Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Classic Thai Fried Rice

I found this recipe for Thai Fried Rice on Tasty Kitchen, and although it wasn't great, it wasn't terrible.  We liked the pineapple the best, we felt the rest was rather tasteless.  Aaron gave it a 6, I gave it a 7, and Noah and Owen gave it an 8.  This was super easy to make, so that is one positive.  Here is where you can find the recipe, I followed it exactly, except I mixed everything together instead of trying to mold it.  The calories for 1/6 of the total recipe were 405, and that includes the rice.  Not great, but not bad.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cranberry Orange Spice Muffins

Yay!  Baby is coming today!  We had these very healthy muffins the other day, and I made them just a little less healthy, because I don't like any sugar substitutes.

These were kind of a disappointment, because the cloves were overpowering, but I liked the texture and the taste mostly.  I also liked how healthy they were.  Noah and I gave them a 7, Owen gave them a 5, and Aaron gave them a 6.  You can find the original recipe here, but here is how I made them, changing the spice amounts, and they were still too clovey for us.  I don't know how anyone could eat them the way the original recipe suggested.  We made 12 muffins, and the calories for 1 muffin were 154 the way I made them.

1 c whole wheat flour
1 c oats
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves (next time I will lower this to 1/8 t probably)
1/2 t nutmeg (I'll also lower this amount and maybe add some vanilla for flavor)
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
2/3 c skim milk
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c Craisins
1 medium orange, zested

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a muffin tin and set aside.  Combine flour, oats, spices, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.
Combine milk, sugar, egg and applesauce.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, then stir until just moistened.  Gently stir in cranberries and orange zest.  Pour into muffin tins, and bake for about 10-12 minutes.  (I cooked mine longer, about 14 minutes). 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lauren's Latest Chicken with Cucumber Bruschetta

So tomorrow I'm having my baby, so for the next few weeks, we'll have only two posts per week, hopefully Tuesdays and Fridays.  I should be back on schedule mid-end of May, but we'll see ;).  Anyway, today I'm featuring Chicken with Cucumber Bruschetta, which is a family favorite of ours, and this was not a failure, thankfully :)
I cook this recipe in my George Foreman grill, and it is so easy and healthy and delicious, it's hard to pass up.  For 1 chicken tender with salad, I think the calories are only 190 or there about, we love how fresh and low in calories this is.  This is a recipe from Lauren's Latest, and here is a link to the recipe.
12 oz chicken breast tenders
1/2 bottle Italian marinade
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 garlic clove
8 leaves basil
1 t balsamic vinegar
1/2 oz parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Marinate the chicken for at least 1/2 hour in the marinade, I like to do more.  Grill the chicken.  Cut up veggies and top with balsamic, salt, pepper and parmesan.  Serve over chicken.
So easy, so good!
 Aaron gave this an 8, and the rest of us gave it a perfect 10.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lime Sorbet

So, here we go with another failure :(  This week was not a good week for cooking for me, but hopefully things will get better.  I am going to be posting a revamped lime sorbet recipe soon, but I will share my failure with you.  This sorbet doesn't look right, does it?  It's way too icy, because I didn't put enough sugar in it.  I used 12 limes and 1 lemon, and got 1 c juice.  I make sorbet for Aaron just about every year for his birthday, and I have had great success in the past with blood orange sorbet, regular orange sorbet, grapefruit sorbet, and strawberry sorbet.  I follow a basic recipe I found from David Leibowitz's cookbook a Perfect Scoop, and it has turned out brilliantly every time.  This time however I learned my lesson.  I know that limes are more sour than lemons, as does everyone, so I increased the sugar a little bit in the recipe.  Here is the basic recipe

For every 1 c of juice, add 1/4 c sugar, so 2 c juice, 1/2 c sugar.

Cook sugar and just enough juice in a small saucepan until sugar is absorbed completely and you have a simple syrup.  Remove from heat, add the rest of the juice, then chill.  Churn in ice cream freezer.  Serve, or allow to harden in the freezer first.

This is great, great flavor, etc, but I should've used a different recipe for our sorbet with limes.  Everywhere I've looked on the internet has the lime juice diluted with something, water or other flavors, and the ratio for sugar to lime juice is 1:1, not 1:4.  I will play around this week and see if I can't get a better result.  Aaron was pretty disappointed.  If you want to make a different sorbet, like orange, then follow this delicious recipe I've provided :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dorie Greenspan's Rice Pudding

We tried Dorie Greenspan's rice pudding from her cookbook Baking: From My Home To Yours, and this was only pretty good :(.  I love rice pudding, it is such comfort food for me, but even though I followed the recipe exactly, it didn't turn out.  It didn't set up, it was soupy.  Sad.  Aaron gave it a 4, Owen gave it a 5, and Noah and I gave it a 7.  We had some strawberry sauce on top, and that was good, but the soupiness really was off-putting.  Here is a link to the recipe, scroll down to see the recipe in English, and after searching the internet, I found out that everyone had soupy rice, that this needed to cook for at least 45 minutes, but more like an hour.  Hmm...kind of frustrating, but I will probably try this again given my love of rice pudding.  One poster said to use 1/2 c rice instead of 1/4 c, so I may try that as well.  The calories for a serving, we made 6 servings, were 284.  I would try this with the modifications suggested, and definitely serve it with some sauce.  Also, I didn't try the chocolate variation, because I like me some plain old rice pudding ;).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe Meat Loaf

Sorry about the unappetizing picture, this really is delicious meatloaf.  It's another family favorite, and Aaron and I gave it a 9, and Noah and Owen gave it a 10.  This is easy, although it takes a little time, and we love the sweetness with the saltiness of the bacon and the really flavorful meat.  The calories for 10 servings were 436/serving.  This is great meatloaf!!!

1/2 c ketchup or chili sauce (I used ketchup)
1/4 c brown sugar
4 t cider vinegar

2 t vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t hot pepper sauce
1/2 c plain yogurt (or whole milk)
1 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
2/3 c quick oats (I used the oats this time, they also suggest 2/3 c crushed Saltines, or 1 1/3 c fresh breadcrumbs)
1/3 c minced parsley leaves
8 oz bacon (don't use thickly cut bacon :))

For the glaze: Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan and set aside.
For the meatloaf: Heat the oven to 350.  Heat the oil in a skillet, then cook the onion and garlic until softened.  Set aside to cool.
Mix the eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and yogurt in a medium bowl.  Add the egg mixture to the meat in a large bowl with the crackers or oats, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic.  Mix well. 
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then pat the meat mixture into a loaf on the cookie sheet.  Brush with half of the glaze, then arrange the bacon slices on top of the loaf.  Bake the loaf until the bacon is crisp, about 1 hour.  Cool at least 20 minutes.  Simmer the remaining glaze over medium heat until it has thickened slightly, then slice the loaf and serve with the glaze.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Paula Deen's Corrie's Thai-Style Chicken

We had this chicken from Paula Deen's family cookbook the other night, and it was a flop.  This wasn't bad, it just didn't have very much flavor, and we were all disappointed.  I followed the recipe exactly, and I don't know why, but it was super duper bland.  Aaron gave it a 3, and the boys and I gave it a 5.  The calories for 4 servings, per serving with the rice are 471 calories.

Corrie’s Thai-Style Chicken and Veggies

3 T olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into strips

Salt and pepper

2 c chicken broth

1 c unsweetened coconut milk

1 c broccoli florets

8 ears canned baby corn, cut crosswise in half

½ c drained canned sliced bamboo shoots

1 T sweet chili sauce

1 T Asian fish sauce

Juice of ½ lime

1 T cornstarch

Rice for serving

1.       In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until just done, 5-7 minutes.  Remove the chicken and reserve.

2.       In the same pan, combine the broth, coconut milk, broccoli, baby corn, bamboo shoots, chili sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice.  Boil gently until the broccoli is just tender, 3-4 minutes.

3.       Meanwhile, in a small cup, combine the cornstarch with 1 T water and stir until smooth.  Add the cornstarch to the pan and let boil, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Add the chicken and simmer until heated through.  Serve with rice.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Enchilada Casserole

Happy Birthday Aaron!  I'll post his treats next week :).  We had another family favorite this week, and this is again one of my recipes that is super easy.  It's similar to Sonia's Lazy Man Enchiladas, but I do things a little differently, and our family loves it.  Owen and Noah gave it a perfect 10, and Aaron and I gave it a 9.  Here's how I make it, and again, everything is estimated so there isn't any calorie information.

1/2 lb ground beef
garlic salt
onion powder
canned corn
corn tortillas
1 large can enchilada sauce
a lot of cheese, I like a mixture, like Monterey jack, pepperjack, and cheddar

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Brown ground beef with spices, then add in the drained canned corn.  Pour a little bit of sauce to the pan, then take corn tortillas and rip them in pieces and submerge them in the enchilada sauce.  Lay them in the bottom of the pan, covering the entire bottom.  Top with 1/2 of the ground beef mixture, then some sauce, then lots of cheese.  Repeat this again, ending with the cheese.  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.  We serve ours with avocado, tomatoes, and sour cream.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Best Bites Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Noah picked these out as treats, Strawberry Cheesecake Bars from Our Best Bites first cookbook, he wanted to share with his friends at school, so I made them and took them in for his birthday celebration at school.  He and I are the only ones who tried them, I gave them a 7, because of the crust, and Noah gave them a 9.  He and his classmates really liked them, so that's good :).  We cut them into squares, and we had 28 squares made.  The calories for one bar were 206 calories, but because the recipe called for Pecan Sandies Cookies, and almond extract, and we can't bring nuts into Noah's school, I had to change the recipe and use only vanilla extract and graham crackers, and the same weight in graham crackers did not yield very good results.  The crust on these was dry and flavorless, and there wasn't nearly enough butter to make them taste better.  Next time I will try to follow the recipe better.  I used my strawberry cherry jam again, so it was just a little different, and then I covered them in some strawberry sauce from Our Best Bites that I will hopefully feature at another time.  Here's the recipe the way I made it:
16 oz graham crackers, divided then crushed
2 T butter, melted
11 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2/3 c sugar
pinch salt
2 t vanilla
2 c sour cream
1 1/4 c strawberry cherry jam

Strawberry Sauce to garnish

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9x13 pan.  In a food processor, process 3/4 of the graham crackers.  Mix with the melted butter and press into the pan.  Set aside.
Beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and sour cream.  Spread half of the batter into the set aside crust. 
Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the batter, spreading evenly.  Top with the remainder of the cheesecake batter, then spread with the remainder of the jam, then top with the reserved graham cracker crumbs. 
Bake for 25-35 minutes, then cool and chill for at least 8 hours.  Serve with some strawberry sauce if desired.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vicki's Breakfast Burritos

This is hardly a recipe, but it is our favorite way to  have breakfast burritos.  Our family loves these, we all give them a perfect 10.  I'm not going to do calories on this, because the amounts are all up to whoever is making it.  Here's what I do:

1-2 c cooked potatoes (we like them cooked in some kind of fat, these were cooked in duck fat)
eggs (enough for family)

Cook the chorizo until browned, then add in the potatoes, then the eggs.  Taste, and if necessary salt, but I don't usually find this necessary.  Top with cheese and wrap in tortilla.  We like it with avocado, tomatoes, and fresh salsa.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake

 Happy Birthday Noah!!!  Noah picked out his cake, and it was probably the most successful and put together cake I have ever made.  Everything came out perfectly, it was moist, light, flavorful, and the frosting and homemade strawberry cherry jam on it were so delicious :).  Everyone liked this, Aaron, Owen and I gave it a 9, and Noah gave it a perfect 10.




 The cake was Perfect Party Cake from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook Baking.  This was so worth the time to make it, and like I said, Noah picked it out, so he was super happy.  You can find the recipe here, and the calories for 1/20 of the cake are about 422 calories with the very slight changes I made.

 Aren't the layers of the cake so pretty?  I love how this cake looks.  The small changes I made are only to add more jam, instead of 2/3 c I used about 1 1/2 c, and I didn't use raspberry jam, I used my strawberry cherry jam.  Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.  I love the meringue buttercream, I hadn't ever made that kind of frosting before and it was fun to do something different :).  The cake was a hit, which is what I always hope for on a birthday!




Monday, April 15, 2013

365 Days of Slow Cooking's Yummy Ravioli

We had Yummy Ravioli from 365 Days of Slow Cooking cookbook.  This was an easy crockpot recipe, that my family of course loved.  Aaron and I gave it an 8, and the boys gave it a perfect 10.  The calories per serving, and we had 6 servings, were 513.  This is how I made it.

1/2 lb hamburger
1/2 medium onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
Italian seasonings, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
3 c marinara sauce
1/2 c beef broth
20 oz cheese filled ravioli
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated

Cook meat, seasonings, onion and garlic together in a skillet.  Drain off grease, then add in the marinara sauce, beef broth, and a little water.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Pour one third of the sauce in the slow cooker, then add in half of the ravioli, top with half of the cheeses, then repeat process, ending with the last 1/3 of the sauce.  cook on low for 5-6 hours (mine should've cooked less time), and serve.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dorie Greenspan's Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

We had Dorie Greenspan's Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake, and man was this good.  Aaron and I gave it a 9, and Owen and Noah gave it an 8.  We had 12 servings, and each serving was 508 calories.  This is definitely not a low calorie food, but it is worth the calories to eat this.  Yum.  We made some extra caramel sauce to go with this, as found in the Playing Around section of this recipe in Dorie's Baking cookbook, and added more caramel to the cake, and yum is all there is to say.  I'm just going to link to the recipe, which you can find at this website, and encourage you to make this soon :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Throwdown with Bobby Flay's Cuban Crepes

Happy Birthday Noah!!!  I'll share his birthday food next week :).  We tried Nessa Higgins and Andrea Day-Boykin's Cuban Crepes from Bobby Flay's Throwdown cookbook.  This was a relatively easy meal, and really delicious.  I of course made some changes, just like always, and we really enjoyed the recipe.  I cut the crepes recipe in half, and I cut the pork recipe almost in half, so for the pork, we had 12 servings and each serving was 192 calories.  We made 9 crepes, and each crepe was 196 calories.  We added pepperjack cheese, diced dill pickles, and some salsa and mustard, and so that added a little bit to the calories, but not too much.  The only real problem with the recipe the way I made it was that I cooked it in the crockpot, so since the pork was fatty (and totally flavorful and delicious), the meat was a little too oily.  Other than that, this was so great.  Aaron gave it a 7, because of the oil, I gave it an 8, and Owen and Noah gave it a perfect 10.  They loved this! 

Pulled Pork
2.7 lb boneless pork butt
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1 T onion powder
1 t red pepper flakes
1/2 T sriracha

Season pork butt with the spices, then place in a crockpot and cook for 7 hours or so.  Shred the pork, then add the sriracha to taste and some more of the seasonings.  Cook for another hour or so, then serve.

3 eggs
dash of salt
1.5 c milk
1.75 c flour
6 T melted butter

Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and 1/2 c water together in a large bowl.  Add in the flour until blended, then add in the butter.  Do not overmix.
Cook in a greased skillet, flipping to cook both sides. 
Serve with pork, pepperjack cheese, mustard, pickles, and more sriracha, as well as some fresh salsa.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lauren's Latest Pumpkin Maple Rolls

We had these pumpkin maple rolls, from Lauren's Latest, and they were delicious!!  I made just one or two changes, and this recipe, although time consuming, was not very difficult, and so moist and yummy.  Aaron gave these an 8, which is really high for him for sweet rolls, I gave them a 9, and Owen and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  They loved these.  I used cinnamon maple syrup instead of regular maple syrup, and I used more pumpkin than the recipe called for because many people said they couldn't taste the pumpkin.  The calories per roll were 352 for 16 rolls.  Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Maple Rolls
1 T Active Dry Yeast
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c warm milk
1/4 c melted butter, cooled
2/3 c sugar, plus 1/4 t for proofing yeast
1 t salt
3/4 c pumpkin puree
6 c all-purpose flour (I used 5.5 cups)

1/4 c maple cinnamon syrup
2 T melted butter
remaining pumpkin from a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
3/4 c brown sugar
2 T cinnamon

2 c powdered sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon maple syrup
3 T milk

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar over the warm water. Stir and proof 5-10 minutes. After yeast has foamed, stir in milk, butter, the remaining sugar, salt, pumpkin puree, and half the flour. Stir in flour by 1/2-cup increments. When you can no longer stir, remove dough to a board and knead in remaining flour or until dough is similar to bread dough, slightly sticky but won’t stick to your hands. Lightly grease dough ball and place into a clean bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area in your kitchen. Let dough rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
While waiting for dough to rise, grease a 9×13 pan and 1 pie plate or an 8×8 square dish. In a small bowl, stir maple syrup, pumpkin and butter together.
Punch down dough and remove to a clean, lightly greased board. Roll dough out to a 24×12 inch rectangle (approximately). Pour butter, pumpkin and maple syrup mixture over rolled dough and spread out to moisten entire surface. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top of the dough and press down lightly. Roll dough up lengthwise into a long, skinny log. Pinch edges of dough together. Using a sharp knife, cut entire log in half (to get 2 pieces). Cut those halves in half again (to get 4). Cut those halves in half again (to get 8 ) and then again (to get 16). Place rolls in prepared pans. (12 rolls in the 9×13, 4 in the other.) If some of the filling oozes out onto your board while cutting, scrape it off and place on top of the rolls to bake (we don’t want to lose any filling!). Cover rolls to rise again for 1 hour or until they have almost doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until top of rolls are golden brown. (Check them after 18 minutes just to be sure you don’t over bake them.)
While rolls are baking, whip powdered sugar, vanilla, maple syrup, and milk together until smooth. Drizzle over hot rolls and serve warm.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anne Burrell's Garlic Steamed Mussels

We tried something new tonight, which is always fun.  I bought some mussels from my local market and we tried steamed mussels tonight.  They taste very similar to crab, not surprising, but they were tender, not rubbery.  Maybe it's because they were fresh, or maybe it was the mussels I bought, who knows.  Anyway, I followed mostly Anne Burrell's recipe for garlic steamed mussels, but I didn't serve them with Aioli which is how Anne suggests serving them.  I instead made pasta, and then was lazy and didn't make a very good sauce, just used the cooking broth and added some cream to it.  It had good flavor, but I should've reduced the sauce so it wasn't so watery.  Oh well.  Aaron gave this a 5, I gave it a 6, Owen gave it a perfect 10, and Noah gave it an 8.  It wasn't fabulous, but it was super quick and easy, dinner on the table in 15 minutes.  The calories for the sauce (which we had very little of, but if you eat the entire sauce, this would be the calories), mussels, and pasta all together were 515.  Here's what I did:

1 lb fresh mussels
1 t olive oil
4 garlic cloves
2 sprigs rosemary
3 bay leaves
4 c chicken broth
1/2 c cream
1/2 lb pasta

Wash the mussels and discard any open ones.  Cook olive oil and minced garlic cloves in a large pan.  When the garlic is browned and flavorful, throw in the mussels and coat them in the garlic and oil.  Add in the chicken broth, rosemary and bay leaves, and cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the mussels have all opened.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta in well-salted water until ready to eat.  Remove the mussels from the broth, then reduce the broth.  Add in the cream, and a little parmesan if desired.  Serve with the pasta.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Simply Recipes Apple Turnovers

We had a yummy breakfast treat, Apple Turnovers!  I love these, and always have, and this recipe was easy and great.  Owen gave them an 8, and Noah and I gave them a 9.  The calories per pastry were 300, and we made 6 pastries.  I used the frozen puff pastry dough, because I had some and it's a lot easier than making my own ;).  We found the recipe at Simply Recipes, a great resource for recipes.  Anyway, here's how I made the recipe.

Apple Turnovers

2 small granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 T cherry flavored Craisins
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t cornstarch
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 t vanilla
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 T butter, cut into small pieces
1 T sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 and put oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.  Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.  Mix together the apples, Craisins, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch.  Add in the vanill and applesauce.  Roll out the puff pastry, and then cut it in desired number of pastries.  Place apple filling in the middle of each square, and add butter pieces to it.  Fold the pastry square into a triangle, press sides together, and sprinkle top with sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes or until puffy and golden.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Turkey Meatballs

We had a yummy dinner the other night, although I liked it less than anyone else.  The boys and Aaron gave these meatballs a 9, and I gave them a 7 because I thought they lacked flavor.  I just made up my own recipe for this, so here's what I did.  Each meat ball is 96 calories.  I added the olive oil and cream to fatten up the turkey a little, since ground turkey is typically dry, and I'm glad I did.

1 lb ground turkey
1 T olive oil
1 T cream
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs, divided
1/2 c parmesan cheese
2 T marinara sauce
garlic powder
onion powder
crushed red pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, except reserve 1/4 c of bread crumbs, preferably panko.  After mixing all the ingredients together, make meatballs out of the mixture and roll each meatball in the reserved panko.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes in a mini muffin tin.  Mix in sauce and serve with pasta.

This is an easy and delicious way to make meatballs, and I use this method often, since I really don't like frying :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Samoa Bars

We tried these samoa bars the other day, and although the taste was amazing, the caramel was too hard, the recipe said to cook it to 260 degrees, which makes hard ball caramel, and that is just too hard for these bars.  I may make these again with the caramel being a lot less firm, and then I think they will be delicious.  We couldn't actually eat these, because of the texture of the caramel.  They are like those caramel chews you get at the store that are quite difficult to eat, and having that as a layer in a bar makes it impossible to eat.   Since we had to throw the whole pan out, I'm giving this a 0, even though like I said the flavor is good.  I'm also not posting the recipe, just follow the link to find the recipe.  I followed the recipe exactly, using a candy thermometer and everything.  I was frustrated at this recipe, obviously, because throwing out that much food really sucks.  The calories per bar for 24 bars was 640, another reason not to make these :).  Anyway, great idea, poor execution.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pantry Chicken and Beans

We had this pantry chicken and beans for a meal the other day, and this is a great way to use up some of your canned goods ;)  This was an easy recipe, and everyone liked it, although Owen thought there were too many beans and he didn't like the tomatoes, which Aaron and I thought might be the best part.  Aaron, Noah and I gave it an 8, and Owen gave it a 7,  and the calories for 6 servings were 378 per serving.

1 t Olive Oil
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed.
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Navy Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Diced Tomatoes, Slightly Drained
1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper
2 t Anchovy Paste (I didn't use this, I just added a little more salt and garlic powder)
⅓ c Chopped Kalamata Olives (I used California olives)
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ c Cherry Tomatoes
6 whole Chicken Breast Tenders
1 pinch Coarse Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper
½ c Freshly Grated Parmesan
¼ c Parsley, For Garnish (I didn't use this)

Grease 9x13 pan, then place beans and canned tomatoes in the bottom.  Cover with olives and spices, then season the chicken pieces and place on top of the chicken.  Cook for about 40-50 minutes, or until chicken is done.  Serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cinnamon Streusel Baked Donuts

Cinnamon Streusel Baked Donuts

We had Cinnamon Streusel Baked Donuts for breakfast the other morning, and they were a treat.  I love how they were slightly salty, slightly sweet, and really moist.  Aaron said he'd never had a donut like it, and I agree.  The kids and I really enjoyed them, Owen and Noah gave them a perfect 10, I gave them a 9, and Aaron gave them an 8.  The recipe made 6 donuts, and the calories/donut were 255.  I substituted applesauce for part of the oil, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.  Here it is:

1/3 c sugar
2 whole eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil (I used 2 T oil, 2 T unsweetened applesauce)
2 T plain yogurt
1/2 t vanilla
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

1/4 c brown sugar
2 T oats
1 T butter
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease/spray your donut pan.
Whisk together the sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla until smooth.  Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Distribute the batter evenly in the donut pan.
Toss all the last ingredients in the food processor, then top the donuts by pressing the streusel into the top of the batter.  Bake for 9-10 minutes (I did it for 9), then let cool for 5 minutes.  Serve

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Buffalo Chicken and Potatoes

I found this recipe on Facebook, my cousin's wife Hollie had posted it, and I honestly can't tell you where the recipe originated.  Just kidding, here's the link ;)  Anyway, I'll post the recipe the way I made it, and sorry I can't give credit where it is due.  This buffalo chicken and potatoes was really good, although just a tiny bit spicy.  Noah gave it a perfect 10, and he had two servings of it, Owen gave it an 8 because of the spice factor, and Aaron and I gave it a 9.  This really was delicious.  We got 6 servings out of this, and each serving was 434 calories, not including the ranch.

Buffalo Chicken Potatoes

12 oz boneless skinless chicken tenders, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 gold potatoes, chopped
4 T olive oil
3 T sriracha (I will use a little less next time)
1 T garlic powder
1/2 T paprika
1 t salt
1 t pepper
2 c cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
5 green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 500.  Mix together the olive oil, sriracha, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix potatoes together in it.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, then place the potatoes in the dish.  Try to leave as much marinade as possible in the bowl so you can marinate the chicken.  Put the potatoes in the oven, checking them every 10-15 minutes, and while you are doing this, coat the chicken in the marinade, and let them sit until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, about 40 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the oven and turn the oven down to 400.  Place the chicken on top of the potatoes, then top with cheese, bacon bits and green onions.  Cook for 10-15 more minutes until the chicken is done and the cheese is melted.  Serve with ranch dressing.  Yum!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Italian Ricotta Cake

So this is the Easter cake I promised, and although it wasn't too difficult, it also wasn't fabulous.  I'll post the recipe the way I made it, but in the cookbook the Golden Book of Chocolate, the recipe calls for orange peel in the ricotta filling, and I just don't like chocolate with fruit very much.  Aaron gave it a 4, because he doesn't like cake and this wasn't a fabulous cake, Owen gave it an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 7.  It wasn't very chocolatey, and although I cooked it for the time called for, my cakes were a little done and dry.  I'm still trying to figure out this oven of mine ;)  Anyway, for 24 servings, the calories per slice are 329.

Italian Ricotta Cake

1.5 c almonds, finely ground
2/3 c flour
2/3 c cocoa
2 t baking powder
large pinch of salt
8 large eggs, separated
1.5 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c milk
chocolate curls or chips

Ricotta Filling:
1 c heavy cream
1 lb ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
1/2 c powdered sugar
dash of vanilla and almond extracts

Chocolate Topping:
2 c heavy cream
2/3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c cocoa
1 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 and butter and line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper.  Grind the almonds in a food processor, then add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and process together.  In a mixer bowl, beat egg yolks, 1 c sugar, vanilla and almond extract together until pale and very thick.  Turn mixer to low and gradually beat in the dry ingredients alternating with the milk.  In another bowl, mix together the egg whites until frothy, then beat the egg whites with 1/2 c sugar until the whites are stiff and glossy.  Fold the egg whites into the batter, then divide the batter between the two prepared pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes (I baked mine for 23, they were too done).  Cool the cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to a cooling rack and cool completely.
For the filling, beat the cream until stiff.  Process the ricotta, powdered sugar, and flavorings (the recipe uses 1/2 c orange peel here, I just used other flavorings) until smooth in a food processor.  Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture.
For the Frosting, beat the cream, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff. 
Divide cakes in half, so there are four pieces.  Place one cake down on a plate, top with 1/3 filling, then repeat with the next two cake layers and the rest of the filling.  Place the last cake layer on top, then frost with the frosting and decorate as desired.

I don't know if Dutch processed cocoa would've given us a deeper chocolate flavor, but I do know that this could've used more chocolate.  Anyway, this was the first recipe from the new cookbook I tried, and I'm excited to try more.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dyeing Easter Eggs




 Happy Easter everyone!  We had a fun day, and we had our usual Easter egg hunt and egg dyeing time.  We decided to try something different this year, Aaron found an idea for dyeing eggs with shaving cream and food coloring.  Just spray a bunch of shaving cream in a cookie sheet, dot food coloring all over it, then swirl.  Cover eggs in the shaving cream mixture, then let sit.  It sounded fun, so we tried it out.  As you can see from the top picture, the eggs did not turn out very dark, although they do look kind of cool.  We left the shaving cream dye stuff on overnight, and it still didn't darken very much.  Oh well ;(  It was fun to play with the shaving cream, and it smelled a lot better than vinegar does :).  We had fun doing that together as a family, so that was worth it.  Hope you all had a very happy Easter!  We had for our Easter dinner, ham, pineapple, rolls, twice baked potatoes, and a chocolate cake recipe I will feature tomorrow.