1.30.2012

Chicken Parmesan Wraps

These delicious pockets of heaven melted in my mouth this afternoon. I love chicken and marinara sauce together. And crunchy egg roll wrappers? Need I say more? They're so versatile, you could stuff them with almost anything. Any surplus wrappers after making a recipe is never a problem, and always gets the juices flowing of how to use them!

I stumbled upon this blog via Pinterest (surprise, surprise), and have fallen in love with Andie's blog. Her recipes are simple, accessible, and perfectly delicious. I think we must have the same taste palete - I couldn't stop pinning her recipes as I scrolled through them. I can't wait to try them! Also, she has a really interesting weight loss story - lost 135 pounds, and she looks fantastic! She also happens to be the Social Media Manager for Foodista.com. You can find her awesome weight loss story here.

Anyway, this recipe is a keeper. I can't wait to make it again! I was a little nervous about the whole "boiling the chicken" thing - how gross. But I'm telling you now: do it. Boil that chicken, baby. It will be moist, and worth it in these little pocket lovers. I couldn't believe how tasty these were, considering how simple the ingredients are. They are so so so so good! Make them, and I promise you'll love them. You can thank me later.

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"Chicken Parmesan Wraps
makes 6

8 oz raw chicken breast
1 cup marinara sauce, plus more for serving
6 egg roll wrappers (each 7 inches squared)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Place the chicken breast in a small pot and fill with enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil on your stove top, reduce the heat slightly, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and let cool before shredding with two forks, pulling against the grain of the meat. Mix the meat with the marinara sauce in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the egg roll wrappers on a clean work surface. Layer each with a few leaves of spinach, then chicken, followed by mozzarella and parmesan.

Lightly brush two adjacent sides of the wrapper with water and fold the upper left corner downward, covering the filling, and press to seal on the bottom right corner. Press to seal each of the sides. Repeat with remaining wraps.

Place all 6 filled wraps on a greased wire rack set over a cookie sheet, coat each in cooking spray or a light brushing of olive oil, and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a golden brown.
Serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping."

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Recipe and Pic Source: canyoustayfordinner.com

1.29.2012

Breakfast Pizza

Sometimes I can be pretty dense in the kitchen. I skim a recipe, remember most of it, and call it good. As you might guess, this can lead to disaster, especially when little recipe details could have saved you A LOAD OF CLEAN UP TIME.

When I rolled out my dough, I forgot to lift up the edges of the pizza (I usually leave the outer edge of the pizza down pretty flat, I love the thin-crust). So... with this recipe, after you scatter the sausage, potato pieces, and cheddar cheese, you pour the eggs/milk mixture over the pizza. Without the edges flattened down to create a barrier, the egg/milk mixture runs right off the pizza, and onto the bottom of your NON-self cleaning oven. (My pizza pan has little holes in the bottom.... ) Egg + oven floor = burnt, black, borderline inferno. It smelled like death.

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow? *sigh*

Nonetheless, Ryan and I really liked the pizza itself. I'm a sausage-lover, and can't get enough of it! I think next time I'll add more egg, maybe add some chopped spinach and tomato for color, and... oh yes.... make a crust barrier to keep those darned slippery eggs in their place once and for all.

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Breakfast Pizza
(with my commentary)

"1 (8-ounce) can reduced-fat refrigerated crescent dinner roll dough (I used regular pizza dough, I think I would have liked it better with the crunchy crescent dough)
Cooking spray 
12 ounces turkey breakfast sausage (I used ground sausage, maple)
1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed (I just diced up a couple baked potatoes we had)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fat-free cheddar cheese 
1/4 cup fat-free milk 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon black pepper 
1 (8-ounce) carton egg substitute  (Not a fan at all of egg substitute, eggs were on sale this week, so we used large eggs (about 5 of them made 8 ounces worth).
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 375°
Separate dough into triangles. Press triangles together to form a single round crust on a 12-inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim. (just in case you already forgot my rant)
Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain.
Top prepared dough with sausage, potatoes, and cheese. Combine milk, salt, pepper, and egg substitute, stirring with a whisk. Carefully pour milk mixture over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until crust is browned."

Recipe and Pic source: myrecipes.com
Found here on Pinterest.

1.28.2012

Chocolate-Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

{Pic Source}
Last night, Ryan got home from his internship a little late. We ate dinner (soup and grilled cheese), then his nose went straight into his law review editing. Yay Friday, right? It happens. Our little guy was already asleep, so instead of waiting until the typical Sunday night to make up some cookies, I headed into the kitchen to keep myself busy.

I'm in love with the chocolate-orange combo flavor. It tastes like Christmas, to me. Ever since I pinned this recipe to my Pinterest board,  I couldn't wait to do something with the pile of oranges I have. I just needed some chocolate chips.... waiting until grocery day (Friday) drove me crazy - I wanted to make them asap! But, these cookies were well worth the wait, and the chocolate-orange flavor came through perfectly....
 
... that is, when they're not burnt....

I've honestly never done this before (really!!), but I completely destroyed about a dozen cookies on a sheet. I was switching back and forth between The Return of the King and House while waiting for each batch to cook. Aaaannnnd I got a little distracted with the final drama of the LOTR series that I forgot to set the timer... I've never burned a batch before. It was kind of dramatic. They were completely black on bottom, so I threw them away. I might have moped around for a bit - not only because they were burned, but because there went about a dozen cookies right in the garbage. Lame. This morning I woke up without a memory of my little episode last night.... until I walked into the smell of burnt cookies in the kitchen. sigh.

The cookies that came out unscathed were delicious - I think I'll make these again this year, but sometime around Christmas. Loved 'em, mucho, mucho, mucho.

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"Chocoate-Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Ingredients :
zest of 1 large orange
1 1/3 cups sugar, used separately
2/3 cup butter, softened (I used that fake "Cant Believe It's Not Butter" stuff again. cheaper)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 pkg. (10 oz.) dark chocolate morsels (I knew Ryan would be eating these cookies, So I used milk chocolate chips instead)

Instructions :
1. Zest orange; use 1 teaspoon of the orange zest and combine it with 1/3 cup of sugar and set aside. 
2. Cream together 1 cup sugar, butter, and the remainder of the orange zest. 
3. Add the egg and mix well. 
4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 
5. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 
6. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
7. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and then roll each ball in the orange-sugar mixture.  
8. Place balls of dough about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet; use the bottom of a glass to flatten the balls to about 1/2 inch thickness 
9. Bake in a 350°F oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until set; cool slightly and then remove from cookie sheet."
Recipe Source: Dulcedough.com

1.26.2012

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Yum. Very yum. Quadruple yum here.

Pinterest strikes again. We had these today for dinner today and MAN, they're beyond tasty. Next time we make them I think we'll double it and go lettuce wrap crazy. They were that good.

Usually I try to stick to simple ingredients, but when you're cooking up some Chinese/Japanese goodness, you've gotta splurge at least once on a few ingredients: sesame oil and rice vinegar. These made the difference in the overall taste of the wraps. Whenever I look over Chinese/Japanese recipes, I often find these two listed in the ingredients. Might as well buy them once, and use them for 20+ nights of yummy Asian-inspired dinners, eh?

The other ingredients aren't too out-of-the-way (except for the cashews, maybe). I added rice to give the wraps a little more filling - or to just eat on the side with some soy sauce drizzled.

Also, this is the first time I've purchased, and used fresh ginger root. When I peeled the outside layers away, the smell was incredible. I thought maybe it would taste good.... I took a little taste and BAM, kinda strong and spicy. Yikes. Won't do that one again. I still have a ton of ginger root left, and I'm trying to figure out what I should do with it. I'm going to have to hit up some blogs and find some ideas. 

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Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

"Ingredients
    For stir fry sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (I added 2 tablespoons, I'm a brown sugar addict)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil 
    For Cashew Chicken:
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb. total), diced
  • 8 leaves of greenleaf or iceburg lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 cup onion, diced (I had a pretty big onion, so I only used about half - it was plenty)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped (I used about 3/4 cup chopped cashews, definitely worth it)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients for the stir fry sauce making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in pan over medium to medium high heat. Add diced chicken and brown (about 4-5 minutes). Remove chicken from oil. Add onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon soy sauce to pan; brown. When onions and garlic are brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken, and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat.  
  3. Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves. Add your favorite hot sauce, more cashews or basil. "
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Recipe and Pic source: shewearsmanyhats.com

1.24.2012

One of My Kitchen Lovers

Cusinart Mini-Prep Plus 4-Cup Food Processor
Yes. I'm blogging about a food processor.... if that doesn't clue you in on how exciting things are around here today...

I'm kind of obsessed with this thing. We received it almost 5 years ago as a wedding gift, and I've been in love with it ever since. I mean, who doesn't love a teeny little chopper? Whenever I need to chop something up quick, or puree something up for my little manchild, this is my go-to, and it never fails. Dishwasher safe, easy to clean, blade as sharp as ever after all these years, this thing can dance the dance, my friends.

I knew when I wanted to make baby food at home, from fresh veggies/fruits/meats, that I'd need something to puree the heck outta the ingredients. I'd seen the whole "baby bullet" thing on TV, and was convinced I needed one of them, or a new blender - glad I didn't go that route. This little baby does all that same work for me, thank heavens. Making salsa takes minutes. MINUTES, people. Pureeing up a sauce or soup takes seconds, SECONDS, people. Chop up some chicken? MILLISECONDS, I say! Well, not milliseconds, but you get my point.

I couldn't do the crazy things I do in the kitchen everyday without this thing. At the risk of being cliche at this point, I just wanted to say  that "I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

1.23.2012

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad


I'm a huge fan of pasta salads. Whenever there's a picnic or potluck, I usually fill up on the pasta first. I just love to have bits and pieces of veggies, fruits, and meats altogether in one dish. For lunch/dinner today, we had this delicious Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad.

My favorite part of this salad was the yummy bacon! I went a little crazy, and ended up cooking up the entire package, instead of the prescribed 8 strips. It was definitely worth it. If you knew my family, you'd know we are big bacon eaters. It's like candy to us - so addicting. Speaking of addicting, is it possible to eat just ONE cashew? I didn't realize how splendorous cashews are until today. I've been missing out.

This recipe is such a keeper! The flavors were true to the ingredients, without drastic alterations. I love this dish so much. I can't wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow. Plus, as I mentioned before, it's a meal with a fruit, veggie, grain, and protein included - always a good thing, eh?

Once again, I found this recipe on Pinterest, and was pretty nervous to make it. Why? Gotta please the husband for dinner... I've suggested making a pasta salad for dinner every so often since we got married, and I get this funny/worried look in return. I'm glad I just went ahead and made it this time, without seeing what Ryan thinks. Well, ladies and gents, the hard-core-man-food-eater liked the "girly" pasta salad. I think it had something to do with the aforementioned bacon. And, he'll no longer laugh when I explain "grapes" as an ingredient. It adds great texture, and in his words "was lovely". I think he's been watching too much Food Network with me (not a bad thing, I say).

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Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
(with my commentary) 
  
1 cup chopped pecans (I used 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/2 cup cashews - I had them already for a recipe later this week, and didn't want to have to buy another package of pecans to make a cup)
1/2 (16-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta   
1 pound fresh broccoli  
1 cup mayonnaise (I only used a half cup)
1/3 cup sugar (I only used about 1/8 cup)
1/3 cup diced red onion 
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (skipped this one altogether, and it still tasted delicious)
1 teaspoon salt  
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved (I couldn't find red grapes in my local grocery store, so I used green grapes. I thought I'd be dissatisfied, but I really loved the bite it brought to the pasta salad)
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled (again, we overdosed, and will never go back)

     Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.

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Recipe source: myrecipes.com

1.22.2012

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi


Ryan and I have always, always, always loved going to Gloria's Little Italy in Provo. It's a little pricey, but when we get to go, we savor every moment - especially every bite of their mouth-watering gnocchi. Gloria makes them herself - and her husband Mauro runs the restaurant. If we're lucky, we have some of their heaven-sent gelato on our way out.

Once again, while browsing the hunger-inflicting pins on Pinterest, I found the idea of making some delicious gnocchi for dinner. I love using Pinterest to find new recipes to try each week. I've really enjoyed the blogs these recipes have lead me to. After searching though their websites and falling in love with their recipes, I'm hooked by the end.

This blog is pretty awesome. Russanne provides a simple and approachable recipe for home-made gnocchi. I tried it out this afternoon for our Sunday dinner, and will have to throw it into our recipe rotation. As tasty as the light garlic oil mixture I used for the sauce was, I think we'll try it with marinara or alfredo sauce. Heck, even mix the two. It lacked a bit of the creaminess I was craving, but the gnocchi itself was oh-so-tasty. 

Here's the ingredients to her recipe. I followed it exactly, without any alterations:
(the recipe is my commentary, without pictures, of course)

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Ricotta Gnocchi

"15 oz Low Fat Ricotta (Yum. I'm obsessed with Ricotta)
1 egg
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups flour"

Wisk all the ingredients together in a bowl - except for the flour. After everything is combined, add the flour until it forms a dough (again, the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid made these steps super-quick). Roll the dough out in little "snakes" and slice little gnocchi pieces off with a knife/kitchen scissors. Bring a pot of water to boil, then throw your little gnocchi pieces in the water. Let it boil until the gnocchi floats to the top - wait about a minute or so, drain them out, add some sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and serve 'em up! 


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Recipe source: Russanne Kathleen

1.21.2012

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Last night I was on the phone with my Mom, she was baking up some yummy egg rolls. This reminded me of these delicious Southwestern Egg Rolls I made on New Years Eve. I found the recipe on a fantastic blog - it's a gold mine of wonderful recipe ideas, and the ingredients aren't so out-of-this-world that it's harder to throw the recipe together.

The egg roll wrappers can be found in the produce section. I remember the first time I was looking for them at the grocery store... couldn't find them anywhere! To me, the produce section seems like a strange place to eventually find these, but they're right there next to the wonton wrappers.

I think the next time I make this, I'll use less spinach or avoid it altogether (I already used half the recipe called for, and it was too much for my taste). Annie was right, eating this with salsa hits the spot perfectly. I love how crunchy the wonton wrappers become in the oven! It's delicious! But, I learned (from the leftovers) that the next day, the egg roll shells aren't as wonderfully crispy - so gobble them up the day you make them!

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Southwestern Egg Rolls
(with my commentary)

"2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used canned corn)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry  
(again, spinach isn't my thing...)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped

1.16.2012

Made-From-Scratch Ricotta Cheese Ravioli

Made-From-Scratch Cheese Ravioli

This afternoon I conquered the mighty mystery of homemade ravioli. Ruth (Ryan's Mom) gave me her pasta maker and ravioli molder a couple weeks ago. To say I was stoked out of my mind to receive them is a complete understatement. I love love love them. Thank you!

I wanted to skip the regular spaghetti and linguine setting on the pasta maker, and head straight to the ravioli beastie. After all, I already had a good shot at making those two pasta styles a couple years ago.

I started out with a simple filling this time, but can't wait to try making ravioli with meat next time. The recipe I used for the cheese filling (adapted from my Mom's lasagne-filler) is as follows:

2 cups ricotta cheese
2/3 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup Italian cheese mix

Put the cheese mixture in a "frosting" piping bag, with a circular tip. That way it would be much easier to dollop the mix inside the ravioli cups. Store the mixture in the fridge while you make your ravioli pasta "dough".

To make the pasta dough, I used THIS recipe (below). I also learned I need to make the dough MUCH thinner so it doesn't take forever to cook through - this will hopefully leave more room for filling than I had. I ended up with about a cup of leftover cheese filling. Next time, my friends, next time.

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"Yield: about 1 lb. of fresh pasta
 
Ingredients:

1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surfaces
1½ cups semolina flour (I couldn't find it at my local grocery store, so I just used regular flour instead)
½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water, plus more as needed

Directions:
Combine the flours and salt in a bowl or on a work surface, creating a well in the center (I just had my handy Kitchen Aid mixer plus the dough hook take care of business through these steps).  Crack the eggs into the well.  Using a mixer or by hand, slowly mix, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture a little bit at a time.  Once you have a dry, shaggy dough, mix in the olive oil and water and knead by hand until the dough is fairly smooth and homogenous.  Divide the dough into four portions and cover with a damp towel.  Let rest for 20 minutes.  At this point, proceed with thinning (Using Ruth's pasta maker!) and cutting as desired, depending on equipment available.

(This is where I used the ravioli mold. I laid the flattened dough on the ravioli molds, pressed down in the little cups, piped the filling into the molds, and then laid another layer of flattened pasta dough on top. Then, here's the money step: I pressed down while rolling the wooden rolling pin over the entire mold - so the molding cut through the individual squares (you can kind of see the zig-zag molding in the picture below. This was before I put on the top layer).

To cook, cook noodles in a large pot of boiling (salted) water for 3-5 minutes or until al dente. (I had to cook mine much much longer, they were pretty thick).  Drain well and serve immediately."

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I know I'm still a beginner, and my part-Italian Mother-in-law will probably disown me for all the hard-core pasta-making rules I've broken (shield your eyes!) But I'm glad I tried - and will most certainly be making this again sometime.

1.15.2012

Light Lemon Garlic Spaghetti with Toasted Pine Nuts

A surprisingly tasty and simple meal for two. I found this blog written by a line cook in Orange County, via Pinterest, and really love it (minus the whole "step-by-step pictures. It really drives me nuts. I know what pine nuts look like in a bowl, people). Nevertheless, there are a bunch of wonderful recipes on the blog I can't wait to try.

I must warn you, though, this apparently is a "chick-food recipe" according to Ryan. Perhaps if you serve this with a half cow or whole skewered pig it would better fly on a man's plate. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it the way it is: simple, tasty, and inexpensive (if you don't count the olive oil - when did it get so expensive?) In his defense, Ryan did say, by way of chick-food, it was really delicious and he would eat it again.

I loved how it didn't take any time at all to make - just about the same time it takes for your noodles to reach al dente. I most certainly will be making this one again. If with Ryan, maybe with some yummy grilled chicken on the side will be our common ground.

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Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

4 oz dry spaghetti
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tsp olive oil (Ryan suggested we try it with butter next time. I personally liked it as is with the olive oil.)
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon (I just used a Tablespoon of lemon juice)
2 tbsp pine nuts (I threw these in early with the garlic/olive oil mixture, so the pine nuts could get more of a toasty flavor from
5-6 basil leaves, chiffonaded (I splurged and bought $3 worth fresh basil leaves. Totally worth it.)

Heat olive oil and chopped up garlic into a small frying pan - let it cook over low until the garlic starts to brown on edges. (This is where I toasted the nuts in with the garlic oil). Immediately remove from heat and reserve.

While the garlic is in with the oil, boil up your spaghetti, and chiffonade some basil leaves. Take your parmesan cheese and toasty pine nuts and dump it into a large bowl with the garlic oil garlic chunks and all.

Squeeze in lemon juice. Throw in the spaghetti and toss until well combined. Plate, crack some black pepper on it, and enjoy!

1.13.2012

Chocolate Souffles Attempt #1


This was certainly an adventure. I have never made anything even close to a souffles before. It was slightly frustrating, and I definitely messed up a couple steps along the way, but I'm hopeful my next attempt (when eggs go on sale....) will be much, Much, MUCH, better. It didn't turn out at all, and I'm determined to Ace it next time.

Mistakes: First, I added the vanilla straight into the melted chocolate.... this just made a chocolate chunk. I later (after convincing myself to not jump off the roof) added a little oil to loosen it all up, and allow it to look more like a thick liquid. After checking the recipe, I realized I didn't add the butter into the chocolate - Mandy, read your recipe, dang it. 

Second, I didn't wait for my eggs to reach room temperature before whipping the crap out of them in my Kitchen Aid mixer. Again, I should have read the recipe more carefully. 
Third, I only have 4 little white ramekins, and it called for six. I decided to just pour the entire souffle mixture in my 1 quart white souffle dish. I didn't have enough to fill the entire dish. So, instead of just dumping it all in one dish, I think I might either cut the recipe down (souffles use SO many eggs, holy cow) I might try using my little four white ramekins and see if it works out better.

Fourth (yes, we're sadly on fourth), I will be more gentle when "folding in" the egg white mixture with the chocolate mixture. I think I mixed it too much, and the mixture lost a lot of fluffiness - My theory is that when I deflated the mixture, it took away any prayer of the souffles rising. So it just rose only about an inch above the pan... not very much at all according to souffles standards.

Successes:  First, it didn't deflate. Yay. That was one of my biggest worries. I've heard they're a little touchy, and I made an extra-careful effort to not open the oven, shake the pan, etc.

Secondly, it actually tasted really really good! It was light and fluffy, and one small serving was richly satisfying (Ryan learned this the hard way.... he kind of went crazy and ate waaaay too much.... it's too rich to eat more than a bit - maybe that's why the individual ramekins are suggested in this recipe).

Thirdly, it didn't stick to the pan. I know this is a stretch for a "positive", but I'm desperate.

Fourthly, nobody died before, during, or after making the souffles. Always a good thing.

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Recipe from foodnetwork.com: 

"Ingredients:
  • 7 ounces finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus for preparing the molds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar for garnish

Directions:

Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer. (This can be done a day ahead.)

Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer or large bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture. (Rinse the bowl well, if using for beating the egg whites.)
Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.

Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)
Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately."

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I knew this would be a challenge for me, and I'm glad I recognized where I must have gone wrong in the process. I can't wait to give it another try. If you've made a successful dessert souffle before, any suggestions would most definitely be appreciated... I'll make sure to follow up with my second attempt when it happens.

1.12.2012

Wild Rice Chicken Soup

{Source}
Each week during winter we have a homemade soup. Normally, I'm not a fan of wild rice, but I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it would do well for Sunday (plus leftovers on Monday). The recipe was pretty simple and inexpensive. However, chicken breasts were up there this past week, so we bought chicken drumsticks instead.

Instead of adding in the chicken breasts when the recipe suggests, I pre-cooked the 6 chicken drumsticks (skins removed) in my small crock pot overnight with my own  little mixture:

1 onion, sliced - laid along the bottom
2 cups herb chicken stock
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp cubed butter
salt
pepper

Then before church (9am, oh yeah), I removed and discarded the bones from the drumsticks (the meat practically fell off the bones at that point, very easy), and added the chicken pieces to the regular recipe in my big crock pot (minus the celery). I think it worked out better that way.

"Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (again, I used 6 drumsticks instead)
1 package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter (I used that fake "can't believe it's not butter" cube)
2 cups half and half (I used 1 cup fat-free half and half, and one cup whole Ryan's whole milk)
1 cup grated carrots (I just sliced baby carrots in half and threw them in)
1 cup diced celery (I always find myself picking the celery out of soup, so I didn't add it at all)

Directions:


Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks and then add back into slow cooker. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on low for 15 more minutes. "

We at this with crunchy bread (multi grain bread lightly brushed with olive oil, broiled until darkened). 

Ryan loved this. He made me promise I'd make it for his birthday with some kind of fish (yuck). So I have until November to learn how to make salmon....