Saturday, November 29, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers-Mexican Turkey Soup and Spiced Pomegranate Sipper

This Barefoot Bloggers recipe was chosen by Judy over at Judy's Gross Eats. I was going to make this before Thanksgiving, but then I decided it would be a great way to use some of that leftover turkey, so I waited until today. I used the turkey stock we made after we carved the turkey, reduced the amount of olive oil, added a can of black beans, and topped it with Greek yogurt. This was a welcome change, after eating lots of Thanksgiving leftovers and was a perfect lunch for a cloudy day.
I also added on the recipe for the drink I made for Thanksgiving. It was different and we really liked it. The recipe included lots of different options of how to serve it and I went for the Fizzy variety. Yummy!

Mexican Chicken Soup from The Barefoot Contessa
4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (I used leftover cooked turkey)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade (I used homemade turkey stock)
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed (I used diced tomatoes, without draining)
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 3 (I used 1 Tbls) tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, beans, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Spiced Pomegranate Sipper from Southern Living
1 (2 1/2-inch-long) cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
5 thin fresh ginger slices
2 (16-oz.) bottles refrigerated 100% pomegranate juice
4 cups white grape juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
Garnishes: pineapple chunks, orange rind curls
1. Cook cinnamon stick, cloves, and ginger in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until cinnamon is fragrant.
2. Gradually stir in juices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a heat-proof pitcher; discard solids. Serve warm. Garnish, if desired.
Tipsy Hot Spiced Pomegranate Sipper: Prepare recipe as directed. Stir in 1 1/4 cups almond liqueur just before serving. Makes 9 1/4 cups.
Cold Spiced Pomegranate Sipper: Prepare recipe as directed. Let stand 30 minutes. Cover and chill 2 hours. Store in refrigerator up to 2 days. Stir and serve over ice. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 25 min., Stand: 30 min., Chill: 2 hr.
Fizzy Spiced Pomegranate Sipper: Prepare Cold Spiced Pomegranate Sipper as directed. Stir in 1 (33.8-oz.) bottle ginger ale just before serving. Makes 16 cups.

Coming on Monday- Butternut Squash Salad and Liz's Pasta Salad

Thursday, November 27, 2008

TWD- Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!
This may not be the prettiest result of making a TWD recipe, but it is a delicious one. Vibi from La Casserole Carree did all of us Americans a favor this week by choosing Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. Go to her blog for the recipe. I made this yesterday and decided that I would make it without the crust in little individual dishes. I got the idea from Prudy- honestly, I get so many ideas from her and luckily she made it back from her trip just in time for me to see that she made this recipe crustless.
I decided since we are going to have many pies on Thanksgiving, I would make one that would enable us to enjoy them all, without the extra calories in the crust. The pumpkin and pecan parts are the yummiest anyway.
Dorie is a genius. I have always thought that Pecan Pie is a little too sweet, and I love Pumpkin, so this is basically a pumpkin custard with a nice crusty topping of pecans. Then the pecan filling somehow transports to the bottom of the pumpkin and makes a thin, super yummy, cinnamony layer. Divine! Of course, I just took a few bites of one- when it was still warm, but now they are in the fridge (I prefer my pumpkin pie cold) and tomorrow (but today to you) we will enjoy them with some whipped cream. Go to the TWD Blogroll to see all the other Twofer's~!

Coming this weekend- Barefoot Bloggers- Mexican Turkey Soup

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and Nutella Cookies with Nutella Buttercream

I recently reconnected with a friend from high school. We both live in the same area, have kids the same ages, and love to bake. It was like we had never been apart. She invited us over for a playdate and we thought it would be fun to bake a little something. I had been wanting to try these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies since I saw them last year in Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine. We decided it was the perfect time of year and whipped them up. Our 2-year olds were helping dump in ingredients and the end result was quite popular! It was really fun, to talk and bake, in the kitchen with a friend.
I also had some leftover Nutella Buttercream
from some Nutella cupcakes and it needed to be used, so I whipped up these super simple Nutella cookies and filled them with the leftover frosting. Super yummy cookies, if you need a sweet treat!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies From Every Day with Rachael RayOctober 2007
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
3. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Double Nutella Cookies
1 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 extra-large egg
1 cup self-rising cake flour, plus additional for dusting (see note below)
1.Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix 1/2 cup Nutella and the egg with an electric mixer until well combined. Slowly add 1 cup of flour until a wet dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a flour-dusted board.
3. Knead gently, adding a bit more flour if necessary; dough will be sticky. Roll dough into 18 balls, flouring your hands as needed to make rolling easier. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, several inches apart.
4. Bake 12 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Split cookies in half horizontally using a sharp, serrated knife . Spread bottom with 1 teaspoon Nutella, replace top and press firmly. Let cool completely. Store in a tightly covered tin.
note- I didn't have self-rising cake flour, so I mixed 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt with regular cake flour before adding it.

Coming Tomorrow- TWD-Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

Monday, November 24, 2008

Craving Ellie in my Belly- Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

This week's Craving Ellie recipe was chosen by Beth over at Supplicious. It seems like I have made homemade mac and cheese quite a few times this year, which is fine with me and my family. Ellie's trick to make this healthy is adding pureed winter squash to the cheese sauce, while eliminating the roux that usually starts out the cheese sauce. I had a half of a butternut squash leftover, so I just roasted and pureed that, instead of buying frozen winter squash. I also used whole wheat pasta because I always do and I used whatever cheeses I had in the fridge, so I grated fresh aged asiago in with the bread crumbs. This was pretty tasty and a crowd pleaser too. I like how there is squash added for better nutrition, but I think my fave mac and cheese is the one I adapted for Barefoot Bloggers- Grown up Mac and Cheese with Turkey Bacon and Broccoli. Enjoy!

Macaroni and Four Cheeses from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
cooking spray
1-16 oz box elbow macaroni ( I used 1-13.25 oz box whole wheat rotini)
2 10-oz pkgs frozen pureed winter squash (I used 1 half of a butternut squash, roasted and pureed)
2 cups lowfat milk
1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbls plain bread crumbs
2 Tbls freshly grated Parmesan (I used aged Asiago)
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook the macaroni according to pkg directions. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk in a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar, Jack cheese, ricotta, salt, mustard, and cayenne. Pour this mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine.
Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake until the cheeses are bubbling aroudn the edges, about 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.
Coming Wednesday Morning- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and Nutella Cookies with Nutella Buttercream

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cookie Carnival- The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This month's Cookie Carnival choice, was a classic and a favorite of my husbands- Chocolate Chip Cookies. My husband prefers Pillsbury ready to bake cookies, but I have been on a mission to try and satisfy his love of these cookies with a homemade recipe. This hasn't been a real quest, where I am baking a different cookie recipe every day, but rather, every once and awhile I try a chocolate chip cookie recipe to see if he likes it. So far, I haven't had too much luck. He likes what he likes!
But, these did go over well. They were soft and chewy and quite simple. The kids loved them, but my hubby prefers milk chocolate chips, so I think next time I will sub those. These are good, if you are in the mood for a cookie and milk!

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies from In The Sweet Kitchen by
Regan Daley
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
3 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
16 oz. flavorful bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
3. Using your hands, shape knobs of dough about the size of a large walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Stagger the rows of cookies to ensure even baking. Bake 12-15 for smaller cookies, 14-17 for larger ones or until the tops are a light golden brown. If the cookies are neither firm nor dark when they are removed from the oven, they will cool chewy and soft. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If somehow they don't get inhaled immediately, they may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to one week.

Coming Next- Craving Ellie in my Belly- Macaroni and Four Cheeses

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Cake Slice- Sweet Potato Cake

This month's Cake Slice cake was Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Cream Frosting and Orange Cream Filling. It is the second cake that we have baked from Sky High . My baby is turning 2 on Thanksgiving, but I wanted to have a small party that wasn't on that day, so I am a couple days late posting this cake. I thought since I needed to make a cake anyway, I would just wait until her party to make this beautiful cake.
This cake is delish! I made it in jelly roll pans and then made a 5x5-inch square cake for the birthday girl, but made it 4 layers. The rest I cut into butterfly and flower shapes with cookie cutters. I left the sides unfrosted on the little cut-outs and they were pretty cute. The orange filling was a little bit runny and that is why the recipe said to pipe an outline of the chocolate frosting on the layers.
Overall, I was really pleased with this cake-we have only eaten the scraps (the party is later today), but my little girl had a few bites at breakfast and she was pretty happy. I am thinking this will taste really good with some pumpkin spice ice cream! Go see all the other beautiful cakes by checking out the Cake Slice Bakers!

Sweet Potato Cake:
2 medium or 1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
3 cups of cake flour**
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves (I used allspice)
5 eggs, separated
2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups of milk
(**The recipe calls for cake flour and if you only have all-purpose flour on hand, you can substitute 3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch.)
(*If fresh sweet potato is not available where you live you may use canned sweet potato, yams, and pumpkin puree)
Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake, serves 16-20 people
1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes in 2-3 places, place on a small baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms and the sides of the pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper also.
3. When the sweet potatoes are cool peel off the skin and remove any dark spots. Cut the potatoes into chunks and puree in a food processors. Puree until smooth. Measure out one cup of potato puree and set aside.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of electric mixer add the egg whites and attach whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until egg whites are frothy. raise the speed to high and gradually beat in 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are moderately stiff.
6. In another large bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the sweet potato, butter, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg yolk is added. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk in alternately in 2-3 additions. making sure to begin and end with the dry ingredients.
7. With a large spatula, fold in one fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Then fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Making sure to not over mix or this will deflate the batter. Divide the batter among of the three pans.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out the cake layers onto a wire rack and cool completely at least 1 hour.
9. To assemble the cake, place one layer flat side up on to a cake stand. With a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and filled with chocolate cream cheese icing, pipe border around the edge of the cake. Fill the center with the orange cream filling smoothing it to the edge of the border. Place the second layer on top and repeat the process. Place the third layer on top and use all the chocolate cream cheese frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
Chocolate Cream Frosting:
makes 3 cups
10 ounces cream cheese*** at room temperature
1 stick of butter at room temperature
16 ounces of powdered sugar; sifted
1 and 1/2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate melted and slightly cooled (I used bittersweet baking chocolate)
(***1 cup of cream cheese maybe substituted with 1 cup pureed cottage cheese OR 1 cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth OR equal amounts of neufatel cheese)
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar to cream cheese butter mixture. Making sure to scrape down the sides the sides of the bowl. Then beat until light fluffy 2-3 minutes.
2. Measure out 1 cup of frosting and set aside.
3. Add the melted chocolate to the remaining icing in the bowl and beat until well combined.
Orange Cream Filling:
1 cup of reserved cream cheese icing from above
2 tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 teaspoon of orange extract
1. Stir together all the ingredients until well mixed.

Up Next- Cookie Carnival- Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, November 21, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers Bonus-Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake and Chive Risotto Cakes + TWD Rice Pudding Redo

There are alot of pictures going on here today. But both of these cakes were so delicious that the pictures are necessary. The mere mention of the word cake in both these Barefoot Blogger Bonus recipes, is what made up my mind when I was deciding if I was going to make them. I love making cake, so there you go.
Deb, who you can find at Kahakai Kitchen picked the Chive Risotto Cakes and Lisa of Lime In The Coconut, chose the Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake. The risotto cakes were divine. I mixed the ingredients together the night before and had no trouble with them staying together. I used non-fat Greek yogurt since it is always in my fridge and didn't want the rest of the rice in the bag to just sit there, so I made TWD rice pudding again, to try and get the right consistency.
I loved these risotto cakes- they were just perfect. The cheese melted (I used mozzarella, since there was no fontina to be found) and the chives and seasonings were delicious. This might be my favorite BB recipe ever.
The orange cakes I made in my mini-mini bundt cake pan. It has 12 little mini bundts per pan and I got 16 with this recipe. I used mini chocolate chips instead of chunks, omitted the coffee in the ganache, and these smelled so good. The combination of the orange syrup and ganache just really put these over the top! Plus, the servings were smaller, so we enjoyed one, without feeling too much guilt. Go see who else made these fab Bonus recipes by checking the BB Blogroll.

Now the wierd thing- after making rice pudding for the first time the other day and it turning out a little soupy- I woke up craving it the next day. And I wanted to see if I could get the consistency right. I was using Arborio rice for the chive cakes anyway, so I used the rest of the bag on the rice pudding. I changed a few things and it turned out perfectly! It was so good. I kept the pudding bubbling at close to medium, and it thickened up nicely overnight in the fridge. I made half chocolate (so good), but melted the chocolate before stirring it in, and half vanilla. I am going to write up my recipe below. I wasn't the only one who was thankful for the redo- my family was happy too!

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake from the Barefoot Contessa
For the cakes:
1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/8 cup grated orange zest (2 large oranges)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces buttermilk, at room temperature (I used reduced fat)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup good semisweet chocolate chunks (I used mini chips)
For the syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
For the ganache:
4 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules (I omitted this)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 6 individual serving baking molds, such as the flexible non stick 100 percent silicone molds. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest.
Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pans, put them on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cakes.
Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
Drizzle over the top of the cakes.
Chive Risotto Cakes from The Barefoot Contessa
Kosher salt
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
½ cup Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
2 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 ½ cup cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (5 ounces) ( I used mozzarella)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Good olive oil
Bring a large (4 quart) pot of water to a boil and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft.
Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, Fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl.
Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 1/4 –inch) ice cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Place 4-6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned.
Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Serve hot.
Revamped Rice Pudding adapted from Dorie Greenspan
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup Arborio rice
6 cups whole milk
1/3 + 1/6 cup sugar
1 Tbls pure vanilla extract
3 Tbls bittersweet chocolate
Bring rice and 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain rice, but do not rinse.
Bring milk and sugar to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium or medium high heat, and stir to dissolve sugar. Add rice and cook for 55 minutes over medium or medium-low heat. Make sure that the pudding keeps bubbling a little while cooking. Stir frequently. The rice should thicken a bit. Divide the pudding in half. Melt chocolate in the microwave and stir into half the rice, until smooth. Stir the vanilla extract into the other half of pudding.
Place in bowls or small dishes and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down onto the pudding, so a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate overnight.

Come back tomorrow for The Cake Slice- Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Cream Frosting and Orange Cream Filling

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Craving Ellie in my Belly- Oven Fried Chicken

Today is a busy posting day. I've got Craving Ellie, Barefoot Bloggers, and The Cake Slice. I didn't want to smoosh it all into one post, so I am taking it a day at a time. Ellie today, Barefoot Bonus tomorrow, and The Cake Slice on Saturday- I am using that cake for my baby's birthday this weekend (her birthday is on Thanksgiving, but I don't know if a can do birthday and major holiday all in one?)
This week's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was Oven Fried Chicken, chosen by MacDuff over at Lonely Sidecar. I was supposed to use bone-in chicken breasts and thighs without skin, but I decided on boneless, skinless breasts because I knew they would bake up faster and because I couldn't find any breasts that were skinless but bone-in. I left out the cayenne pepper alltogether because a few people mentioned it added too much of a kick, and I do want my children to be able to eat their dinner. So I only had to bake these for about 30 minutes and they were done. I plated them with some fresh thyme because it is so pretty when it flowers and I love the smell. Don't be misleaded though, there is absolutely no thyme in this recipe! We loved this chicken- I will make it in the future!
I borrowed the book we are cooking through, The Food You Crave, this summer from my local library and chose the 4 most delicious looking recipes and made them before I returned the book. Here are my top picks and the posts from this book at first glance-Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing, Peach French Toast Bake, Fried Rice with Scallions, Edamame and Tofu, and Watermelon, Lime and Mint Granita. Get a copy of this book, you won't regret it!

OVEN FRIED CHICKEN, from Ellie Krieger's "The Foods You Crave"
1/2 sleeve (about 20) whole-grain salted crackers, pulsed in a food processor until fine (about 1/2 cup)
2 1/2 cups corn cereal flakes, pulsed in a food processor to fine crumbs (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 egg whites (I used 1 egg)
1 cup lowfat, plain yogurt (I used fat free)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil cooking spray
4 medium sized skinless chicken breasts and 4 skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry (about 3 1/2 pounds chicken)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Combine the crackers and corn cereal crumbs, sesame seeds, cayenne, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Reserve. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat thoroughly with the yogurt mixture.
One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the cracker mixture, packing crumbs onto chicken. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife.

Coming Tomorrow- Barefoot Bloggers Bonus- Chive Risotto Cakes and Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes + TWD Rice Pudding redo!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mini Calzones and Italian Roasted Green Beans & Yellow Squash

I am assuming that everyone's family loves pizza as much as my family does. It is the one thing my kids are always asking for! I had quite a bit of leftover spinach-ricotta mixture from last weeks Portobello Roll-ups, since I halved the recipe, so I decided that calzones were in our future. Everything mini is easier for kids, so I made 6 mini calzones and 2 large ones. I used 24 oz. of pizza dough to get that many. So if you just use a lb of dough, you might have some leftover filling ingredients.
I cooked up a little bit of turkey sausage, added a bell pepper and onion, and of course Italian seasoning. I also added turkey pepperoni and we dipped ours in pizza sauce. On the side I roasted some veggies, tossed in Italian seasoning again. I have one of those grinders, so I never measure my Italian seasoning, I just churn it on, until it looks like enough. You could really sub any veggies here, this is just what I had. Enjoy- we sure did!

Mini Calzones by Mary Ann
1 lb. pizza dough (your favorite recipe or refrigerated pizza dough)
pizza sauce (your favorite or try out mine-here, also a great dough recipe)
2 links sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (about 8-9 oz)
1 orange (or green) bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
turkey pepperoni
1 15-oz container skim milk ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 10-oz pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Italian seasoning
shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In an electric skillet, season the sausage, bell pepper, and onion, with Italian seasoning, and saute until sausage is cooked through and veggies are tender. Set aside.
Combine the ricotta cheese, egg,thawed spinach, and season with Italian seasoning. Set aside.
Roll out your pizza dough and cut it into squares. (I made 6)
Spread about 1 Tbls of pizza sauce on one half of your dough square, leaving room around the edges. Spread 1 Tbls or so of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the pizza sauce. Place 1 piece of turkey pepperoni on top of the ricotta mixture. Next pile some of the sausage, pepper, onion, mixture on top of the pepperoni. Sprinkle with cheese and close the calzone by bringing one half of the dough, up and over, and sealing the sides, by crimping the dough together.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients.
You can also make this into larger calzones, just cut the dough into larger pieces and put more of the fillings inside. Also bake time would increase. Little ones are easier for the kids.
Place the calzones on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 13-16 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve with warmed pizza sauce, for dipping, if desired.
Italian Roasted Green Beans and Yellow Squash by Mary Ann
1 lb. fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1 medium yellow squash, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
Italian seasoning
1 Tbls olive oil
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the sheet with cooking spray. Combine green beans and squash on the foil and season liberally with Italian Seasoning. Drizzle with 1 Tbls of olive oil and mix with your hands. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until veggies are tender.
Tomorrow- Craving Ellie in my Belly- Oven Fried Chicken