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Archive for January, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Happy Chinese New Year! In honor of that I decided to make sweet and sour chicken tonight for dinner. Normally this meal is probably not that good for you because it’s breaded, but I didn’t bread ours. The recipe I was following actually called for it to be breaded but I didn’t want to add those extra calories on to it. So of course I went and re-created my own recipe. I also threw in some fresh pineapple during the last 15 minutes! This makes about 3 servings.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breast, cut up into medium sized chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup canola oil

Sauce Ingredients:
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 fresh/canned pineapple

Directions:
1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Season chicken with salt and pepper.
3) Fry in a little oil in a pan and fry chicken till it’s brown but not cooked through.
4) Place in a single layer in a baking dish.
5) Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken.
5) Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. Add pineapple during last 15 minutes of baking.

Enjoy!

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Boston Cream Pie

My mom for some reason got a free magazine in the mail called Cuisine at Home, and it had this recipe in it. Chris fell in love with the picture, so of course he requested me to make it. It turned out really well. It wasn’t as good as a cream pie you’d get in Boston, but it’s pretty close to it. This one was a little different as it had a chocolate cake layer in between the typical golden cake layers. It also has a vanilla rum filling. It’s a process to make, it’s nothing that easy, it took about a total of 2 hours till finish. The only thing I changed was the filling part, the recipe calls for vanilla bean, but we couldn’t find and when we did you got one cane for 15.99, so I decided that I would just use vanilla extract.

Ingredients:

For the Golden Cake:
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Cake:
1/3 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 eggs at room temperature
6 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of hot brewed coffee
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the Filling:
2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped( I used vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon)
3/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of corn starch
Pinch of Salt
4 eggs at room temperature
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light rum, optional

For the Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces of good quality semisweet chocolate finally chopped( I use baker’s secret)
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup

Directions for Vanilla Rum Filling:
1) Bring milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar and vanilla to a simmer in large heavy saucepan; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small mixing bowl; set aside.
2) Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric or stand mixer on medium speed till fluffy and lemon colored, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sugar-corn starch mixture.
3) Whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Add the egg mixture back to the milk in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until thick, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
4) Lightly boil filling 1 minute to eliminate starch taste from the cornstarch. Off heat, add butter and rum; transfer to a bowl.
5) Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap onto surface of filling to prevent a skin from forming.
6) Chill until cakes are baked and completely cooled.

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut two rounds of parchment paper to line the bottom of two 9 inch non stick cake pans. Spray bottom(not sides) with nonstick spray, line each pan with parchment.
2) To make the golden cake layer, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt three times; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 8 minutes. Gently fold in sifted flour mixture into eggs in two additions, making sure it gets thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into one of the prepared cake pans.
3) To make the chocolate layer, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt three times; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 8 minutes. Gently fold sifted flour mixture into eggs in two additions. Fold in coffee, oil, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into other cake pan.
4)Bake golden cake 25 to 30 minutes; bake chocolate cake 15-18 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, and take spring back when lightly touched. Cakes will pull away from the sides of the pan as they cool.
5) Transfer cakes to a rack; cook 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen, then invert cakes onto plates. Remove parchment and invert again onto the rack so the cakes are right side up. Cool completely. Split golden cake into half.
6) Place the bottom half of the golden cake cut side up, on a cake platter. Top with half of the cold filling (about 1 1/4 cups) spreading it evenly to the edges of the cake. Carefully place the chocolate layer on top; spread with remaining filling. Top with second golden layer, cut side down; press lightly to stabilize layers. Chill cake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
7) For the glaze, place finely chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Boil cream and corn syrup, pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze on top of cake, smoothing it with a spatula.

Enjoy!!

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I’m so proud of this little recipe, it’s one of the first ones I ever created my self! I’m sure somewhere out there, there is a similar one but this one I thought of my own! Anyways, typically we buy pork baby back ribs, but for some reason at Acme, on Friday mornings, all their meat is half off, or there are coupons on it for 1.00 off or 2.00 off. I imagine that is because it’s shelf live is probably just about over, but every piece of meat we buy the date is always good. We take it home and use our food saver and in the freezer it goes. Anyways, so the short ribs were originally four something with a two dollar off coupon, so I bought them. We have so much food in our freezer because, one-we have been away a lot, two-we have been eating out it seems when we are home, three-we stocked up big time about a month ago. I’m sure these could be made in the oven, but this recipe is for a slow cooker. They need to cook about 5 1/2-6 hours on low. So I got these out this morning and had an extra apple in the fridge and the rest is history! Ha! This recipe is for 2 servings, so you may need to adjust it.


Ingredients:
6 short ribs
1 cup BBQ sauce, any choice, I used a hickory smoke flavor
1 cup Apple Butter BBQ sauce
1/2 cup of onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 apple, any kind, peeled and cored

Directions:
1) Place all ingredients in crock pot except for short ribs and stir together.
2) Add short ribs in and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

Enjoy!

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Apple Pancake!

This is SO good! It’s not a quick easy meal to make for breakfast but it’s well worth the wait! It’s basically an upside down apple pancake! It’s pretty big, when I make it I cut it into two and have one side for leftovers! You can use any type of apple you prefer, I like honey crisp so I use that. You also have to put a non-stick pan in the oven, which is fine, what I like to do is put foil over the handle just in case.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
1/2 cup flour
powdered sugar

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 400C.
2) Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
3) Add brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; stir. Once the dry ingredients are incorporated in the butter, add the apples and spread them into a single later.
4)Cook without stirring until the apples begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely soft and maybe even a little caramelized.
5)Place all remaining ingredients and mix, about 15 seconds or everything is together and smooth.
6) Pour the batter evenly over the apples.
7) Place the skillet in the oven and bake until pancake is firm and puffed, about 10 minutes.
8) Invert onto plate, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

Enjoy!

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With our soup I wanted something to go along with it. I thought about making some type of sandwich, but then I decided that might be too filling. So I just bought some ciabatta rolls and used them!

Ingredients:
2 Ciabatta Rolls
4 slices American Cheese/or any kind you like
1 teaspoon of garlic
1 teaspoon of butter

Directions:
1) Cut rolls into half.
2) Put some butter over the top of each roll, then add garlic to roll.
3) Place cheese on top of each roll.
4) Bake in toaster oven or oven on 400 degrees until cheese is browned.

Enjoy!

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Pasta de Fagioli

This a great meal for a cold week night. It’s very easy to put together and doesn’t take long to make, about a half hour! This particular recipe makes 5 servings. It also is good to freeze and use later. It’s actually pretty healthy for you as well.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 15 oz can cannellini beans
15 oz can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cans fat free chicken broth
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups Ditalini pasta or other small pasta
Grated Parmigiano or Romano

Directions:
1)In a small pan saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
2)Blend the can of beans with one can water in electric blender until almost smooth.
3)In a stock pot add onion and garlic along with the blended beans. Then add the can of tomato sauce, celery, chicken broth, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. 4)Add 1 cup water and bring to slow boil.
5)Let simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
6)Add pasta and cook uncovered until pasta is al dente.
7)Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese.

Enjoy!

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Apple Cinnamon Wontons

What a quick easy and pretty good dessert to quick make on a week night! We still had some leftover won tons and lots of apples, so I decided to make Apple Won tons!

Ingredients:
1 Honey crisp apple, cored and peeled cut slices into half
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
About 12 won ton wrappers or how ever many you need

Directions:
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine apples with brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix together.
3) Place in won ton wrapper.
3) Use a dash of water to seal the won ton together.
4) Place on greased cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes or until won ton is crisp and brown.
5) Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
6) Serve with some whip cream to dip won ton in.

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