hot oil version rocks. Just make sure to double or triple the amount. You’ll eat it all.

Chocolate Fondue.. Easy as Can Be

Who knew chocolate fondue could be so easy? Photo courtesy of Dalboz17 on Flickr.

While chocolate fondue isn’t quite difficult to make, it involves tempering chocolate and all that jazz–which, let’s face it, can kind of be a pain. But, while working on my cookbook, The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook, I discovered a quick, practically fool-proof way to get chocolate fondue the easy way. And that’s by melting chocolate chips and chocolate syrup together. The chocolate syrup from Trader Joe’s is already a pretty good quality–that’s what helps the most. Also, make sure to use a good-quality brand of chocolate chips. This is a quick way to impress a loved one with your (ahem) chocolate culinary talents. Just make sure to hide the chocolate syrup bottle, ok?

Chocolate Fondue 

Yield: 2 servings

Accompaniments like sliced strawberries, banana chunks, pound cake pieces, marshmallows, etc
1/2 cup Chocolate syrup, like Trader Joe’s Organic Midnight Moo Chocolate Flavored Syrup
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1. Cut the fruit and other accompaniments into bite-size pieces. Arrange them on a plate.
2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chocolate syrup and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Microwave on high until melted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave).
3. Remove from the microwave and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
4. Place into a fondue pot to keep warm. Serve, dipping the fruit and cake pieces into the fondue with toothpicks or fondue forks.