Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fruit Pebble Cupcakes

I can vividly remember the day I made rice krispie treats for the first time. I was in 7th grade home education class and burned the butter on the stove. I was so embarrassed that MY krispies were the ONLY ones in the entire class that were a major flop.

If my teacher could see me now...

I have a feeling these sugar snacks would get an A+! If the frutiy pebbles don't give you enough energy, the frosting certainly will! These are perfect for those nights when you forgot you were supposed to bring in dessert for your children's class for your husband's co-workers - they took less than 10 minutes to make!

PS - I think Adam actually drooled when he saw these! :) Many thanks to my awesome cousin, Erica, for the recipe!

1/2 stick butter
1 pkg. mini-marshmallows
1 pkg. Fruity Pebbles
1 can vanilla frosting

Microwave butter in a 4 qt. container for 45 seconds. Add marshmallows and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir. Add cereal. Mix. Press into greased muffin pans to form cupcakes (I used a 9x13 pan and pressed down with wax paper). Cool. Remove from pans and spread with frosting.

Adam's Comment : "It's so sweet, I can see through time." said as he finishes his SECOND helping in less than 4 minutes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Garlic Cream Chicken

Tired of the same ole chicken recipes? Need something quick and easy to spice up an ordinary weekday dinner? Just add garlic! When you cook with garlic it fills the entire house up with a delicious smell that will make everyone's mouth water and when it's sauted in butter and oil it takes on a mild sweet flavor while holding on to the traditional garlic taste.

3 whole heads garlic (about 40 garlic cloves)
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 1/2 c. white wine
2 Tbls dried thyme
2 Tbls flour
2/3 c. heavy cream

Drop the cloves of garlic into a pot of boiling water. Wait for about 60 seconds, then drain and peel. Set aside the cloves. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and heat the butter and oil in a large deep pan over medium high heat. Saute the chicken until nicely browned (about 5 minutes per side). When done, transfer to a plate.

Next add all the garlic cloves to the pan. Lower the heat to medium and saute for 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add wine and bring to a boil. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return chicken to the pot and sprinkle thyme over the top of each chicken breast. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to a platter and cover with foil. In a small bowl, whisk together flower and 1/2 c. of the sauce and then whisk it back to the rest of the sauce. Raise the heat to medium-high, add cream and boil for about 3 minutes. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Warner Chicken

Our good friends, Erin and Andy, gave us this recipe for our wedding cookbook. The original name is Chicken N Stuff, but I've renamed it Warner Chicken in honor of them.

This dish is rich and flavorful and SO easy to make! I love that I always have all of the ingredients on hand so this will be a great last minute meal in our house.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
4-6 slices swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups pepperidge farm herb stuffing mix
1/2 cup butter, melted

Place uncooked chicken in casserole dish. Place cheese slices over each piece of chicken. Dilute soup with wine; heat soup 30 seconds in the microwave. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle stuffing all over; drizzle butter over the stuffing. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Leek-y Chicken

There is one vegetable that I buy everything I go to the grocery store - LEEKS! I buy them for two reasons. They are a versatile veggie that can be added to any dish and I love going through the check out line and having to explain to the cashier what a leek is.

Leeks have a mild onion or scallion flavor so if you like those, you'll probably love leeks. This dish is a great starter dish for those of you who've never cooked with leeks before! So what are you waiting for? Go to the store today and buy some leeks!!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium leeks
1 cup dry white wine (I used the Target boxed white wine)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1-2 tablespoons corn starch

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO, butter, and garlic. Saute garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over.

While the chicken works, trim the tough tops (the green part) and root ends from the leeks. Cut the remaining white and tender green parts in half lengthwise, then cut the leeks into 1-inch half-moons. Place the leeks in a colander and run cold water over them. Separate the layers to release the dirt and grit. Rinse the leeks well, then drain.

Stir the leeks into the chicken and wilt for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and cream, cook down by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add corn starch and let simmer for about 5 minutes. The leeks should be tender, with some bright green color, and the chicken should be cooked through.

I served this dish over a bed of creamy red pepper rissoto.

Adam's Comments : "Tangy but not flagrant. Creamy but not too rich. Just very flavorful without being obnoxious. You could eat a lot of this every day and it will still be good"

Monika's Comments : "Leeks still remaing at the top of my favorite veggie list. I freaking LOVE them. I can't believe people go their whole life without using these to cook. This dish has a big flavor with very little ingredients."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Comments Back On...

One of my faithful readers let me know that something has been wrong with the comment section of my blog. Apparently the comments were being sent to the email of my maiden name. The issue should be resolved now. :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Jan's Rum Cake

When Jan first told me about this cake, I must admit, I didn't believe all the hype. She told me that she brought this cake to a pot-luck and within minutes the entire rum cake was gone (even though there were plenty of desserts left on the tables)! So of course, I had to try this cake and send it to Adam's co-workers for their case of the Mondays.

While it was baking it filled the entire house up with this rich buttery rum flavor. After it came out of the oven I had to have a piece (okay, I had two) because the flavor was to intriguing. The cake was warm, gooey, rich, buttery, crunchy, & moist. It melts in your mouth - I must admit that this cake is spectacular! Adam took the cake to work and received multiple emails from his co-workers that were upset that they missed "the best cake ever".

If you want to be a hit at the next party, make this cake. Seriously.

For Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup rum
4 eggs
1 box vanilla pudding

For Icing:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rum
1 stick butter

Mix cake ingredients bake for 55 minutes at 325 degrees in a floured pan sprinkled with pecans. Boil sugar and water for 3 minutes. Add rum and butter. When you take out of the oven, pour over cake while hot.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tator-Tot Casserole V2

This deserved a Version 2 because Adam said this just jumped up a few notches on the proverbial scale and I agree. The meat is moist and tender and the extra can of soup makes the whole dish taste as though it's covered in cheese!

*changes have been italicized*

1 pound hamburger
1 cup french onions (I used the cheddar ones. See pic below)
1 can green beans, drained
2 can cream of chicken soup
1 bag frozen tater tots
Salt & Pepper

Spray 3 qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread hamburger into dish, covering entire bottom. Top with onions & green beans. Season with salt & pepper. Spread cream of chicken soup over the bean layer then top with tater tots. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Spaghetti Dinner with Tiramisu

Sunday cook day!!! Today also marked the start of my 12 week 1/2 marathon training. What a better way to start the training than a nice meal of complex carbs!! (Spaghetti Dish was an adaptation of a RR recipe).

Spaghetti Dish -
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
2 small to medium yellow onion, 1 grated and 1 finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
1 egg
1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of overflowing handfuls
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves, 4 to 6 sprigs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 pound pancetta, chopped
12 baby portobello caps, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine, eyeball it
1 cup beef stock
1 (28-ounce), can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano if available

Preheat 400 degrees F. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
Mix meat with the grated onion, 3 cloves chopped garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, nutmeg, capers, sage, and a healthy drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix meat, score the meat into 4 sections and make 3 very large balls from each section. Arrange the 12 balls on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 15 minutes until firm but not hard.

Drop spaghetti in salted boiling water to cook off. Drain.

Add another tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet and the pancetta. Cook 3 to 4 minutes then add the remaining garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add remaining chopped onion and deglaze the pan with wine, cook off 1 minute, add in stock and whisk up remaining drippings. Stir in the tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper, if necessary. Simmer 5 minutes.

1 pkg. (2.8 oz.) Dark Chocolate NESTLÉ EUROPEAN STYLE Mousse Mix
2/3 cup milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese
1 cup strong-brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to room temperature
1-2 pkgs. (3 to 3.5 oz. each) ladyfingers, divided
Shaved or grated chocolate
2 cups whipped cream

Prepare mousse mix according to steps 1 and 2 of package directions using 2/3 cup milk. Fold mascarpone cheese into prepared mousse.

Line bottom of 8-inch-square baking dish with half of ladyfingers; drizzle with half of coffee mixture. Spoon half of mousse mixture over ladyfingers; top with remaining ladyfingers. Drizzle with remaining coffee mixture. Spoon remaining mousse mixture over ladyfingers. Sprinkle with
chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then top with whipped cream before serving.