Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

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Why do chipotle chiles in adobo sauce come in such large containers? I mean, really the container isn't that large, but no recipe ever calls for more than one chile at a time. Which means you're left to freeze or refrigerate the remaining chiles while keeping an eye out for a recipe that might use them up before the go bad.

This drives me crazy. However, I recently made something calling for one chile, so when I saw this recipe that used another one, I immediately changed up my menu plan to include this recipe. Oh, the things we do for food. :-)



Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
Servings: 8
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 red pepper, chopped
    • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
    • 1 chipotle chile, diced 
    • 1 tsp. sauce from chipotle chiles
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. thyme
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • 2 cups chicken stock 
    • 6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced 
    • 16 oz. package frozen sweet corn
    • 15 oz. can creamed corn
    • 2 tbsp. lime juice
    • 1 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed (optional)
Directions:
1. Combine butter, red pepper, poblano, chile and sauce, cumin, oregano and thyme together in a large pot. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the peppers have softened. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
2. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk and the chicken broth, using the spoon to scrape up any bits from the bottom.
3. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Stir in the frozen and canned corn and cook 5 minutes more. Then stir in the cheeses until melted.
4. Add the chicken and lime juice. Cook for 10 minutes more or until heated through.
5. Serve, garnished with cilantro and optional tortilla chips.

I can handle a decent amount of spice and I would have used another chile in this. The spice was there, but very mellowed out due to the cheese and the corn, so if you are looking for a smoky, spicy soup, definitely increase the amount of heat here by adding another chile pepper. But, if you're looking for a rich and hearty soup, this is definitely one that you should check out. 

Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich

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While printing out recipes from Eating Well,  I came across this one titled Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich which gave me a mental picture of a quaint little cafe with seating outside that served this sandwich to its customers.

This recipe is meant to be made entirely on the grill, but since its cold out and we use the Griddler more than anything, I adjusted the recipe a little bit to meet our indoor needs.



Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich
Slightly Adapted from: Eating Well, July/August 2007
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 loaf whole wheat Italian bread
    • 1 lb. flank steak, trimmed
    • 1 red pepper, quartered 
    • 1 yellow pepper, quartered
    • 2 tbsp. reduced fat mayo
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 cup mixed salad greens
Directions:
1. Slice the Italian bread into 4 pieces, then slice in half to make a sandwich.
2. Preheat the grill and season the steak with salt and pepper.
3. Add the steak and the bell peppers to the grill and grill for 5-7 minutes or until the peppers are lightly charred. Remove peppers from the grill and slice into bite sized pieces.
4. Continue cooking the steak until medium well, then let rest for 5 minutes. Slice into strips against the grain.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the mayo and the garlic powder until combined.
6. Place the bread on the grill until lightly toasted. Spread both sides of the bread with the mayo mixture, then top with the salad greens, sliced steak and bell peppers. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

I really enjoyed this sandwich, even if it was a bit messy. The flavor mainly comes from the peppers so don't skimp on those at all. 

Lobster Fettuccine

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When I received the November 2012 edition of Cooking Light I stopped on page 170 and just stared for a while before even reading the recipe. The picture told me all I wanted to know; hunks of lobster smothered in with wide ribbons of pasta and garnished with fresh parsley. They say that you eat with your eyes first and this was definitely one of those times where my eyes were devouring the page. To the point where I was practically drooling.

I decided to make this recipe on Valentine's Day since lobster is a bit of a splurge. Luckily, one of the grocery stores I frequent was having a $7 lobster deal. What I didn't realize at the time was that was the price for the whole lobster, not just the tail. Meaning the tail meat was not nearly enough for this dish, so we used the claw meat as well.

Anyway, if you've seen this recipe in Cooking Light, you'll know that its actually Lobster Pappardelle. Which I intended to make, but since I didn't get to take a trip to Wegman's, it ended up as Lobster Fettuccine since I couldn't find papparadelle at any other grocery store.

I did debate on making my own, but I figured that would be pushing it a bit for a weeknight meal.



Lobster Fettuccine
Slightly adapted from: Cooking Light, November 2012
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. wide pasta 
    • 2 cups white wine
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock 
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 2 6 oz. lobsters
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. whipping cream
    • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
    • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
    • kosher salt, pepper 
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine white, chicken stock and thyme together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the lobster, cover and reduce the heat allowing to simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Remove the lobster from the pot. Remove the tail and claw meat and roughly chop once cool enough to handle.
4. Meanwhile, add the oil to the pot and bring to a boil. Cook 15-20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard the thyme and stir in the cream. Then add the lobster meat and cooked pasta to the sauce.
5. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, tossing frequently until the pasta is coated and everything is warmed through.
6. Serve, and garnish with fresh parsley and thyme.



To be honest, I wasn't 100% impressed with this dish. I feel like I would like it a lot better if it was made with crab or shrimp instead. Tom was only able to eat a little of it as well since it reminded him a bit of alfredo which he had a bad experience with many years ago.

Chocolate Souffles

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I had always heard that souffles were very difficult to make because if you didn't do it perfectly, they would collapse the second you took them out of the oven. Sure, they'd still be edible, but they wouldn't be pretty or the way they were supposed to be served.

The first time I had souffle was when Tom and I went to Celebrity Kitchens. One of the courses included a bleu cheese souffle, which I was hesitant to eat as I wasn't a fan of bleu cheese at the time. Luckily I tried it, because it was incredible and I also found that I actually like bleu cheese. 

Making a souffle has been on my 28 Before 28 list for quite some time now and I kept putting it off, thinking it was going to take forever to make and be really difficult. But, as the days until my 28th birthday quickly approach, I decided I needed to get over my souffle fear and make them. 

Recently I purchased a new cookbook series called Eat What You Love and Eat More of What You Love after looking through them while visiting the in-laws. Eat More had a recipe for souffle that only called for 5 ingredients. How hard could something possibly be if it only involves 5 ingredients!?



Chocolate Souffles
Servings: 5

Ingredients:
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/4 tsp. instant coffee
    • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray 5 six-ounce ramekins with non-stick cooking spray and place them on a sheet pan. 
2. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. Place two of the yolks in a separate bowl. Discard or save remaining yolks for another use. 
3. Attach the whisk attachment to your stand mixer and beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Slowly add in the sugar, a little bit at a time and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. 
4. Meanwhile, dissolve the instant coffee in 3 tbsp. water. Then whisk in the cocoa powder and mix it all into the egg yolks. 
5. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time until smooth. Then stir the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. 
6. Gently fold half of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Once combined, add in the remaining chocolate mixture and fold until it is all combined. 
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins and bake for 11 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Umm, somebody lied. This was by far one of the easier things I've ever made. Sure, I used the stand mixer to do the majority of the work for me, but even so, this was not difficult at all. If I had any idea how easy it was to make something that looks so difficult, I'd have made these already!



Obviously, the only thing you don't want to do is open the oven while they are cooking. So, if you're impatient like me, just turn on your oven light, and take a seat on the floor to watch them cook up. Then, after a minute or two, when you realize nothing amazing is going to happen, go back to cleaning up the kitchen and just let the souffles cook. 


Weekly Menu 2/24 - 2/28

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Do you go through phases of foods that you just can't get enough of? I'm usually pretty consistent in my love of popcorn, but occasionally I'll branch out to pretzels or something else. Lately, I've been absolutely addicted to Cracked Black Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits with sliced cheddar cheese. I could honestly eat it every day for a snack or meal and be completely content.

In other news, I am on hard-core countdown to my FL trip and I spent 90 minutes yesterday on the treadmill, followed by 10 minutes of abs exercises and then I made it through 15 minutes of Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred before I felt like I was going to turn into a puddle, so I gave up and collapsed on the floor. All of that equated to 640 calories, which is practically half of my daily allowance.

I have been craving a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera Bread like no one's business, but I unfortunately looked up how many calories that poor sucker is. Toasted, with cream cheese, it tops out at over 600 calories. So I decided when I lose my first 5 lbs, that is going to be my treat to myself. The scale needs to get moving, because I really want one!

And in even more exciting news, I start a new job on Tuesday that I am thrilled about. The title is Billing Office Manager, but I'm going to be doing much more than just that. The absolute neatest part about the job is I get to spend every Friday in the kitchen showroom/design studio. The company does absolutely gorgeous kitchens so I can't even comprehend the amount of gorgeousness that I'm going to get to stand in.

I do have a bad feeling though, that someone is going to walk in one day and find me twirling around in the kitchen singing "It's so pretty!" or petting the granite countertops telling them how nice they are. I should probably warn them of this kind of stuff in advance, huh?

And because there are just all kinds of changes going on around here, I've also become the Food/Recipe Writer for an online magazine called WomanScope News. As soon as my recipes are posted there, I'll provide a link here for you all to check it out.

Since I'm in hard-core lose weight mode, dinners for this week are entirely from the Abs Diet Cookbook.

Sunday - Green Gobbler Lasagna (lasagna with spinach)

Monday - Asian Turkey Meatball Subs (my own creation based off their recipes)

Tuesday - A Thinner Mexican Dinner (basically tacos sans shell)

Wednesday - Protein Packed Baked Ziti (with chicken!)

Thursday - Shrimp Tacos (my adjustment to the fish tacos)

I'm doing smoothies for breakfast again, and this week will be one with frozen peaches. Nom! Lunches will be BLT wraps with turkey.

I'm going to need to exercise quite a bit of control this weekend since Tom asked that I make the browned butter chocolate chip cookies and I also have a dessert that I need to make for an upcoming challenge. 

Quick Breakfast Tacos

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At the beginning of each year, Eating Well comes out with a huge list of recipes that you should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner in order to lose weight. This year, I had some extra time and decided to go on a recipe printing spree, selecting all of the ones that I wanted to try out.

I'm not really an egg person. Especially in the scrambled variety. But when I am tired of eating the same things over and over again for breakfast, I will occasionally resort to finding an egg recipe.

This one was just too simple to pass up.



Quick Breakfast Taco
Source: Eating Well, May/June 2008
Servings: 1
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Ingredients:
    • 2 low calorie tortillas 
    • 1 tbsp. salsa
    • 2 tbsp. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup egg substitute 
Directions:
1. Divide cheese among tortillas and microwave for 15-20 seconds each until the cheese has melted. Top with salsa.
2. Spray a small skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the egg substitute and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes or until eggs are scrambled. Divide among the tortillas, wrap up and serve.

This is much tastier if you eat it when you first make them. I made a large batch of them and kept them refrigerated for breakfast each morning. A few seconds in the microwave and they were warmed through, but something about reheated eggs just grosses me out. However, these tacos kept me more than full right on through to lunch time. 

Improv Challenge: Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

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I giggled when I read the two ingredients for this month's Improv challenge: hearts and flours. I can't help it, I'm easily amused by puns.

In case you don't know yet, the Improv Challenge is a challenge organized by Kristin of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. There are two ingredients selected for each month (and we're made aware of them in advance) and anyone who wishes can participate. To participate, you just need to make a recipe that includes those two ingredients and post it on your blog (for the first time) on the day of our link up. Easy, right?

I printed out this recipe a while back and for whatever reason, never got around to making it. Which is kind of a shock considering it involves Nutella which is pretty much one of my favorite ingredients, ever. Nevertheless, I knew this would be a great recipe to use for this challenge.



Strawberry Nutella Pop Tarts
Source: The Novice Chef
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 1 pie crust, homemade or store-bought refrigerated version (like Pillsbury)
    • 6 tsp. Nutella
    • 6 tsp. strawberry preserves
    • 2 large strawberries, carved into 6 hearts
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 tsp. water
    • 1 tsp. sugar in the raw or other coarse sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with a silpat.
2. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the pie crust until very, very thin, about 1/16th of an inch. Cut into 2.5" x 3.5" rectangles, rolling the dough out again as necessary to create 12 rectangles.
3. Cut out a heart in 6 of the rectangles, the size that the strawberry will fit into.
4. Spread 1 tsp. of Nutella onto the 6 remaining rectangles, then add 1 tsp. of preserves each.
5. Then place the other rectangle on top and put the heart in the center. Use a fork to crimp the edges.
6. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Brush onto the top of each pop tart. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving.



Yum! Not only are these adorable but they're tasty too! If you keep pie crust in the freezer like I do, this is something you can whip up relatively quickly.


Three Cheese Mushroom and Tortellini Soup

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Some days you just need a simple soup that doesn't need to simmer on the stove for hours. This soup definitely meets those requirements.


Three Cheese Mushroom and Tortellini Soup
Source: Skinny Taste
Servings: 8, Points+: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 2 tsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 celery stalks, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 cups water
    • 4 cups low-sodium fat free chicken broth
    • 12 oz. mushrooms (any type)
    • 9 oz. prepared three-cheese tortellini (like Buitoni)
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently for 6-8 minutes or until softened.
2. Add garlic, water, chicken broth and mushrooms. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
3. Add in tortellini and cook according to package directions for al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese.

This is one tasty soup and I love how quick it is to prepare. I'll definitely make this again.


English Muffin Pizzas

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As a blogger, I sometimes encounter recipes that I debate whether or not I really want to share. Mostly because they are not really recipes. I mean there are very little directions to something like an English muffin pizza and since the sauce and toppings are completely up to you, its almost silly to call it a recipe.

It's more like a food suggestion. Like a "hey, you have these extra ingredients lying around in your fridge, here is something that you could do with them."

So without further adieu, here are some English muffin pizza ideas you can enjoy. The ingredient amount are enough for 1 English muffin; i.e. two pizzas.



Pepperoni English Muffin Pizza

1 English muffin, sliced in half
2 tsp. pizza sauce
2 tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 pepperonis

Spread 1 tsp. of pizza sauce on each half of the muffin. Top with 1 tbsp. of cheese and 2 pepperonis. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a 350 oven.



Chicken Ranch English Muffin Pizza

1 English muffin, sliced in half
2 tsp. Ranch dressing
1/4 cup shredded chicken breast, cooked
2 tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread 1 tsp. of Ranch dressing on each half of the muffin. Top each with 1 tbsp. of mozzarella cheese and divide the chicken among both. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.



Sesame Chicken English Muffin Pizza

1 English muffin, sliced in half
2 tsp. teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 green pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded chicken breast, cooked
1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted

Spread 1 tsp. of the teriyaki sauce over each half of the English muffin. Top each with the mozzarella cheese, then divide the pepper and chicken among the halves. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.



Obviously these are just a few of a ton of different combinations that you could try, but I just wanted to throw some ideas out there.


Kung Pao Chicken Tacos

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What is it with Chinese food and water chestnuts? I can't stand water chestnuts and they seem to be in EVERY Chinese food dish that I order. It's not like many Chinese food places offer descriptions of what is included in each of their meals, so I typically have no idea until I bite down into one of those crunchy nasty things and find out they've inhabited my whole dish. :(

I guess when ordering take out I'm just going to have to start specifying that I don't want water chestnuts, regardless of whether I think they would be in the dish or not. Kung Pao wasn't a dish where I expected them, but there they were, nested among the celery pieces. Which is why I was so thrilled when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light and noticed they didn't include them!



Kung Pao Chicken Tacos
Source: Cooking Light, October 2012
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
    • 3 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
    • 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, divided
    • 2 tbsp. canola oil
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
    • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
    • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp. sambal oelek (Lee Kum Kee chile paste)
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3 tbsp. roasted peanuts, chopped
    • 3/4 cup celery, diced
    • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    • 8 corn tortillas
    • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced
    • lime wedges
Directions:
1. Place chicken in a sealable bag with 1 tbsp. of the soy sauce. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Put 1/4 cup of the cornstarch in a shallow dish. Discard the marinade and dip the chicken into the cornstarch, shaking off the excess. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large skillet with canola oil over medium heat. Add the chicken (in batches if necessary) and saute 6-8 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
4. Transfer the chicken to a plate to keep warm. Add the celery, peanuts and red pepper to the skillet. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
5. Combine the remaining cornstarch, honey, sesame oil, vinegar, and sambal oelek together in a small bowl. Microwave in 10 second intervals until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the garlic and set aside.
6. Return the chicken to the skillet, pour the sauce over and toss together everything to coat.
7. Divide the mixture among the tortillas and top with sliced green onions. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top.

I'm not usually a fan of any type of breading on chicken, but this was incredible. I made the decision to cook the vegetables (knowing Tom wouldn't eat them otherwise) but honestly, I think it could go either way. There is just the perfect amount of heat in this as well. Definitely going to add this to the "make again" list.

Weekly Menu 2/17 - 2/21, Abs Diet Week 1

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I love lazy weekends. There is just something thrilling about knowing that you pretty much have absolutely nothing to do.

I realized the other day that my trip to Florida is a mere 8 weeks away and I am no where ready for bikini season. At all. So, I started off by purchasing some motivation, in the form of this bikini from J Crew.


I then took a picture of it and changed it to be the background on my phone. I said I would never become one of those people completely addicted to their phones, but unfortunately, I'm slowly getting there. I decided to use it for good though, by reminding me every time I look at my phone that I need to transform my current figure to fit into the bikini. Motivation at its finest.

Then, I decided to fall back on my old stand-by, but in full force this time. I've mentioned on here hundreds of times that a while back, I did the Abs Diet recipe and I had huge success. I've half-heartedly tried it a few other times and didn't have any real success. Today starts a different day though. It's not that I just want to lose weight, I've gained enough that I'm at the point where I need to lose weight. It would be great to know what is causing this to happen since, while I'm not really doing much to prevent gaining the weight, I'm also not doing anything to cause it. Occasional sweets and keeping track of my calories. This should not be happening. However, it is and I need to stop it.

I think I've amassed a decent amount of healthy recipes, those from the Abs Diet, some Weight Watchers ones, ones from Cooking Light and Eating Well, and from two cookbooks that give you the Weight Watchers Points Comparisions. So while the menu for the next 6-8 weeks won't be entirely Abs Diet, it is going to follow it pretty closely.

Dinner includes:
Sunday - Grilled Filet Mignon with Spicy Oven Fries, Salad 

Monday - Chicken Stir Fry over Brown Rice

Tuesday - Turkey Chili Mac with Pepperjack Cheese

Wednesday - Grilled Shrimp, Pineapple and Bell Pepper over Rice 

Thursday - Prosciutto Panini, Salad 

For lunch I am going to have Chicken Noodle Soup. Breakfast will be banana raspberry smoothies.

The concept of the Abs Diet is to eat 6 times a day, 3 meals and 3 snacks where you are consuming power foods. For snacks this week, I have apples, string cheese, Triscuit crackers and baby carrots.

I still have a huge backlog of recipes that I need to share with you, so unless I receive any requests to bump these recipes up in line, you probably won't see any of this for another 2+ weeks. However, let me know.




Recipe Swap: Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter

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When Sarah announced that the category for this recipe swap was a special occasion meal, I was excited. The last time I participate I got a recipe for steak with a bleu cheese sauce and I found out that I actually like bleu cheese more than I previously thought!

I was thrilled when I received this recipe because it just so happened that scallops were on sale this week at the store.




Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter
Source: Sweet Beginnings slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
    • 1 lb. sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
    • 6-10 slices bacon, cut in half 
    • salt and pepper
    • 4 tbsp. butter
    • 2 tsp. chili powder
    • dash of cayenne pepper
Directions:
1. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper. Wrap half a piece of bacon around each scallop and secure with a toothpick. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Broil for 7 minutes, then flip over and broil for another 7-8 minutes or until the scallops are lightly browned and the bacon is crispy.
4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the chili powder and cayenne pepper.
5. Serve scallops hot drizzled with butter on top.



I was really curious to see how the bacon was going to turn out in this recipe. 90% of the time, when you make bacon wrapped scallops you end up with overcooked scallops because you're patiently waiting for the bacon to get crispy enough. It was definitely not the case in this recipe. Using the broiler provides more of an even coverage for the bacon and flipping it halfway through allows for all sides of the bacon to get crispy without overcooking the scallop.

The chili butter is a really nice touch that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. It mixes well with the bacon and provides just a little kick of heat that you otherwise wouldn't expect from a scallop. I served this over wild rice with a spicy green bean recipe.

Cannoli Cupcakes

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Do you have plans for this evening? Personally, I'm not a fan of going out on the actual day. Restaurants jack up their prices, the servers are rushed and pretty much anyone in the industry would rather spend it with their significant other than working, so you get sub-par service. Plus, even to visit a chain restaurant you pretty much need to make a reservation 2-3 weeks in advance. A well-known, higher end restaurant? You better call in early January! 

But, I figured there was no better of a day than the one known for sweets to share a deliciously sweet recipe with you. These cupcakes are just incredible. It's not very often I want more than one cupcake in a serving, but I could have easily ate 3-4 of these because they aren't super sweet. However, because these were eaten so quickly, I completely forgot until I had popped the last bite of the last cupcake in my mouth, that I never took a picture of the inside. So just believe me when I tell you its well worth what you can't see. 



Cannoli Cupcakes
Source: Tide and Thyme, adapted from Fabulicious! by Teresa Giudice 
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
Cupcake:
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup plain (or vanilla) lowfat yogurt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Filling:
    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips 
    • 1 tbsp. sugar
Frosting:
    • 1 2/3 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, unsweetened
    • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. 
2. Combine the butter and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
3. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. 
4. Add eggs, one at a time to the mixer, until fully combined. Then add in the yogurt and vanilla extract. 
5. Once everything is combined, reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture until a batter forms. 
6. Divide the mixture evenly into the prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
7. Remove from the oven and let cool in the cupcake pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 
8. Squeeze all of the excess liquid from the ricotta cheese (or drain overnight). Place the ricotta, mini chocolate chips and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until fluffy. 
9. Cut out the center of the cupcakes using a paring knife. Discard the centers. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a piping bag with a tip large enough for the mini chocolate chips to pass through and pipe into the center of each cupcake. 
10. Prepare the frosting by combining the heavy cream, sugar and cocoa powder in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Start on low speed and increase to medium-high beating until stiff peaks form. 
11. Transfer to a large piping bag with a large star tip and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over each cupcake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

I highly advise that you find an excuse to make these cupcakes ASAP!

I'm also going to cheat and say that this counts as making cannoli from my 28 Before 28 list, because well, I didn't specify cannoli vs. cannoli filling right? ;-)

Lightened up Cajun Chicken Pasta

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In my attempts to eat healthier, I've spent a lot of time looking at lighter versions of recipes that are out there. Skinny Taste is obviously a popular place to check out, but I've also had a decent amount of success with The Cooking Channel, specifically Not My Mama's Meals and just searching for "lighter recipe.name.here." 

 



Lightened up Cajun Chicken Pasta
Source: Skinny Taste
Servings: 6
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Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. linguine 
    • 1/3 cup non-fat milk
    • 3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
    • 1 tbsp. flour
    • 1 lb. chicken, cut into strips or bite sized pieces
    • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
    • 1 tsp. olive oil 
    • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
    • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/2 red onion, sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth 
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine milk, cream cheese and flour together in a blender or food processor to create a slurry. Set aside.
3. Season chicken with Cajun seasoning. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chicken and cook for 7-8 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken to  plate and keep warm.
4. Add the olive oil, peppers, mushrooms and onion to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Then add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the chicken broth and slurry, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture slightly thickens.
6. Return the chicken to the skillet and add in the pasta. Toss to coat and adjust seasonings to your taste.
7. Plate, topped with green onions.

You really can't tell that this is a lightened up version of this recipe at all. The majority of the flavor comes from the Cajun seasoning so the substitution of a cream cheese slurry for heavy cream doesn't even register on your radar. 

White Trash

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Last year I participated in a food swap with some ladies I talk to on a message board on pretty much a daily basis. Each person was assigned someone out of their state and you were to send each other non-perishable foods that your state is known for.

Of course, I took full advantage of sending out Old Bay and some other Maryland foods, but I was thrilled with what I got back. Not only did I get TWO different types of beef jerky (which is a huge weakness of mine) but I also got this cute little bag of stuffed called Texas Trash.

It was like crack in a bag. White chocolate, pretzels, cereal, candy and nuts all mixed together into this incredible combination. Once you ate a bite of it, you couldn't put it back down. Somehow, I exerted all control I maintained and made an 8 oz. bag last a week. It was hard!!

So when we planned on having a bunch of people over, I jumped on the chance to make this, figuring I could package it up in cute little bags and hand them out at the end of the night. Except, I forgot that I wanted to keep the package so I could use the exact ingredients.

I googled "texas trash" and found lots of interesting things, but nothing that was quite like the mixture I had received. After a bit more hunting, I came across Alton Brown's White Trash recipe and figured that was the closest I was going to get, so I decided to modify it up a bit.



White Trash
Adapted from: Alton Brown
Servings: 8 cups
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Ingredients:
    • 1 large box corn Chex cereal 
    • 16 oz. plain chocolate M&M's candy
    • 2 cups small pretzels
    • 2 cups mixed nuts 
    • 12 oz. white bakers chocolate 
Directions:
1. Combine the Chex, M&M's, pretzels and nuts together in a large bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour the chocolate into the bowl and toss well with a rubber spatula to coat.
3. Spread the mixture out onto parchment lined large cookie sheets and let set for 1-2 hours or until no longer sticky.
4. Break the mixture up and package into individual servings, or place into a sealable container until ready to serve.
Keeps for 1 week. 

Ham and Cheese Sliders

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It really says something about a recipe when you have to make it three times and only on the third try can you get a semi decent picture before there are hands flying from all directions to scarf these down.

If that isn't incentive to make these, I don't know what is.

I debated on making them again, when I wasn't having a party or anything and thought my chances of a decent picture would be higher, but then I realized these are just to dangerous to keep around, even in small quantities.

That is the problem with sliders. You think "oh, portion control!" but then after you scarf one of these down in two or three bites and realize how incredibly delicious it was, you think "well, sliders are small. It's not like I had a whole sandwich, so its justified to eat another...and another...Damn it, I just ate 5 of them."

Hey, at least I warned you.



Ham and Cheese Sliders
Source: Sweet Beginnings from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Servings: 24
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Ingredients:
    • 24 Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
    • 3/4 lb. honey ham 
    • 12 slices Swiss cheese
    • 1/2 cup mayo 
    • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. mustard
    • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
    • 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
2. Slice sweet rolls in half and spread mayo on both sides.
3. Cut each slice of Swiss cheese into quarters and place one on top and and one of the bottom of each roll. Fold up 1-2 pieces of ham and place on the slider.
4. Close the rolls and make sure they are placed tightly together on the baking sheet.
5. Combine the butter, mustard, poppy seeds, onion powder and Worcestershire together in a small bowl. Brush on top of the sliders and let sit for 10 minutes.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 12 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 2 more minutes. Serve warm.

The sandwiches, before the glaze, can be prepared up to a day in advance as long as they are tightly covered.
I really just have no words for these sliders, other than you must make them. They're just incredible. And they've definitely become my go-to recipe for a crowd since they're not only delicious but super easy to make and quick! 

Weekly Menu 2/10 - 2/14

Happy Chinese New Year! I told myself that I would be much better at actually making recipes for other holidays or world days, like Nutella day. However, I've managed to miss both of them. Maybe I need to set reminders or something.

Are you picky about the type of keyboard you type on? I need my backspace and enter keys to be a certain size or I just can't type properly at all. I'm wondering, because Tom bought me a new quiet keyboard yesterday and I'm still trying to get used to it. Apparently I type way too loudly so I needed this keyboard to make it not sound like a machine gun is going off in the bedroom.

The keyboard is illuminated, which is pretty cool since I'm usually sharing my blog posts with the social media world before Tom is even awake for the day but there are also certain keys on here that are raised higher than others; the control, alt and space bar mainly. I'm not sure why this is necessary, but I'm sure there's some type of logical reason to it.

Of course, now I'm paranoid at how loudly I type and I can't help but listen to myself. Even with this quiet keyboard, it is kinda loud. I don't know why! It's just the way I type! Maybe they have a loud-typers class I can go to or something to remedy this situation. :\

Anyway, enough babbling about how loudly I type. You don't care about that. You're here to read the menu, yes?

Sunday - recipe swap meal with rice and green beans

Monday - pizza pasta pie, salad

Tuesday - deconstructed wonton soup (I didn't get to make it the other week)

Wednesday - buffalo chicken sandwiches, fries

Thursday - lobster pappardelle, salad, chocolate souffle 

For breakfast this week, I planned on making lemon raspberry muffins, but I couldn't find any raspberries at the store so I'm going to substitute strawberries instead. I'm also making something cute with Nutella that would be great for Valentine's day, but unfortunately I'm not going to share it with you until the 21st as its my Improv challenge recipe.

See, there I go again, not sharing recipes for the correct holidays! 

Nichole's Party Punch

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I am a creature of habit when it comes to drinks. I drink coffee in the morning, water throughout the day and iced green tea at night. Sometimes, but not often, the coffee will be replaced for hot chocolate or the tea for lemonade or soda. It never occurs to me to drink juice 99% of the time. Mostly because I don't see the point in drinking away your calories for the day, but also because I'm pretty picky about juice.

Apple juice is fine. Orange juice, on the other hand, I can typically only have in very small quantities. See, one night during the summer after I graduated from high school, I went to a party with some friends and spent the night with a bottle of vodka and a bottle of orange juice. It took me many, many years to even be able to stomach the slight, let alone the smell of orange juice again.

Anyway, the point to all of this is, we were having people over one day and I decided to finally stray away from the typical beverages I would serve and create a fruit punch.



Nichole's Party Punch
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: ~ 1 gallon
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Ingredients:
    • 2 liters ginger ale
    • 4 cups orange juice 
    • 14 oz. crushed pineapple with juice
    • 4 oz. maraschino cherries with juice
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 orange, sliced 
Directions:
1. Combine the ginger ale, orange juice, pineapples and juice and maraschino cherries with juice together into a large pitcher.
2. Slice the lemon in half. Squeeze half of the juice from the lemon into the pitcher. Slice the other half of the lemon and and add to the pitcher along with the orange slices.
4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or serve immediately with ice.

I created this with what was leftover in the fridge from previous drinks and recipes and I think it turned out rather well. Its definitely sweet and fruity, but the carbonation of the ginger ale provides a nice zing to the punch.

However, I do need to take up an issue with Seagram's Ginger Ale. On Christmas, I opened a bottle of their ginger ale that had been standing up straight on our kitchen floor for 2 days. It exploded all over me. Then, while making this punch, I opened another bottle that hadn't been touched in days and the same thing happened. While I like ginger ale, I really don't appreciate taking a bath in it. 

Banana Split Cupcakes

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Since purchasing the proper tips, I really enjoy making cupcakes now. Before, I liked cupcakes, but dreading attempting to make any that were blog worthy because I just couldn't get along with the icing no matter how hard I tried. It really all came down to the size of the tip you use in your piping bag.

Now, I still don't have any fancy skills and you won't find cupcakes adorned with flower petals or anything, but at least I can pipe a decent swirl to the icing.

When I decided to have a New Years Eve party, I knew I wanted to make fun desserts. What better way to ring in the new year than with fun desserts? I also wanted to go a little over the top because isn't that what NYE is all about? I started my cupcake hunt on Annie's blog and immediately chose two recipes.

This lovely little beauty I'm sharing with you today was my first pick. I only wish I had thought to take better pictures of the 2 or 3 remaining cupcakes the next morning.



Banana Split Cupcakes
Source: Annie's Eats
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    Cupcakes:

    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • pinch of salt 
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 small banana, mashed
    Filling:
    • 6-8 strawberries, hulled and diced
    • 1 tsp. powdered sugar
    • 2 tbsp. crushed pineapple, drained
    Frosting:
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • splash of vanilla extract
    Toppings:
    • 6 oz. chocolate chips 
    • 12 maraschino cherries 
    • sprinkles
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and applesauce, then slowly add in half of the flour mixture.
4. Add the buttermilk and banana and the rest of the flour mixture until it is all combined.
5. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. While the cupcakes are cooling, combine the strawberries and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.
7. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a cone shape out of the center of the cupcake with a paring knife. Fill each cupcake with the strawberries and top with the crushed pineapples.
8. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
9. Transfer the frosting to a pipe bag fitted with a large tip. Pipe the frosting over the hole in the cupcake. Work quickly as the frosting loses it shape the warmer it gets. Then place the cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but up to overnight.
10. Once the cupcakes have chilled, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. Let the chocolate cool slightly then spoon over the cupcakes. Top immediately with a cherry and a pinch of sprinkles.
11. Return the cupcakes to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Unfortunately mine don't look anywhere near as pretty as Annie's. My friend Kayleigh was over helping me prepare everything for the party and neither one of us remembered to have the cherries or sprinkles ready after we added the chocolate so it resulted in the cherries being stuck on the sides of the cupcake which annoyed both of us quite a bit!

Looks aside, however, this cupcake is incredible. It holds up to the filling without becoming soggy or laden down. The whipped cream frosting is just light and airy enough that it pairs perfectly with the heaviness of the chocolate and the sweetness from the filling and the maraschino cherry. 

Crock Pot Pork and Sauerkraut

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Tom's family has a tradition where they eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day. I'd never heard of this tradition before, probably because my mom wouldn't touch sauerkraut with a ten foot pole, but I'm always happy to adopt other people's traditions.

Although, I do have to wonder, after a night of drinking, why in the world one would want to even smell sauerkraut is beyond me. However, Tom requested it, so I made it. And yes, I realize it is WAY past new year's day to be sharing this recipe with you. But at least you'll have it for next year, right?



Crock Pot Pork and Sauerkraut
Source: All Recipes
Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:
    • 2-3 lb. pork roast
    • 2 cups sauerkraut with liquid
    • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a 6 quart crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the pork is fork tender.
2. Shred the pork and serve along with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

It's funny to call this a recipe since you pretty much do nothing but put the ingredients in the crock pot, but hey, sometimes you need a recipe like that, right?


Asian Beef Bites

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Last summer I made a cookbook of some of my favorite recipes for my Godmother's birthday present. As I was choosing the recipes I realized that the foods I tend to gravitate towards are ones that I didn't eat as a child. That's probably the opposite of most people.

We never ate Mexican or Asian food when I was a kid. Chinese was as rare as it got. Which is probably while I can spend an incredible amount of time hanging out in the international aisle at the grocery store just staring in awe at all of the ingredients and wondering how I can use them.

I needed a simple appetizer recipe that would be quick to make and wasn't one of my usual ones. I was craving Chinese food which lead to this creation.



Asian Beef Bites
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 6
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Ingredients: 
    • 1 1/2 lb. flank steak, cut into bite sized pieces
    • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp. honey
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
    • green onions, for garnish
Directions:
1. Combine the soy sauce, honey, garlic powder and ginger together in a bowl.
2. Pour into a sealable container and add the meat. Toss to coat and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but up to overnight.
3. Heat a skillet over high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Discard the marinade and cook the meat, stirring frequently until cooked through.
4. Transfer to a plate and garnish with green onions. Skewer with toothpicks if desired.

Delicious! Even my non-Asian food liking mother gobbled these up. The best thing is that they're just as good hot as they are at room temperature. 

SRC: Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

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12 eggs and two pounds of butter...

The first time I had Eggs Benedict was October of 2011. My cousin lives about three hours away and was having her baby shower on a Saturday. Instead of driving up and back in one day, my mom, aunt and I decided to spend the weekend at the bed and breakfast located in cousin's hometown. 

Saturday morning we went down to the dining room for breakfast and after a 10 minute or so hunt for k-cups, I had my cup of coffee and we sat down to eat. The owner came around and asked if anyone wanted Eggs Benedict. I debated for a second, then figured there was no better time than to try eggs benedict. It was delicious!

So delicious in fact that I sought it out at restaurants when I returned home. Which led Tom and I to make many trips to Steak and Main for their Filet Eggs Benedict on the brunch menu. 

If you've read previous posts, you know that I realized just how close April 10th, 2013 is and how I really need to get a move on my 28 Before 28 recipes. Well, when I received my February Secret Recipe Club assignment, I figured there was no better time to see if anything could be crossed off the list. 

I was assigned Katherine Martinelli's blog which I've heard of before but never visited. Big mistake, by the way. You should totally check out her recipes! I knew from reading around the blogosphere that Katherine made recipes you could count on. So when I found her recipe for hollandaise sauce, I knew it was what I should make. While there are tons of hollandaise sauce recipes out there, when making something semi-difficult I prefer to find a recipe on a blog (or website, in some cases) where I trust the blogger. 

Anyway, as you can see from my first sentence, I wasn't exactly successful the first, second or third times. Which is no fault to Katherine's recipe at all. I just have a stove that has two options: boil or off. There is no simmering, ever and simmering is required for hollandaise. 



Hollandaise Sauce
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • pinch of cayenne

Directions:
1. Melt the butter and skim off the fat. Let cool slightly. 
2. Whisk the egg yolks together until fully beaten. 
3. Add 1" of water to the bottom of a double boiler and heat over medium-low. 
4. Place the egg yolks in the top pan of the double boiler and whisk constantly until the water is simmering and the eggs have doubled in volume, are lighter and have thickened. Do not allow the water to boil!
5. Lower the heat and add in a few drops of butter while still whisking. Once that is incorporated, pour in the butter in a slow stream while whisking constantly. 
6. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the lemon, salt and cayenne. Remove from the heat and adjust seasonings to taste. Use within 1 hour, but whisk occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. 

Eggs Benedict 
Servings: 4
Ingredients:
    • 4 English muffins 
    • 4 eggs
    • 4 tsp. water, divided  
    • 4 slices Canadian bacon
    • Hollandaise sauce, recipe above 
Directions:
1. Place 1/2 tsp. water in each egg holder of a microwave poaching dish. Carefully break the egg into the section and place another 1/2 tsp. of water on top. Microwave eggs in 30 second intervals until poached, 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. 
2. Toast English muffins and set aside. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the Canadian bacon and cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until lightly browned. 
3. Assemble the sandwich with the English muffin on the bottom, followed by the Canadian bacon and the poached egg on top. Spoon/drizzle the Hollandaise on top. 

Yep, you caught me. I used a microwave egg poacher. ::blushes:: 
Do you still accept me? 

I hope so, since I was pleasantly surprised to find out that even with all of the trial and error I went through, the Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce actually turned out! I want to continue to make this and hopefully improve on my Hollandaise issues, but I will confess, I might just pick up a packet of the Hollandaise mix next time.


Weekly Menu 2/3 - 2/7

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A couple of minutes ago I realized it was Sunday afternoon and I hadn't posted the menu for this week yet. Oops!

Every couple of months or so I go through this phase of "must.clean.everything.now" where I do a super deep cleaning of everything which includes stuff like reorganizing the linen closet or pulling everything out of all of my dresser drawers and refolding and organizing it. It's been one of those weekends. I'm still not done, but I plan to be before this evening.

In other news, if you're not visiting me though a reader, you'll see that I changed the layout of the blog again. I liked the first one, but it just still wasn't what I really wanted. So I started looking around for another blog designer and came across LittleWebWritingHood on Etsy. Her prices were more than affordable and she even had a pre-made template that pretty much matched what I wanted. Of course, I have too much stuff on here now to actually use a pre-made one anymore, but hey it took a lot of the ground work out of the way by having the basics already chosen.

There is still one portion we're trying to figure out how to change. My recipe list is huge. I don't think any of you really want to scroll through all of that. Am I right? Unfortunately, what I wanted isn't possible on Blogger. Damn you Blogger! So we're trying to figure out a way that each section in the recipe list can be its own page, or at least close to that in order to have an easier way for you to find recipes. If you have any suggestions, I'll glady take them.

Also, the Recipe List is no where near up to date. I stopped updating it on a weekly basis back in November when the first blog redesign started and I never kept up with it. :-( So on my list of things to organize, getting that updated is on there, at the very top.

And finally we can move onto what I'm making this week.

Sunday - Chicken with Leek & Mushroom Sauce over Rice

Monday - Flank Steak Sandwiches with Oven Fries and Salad

Tuesday - Corn and Red Pepper Bisque

Wednesday - Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash 

Thursday - Spicy Soy Pork over Rice with Sauteed Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes 

For breakfast this week, I'm having breakfast tacos and my lunches are chicken Caesar wraps.

Oh, and I just wanted to say thank you to my new followers. I had 99 of you for the longest time and in the past week, two more of you came along and now I'm at 101. This makes me extraordinary happy. Now, if only I could get that many followers on my Facebook and Twitter pages, I might just be able to participate in some of the giveaways offered on Foodie Blogroll. 

Blogger's Choice: Tres Leches Cake

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I realized the other day that it is already 2013. I mean, no, I'm not an idiot. I do know what year it is, but I realized that 2013 means in April I turn 28. And I have this little list called 28 Before 28 that I haven't even looked at in months. With less than 4 months left to get 10+ items crossed off, I knew I needed to kick it into high gear.

And typically procrastinator that I am, I left all of the things I figured were harder until the end. However, this cake is not difficult at all. I have absolutely no idea what ever stopped me from making it before.

Let's back up a minute though. I received my Blogger's Choice blog from Sarah before I realized how close April 10th, 2013 really is. I was given Eva Bakes which is maybe not the best blog to look at if you're still working on that weight loss resolution. However, if you're like 99% of the rest of the population who gave up or you just really enjoy sweets, go visit her blog. Now. And drool over items such as Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars or Biscoff Swirl Gelato. You can thank me later.

I've gotten off topic again. Let's try again. Okay, so I received my assigned blog from Sarah and I started looking through the recipes. I was immediately drawn to the Biscoff ones because I finally decided to hop aboard the Biscoff train and try this stuff out. But then the Tres Leches Cake caught my eye. And it dawned on me that it was practically February of 2013. And I had a list of quite a few things to make. With Tres Leches Cake being one of them. And so it was decided.



Tres Leches Cake
Source: Eva Bakes from What's Cooking, Chicago? originally from Alton Brown 
Servings: 1 cake
Printer Friendly

Ingredients:
Cake:
    • 6 3/4 ounces flour (a heaping 3/4 cup)
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    Glaze:
    • 12 oz. evaporated milk
    • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    Topping:
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
Directions:
1.Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour a 9x13 metal pan. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth. Gradually add in the sugar a small amount at a time, then add in the eggs one at a time, waiting until fully incorporated before adding the next one. Add in the vanilla.
4. Slowly pour the flour mixture into the stand mixer until combine.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack.
8. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze by whisking the ingredients together until smooth. Use a fork to prick the cake and pour the glaze on top.
9. Refrigerate the cake overnight.
10. Prepare the topping by combining the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Reduce to low speed and beat until a thick mixture forms.
11. Spread the topping over the cake and return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

I had no idea what to expect from this cake, but I was pleasantly surprised. Its very sweet but soooo good!
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