Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I'm a little embarrassed to show pictures of this cake.  However, we do say that we are sharing our "disasters and delights," so I will.  This cake turned into a little of a mixture of a disaster and delight.  It tasted awesome, it just looked pretty rough.

I used vanilla yogurt instead of oil in the cake and baked it according to the package directions. 

For the icing I combined a few recipes I found.  It looks lumpy because I used fat free cream cheese... if you can get past the texture of the lumps (that are IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of) it ended up tasting pretty good.

Icing ingredients:
  • 8oz Cream Cheese (don't use fat free)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla yogurt
I just mixed it all together, then refrigerated it.

Even though the icing was lumpy, it was very tasty.  I think I'll make it again with Neufchatel cheese instead and see how that works.

E:  7 (I tried everything to get the lumps out, I even heated the mixture.)
A:  8
T:  8

HH: 9  (He loved the taste.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

Here's the recipe I used for
Chicken Cacciatore

This plate was beautiful. It looks like Fall or Autumn had come to dinner. This was my first time to make Chicken Cacciatore and I'm glad I did. When I say the name, it reminds me of my college roommate, Tori.

I intentionally left the ingredient list just as I would find it in Australia. I've put more use to my calculator than I did in Algebra class.

350g dried macaroni pasta
1 tbs olive oil
650g chicken breast pieces, cut into bite-size pieces
1 celery stick, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted red capsicum (red bell pepper)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/3 cup white wine
400g bottle of Barilla Olive Pasta Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh continental parsley
1/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan
20 g butter

Who else is ready for the seasons to change?

E: 8
A: 7 - scavenger hunt for the roasted red capsicum
T: 9 - quick, easy, healthy dinner for the win
HH: 9

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chicken Dressing and Sweet Potato Fries

This meal was very delicious.  I was originally planning to make chicken tenders, but as I was making it I decided to pile them together into a baking dish and it turned out more like dressing.  I love dressing, so I was excited.

Chicken Dressing:
  • Chicken tenders
  • Triscuit Crackers (about half a box)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Milk
  • Dash of Olive Oil
  • Itailian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
       Preheat oven to 375.  Mix milk, olive oil, Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Crumble Triscuits (I use a food processor), then mix Triscuits and Parmesan in another bowl.  Dip the chicken in the liquid mixture, then the dry mixture and cover well.  Then place the chicken in a baking dish, stacking on top of each other.  Pour the remaining dry and liquid mixtures on top.  Cover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Here's what it looks like in the pan:

Sweet Potato Fries:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper

     Preheat oven to 450.  Peel and chop potatoes into 1/4 inch thickness.  Toss potatoes in olive oil and seasoning then pour out on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 15 minutes.  Next time I probably won't use the Italian Seasoning, I didn't really love the flavor it added.  Overall it was a great meal though!

E:  8
A:  7
T:  7

HH: 9

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Making Mozzarella

Doesn't that look delicious?!  Trust me, it was.  This post is about all the wonderful food from Cousin Camp.  Yes, as the title says, we made mozzarella!  We'll start with that.  Here's a play by play in pictures:

You start by heating milk.  (We used 2%)

So, these are not the technical directions, Lisa brought a kit that had the recipe.  If you want to make it, I suggest that the first time.

Lisa, the magic maker, and mom, the credit taker

Look at the curds and whey forming!  (Little Miss Muffet would be so proud.)

Curds are the thicker white stuff coming together (this equals cheese eventually).  Whey is the liquid.

I tasted the whey, just tastes like bland, warm milk.  I just wanted to know what it was from experience when my kids (no I'm not pregnant, this would be a horrible way to tell you that) ask me about what exactly Miss Muffet was eating.

We were all quite fascinated.

KR was a little scared to get close even.

Notice everyone is in their pajamas... this was a theme for the trip.


 Then you drain off the whey.

Add salt and kneed the curds.

Voila!  Homemade Mozzarella!

Don't you want some?!

Unfortunately, I don't think I have documentation of all the food we ate.  However, I must say we ate fresh, healthy foods, that tasted amazing.  Look how colorful this is:

This is a pretty simple recipe and very delicious.  It's basically grilled corn, tomatoes, basil, and lime juice.  You can add balsamic vinegar too.  Everyone else had mint in theirs, but I don't like it, so I had a special bowl without the mint.  :)

We had grilled chicken and then leftovers became chicken salad... it was awesome.

You can see a few more things in this post about Cousin Camp... look for the boatnicking.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Poppy Seed Chicken

This is one of my favorite meals.  It's the first meal I made for Justin when we started dating.  I love to make it for others because I feel like it's a dish most everyone likes.  Mine is a little different than most, the recipe I used called for cream of chicken, but one time when I made it I only had cream of mushroom so I used that instead and like it better!  Here's the recipe:

  • Chicken, cooked and cut into pieces (I usually boil it in chicken broth)
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 2 teaspoons Poppy Seeds
  • One tube of Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter

     Preheat oven to 350.  Combine Chicken, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Sour Cream, and Poppy Seeds.  Mix well and pour into a 9" x 9" pan.  Melt Butter.  Crush crackers in a bowl.  Combine butter and crackers, then spread on top of the chicken mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes.  I usually serve it over rice.

Here's how it looked on my plate:

     It tastes better than it looks... maybe one day I'll learn how to make my food like it does in the magazines and take good pictures of it.  Let me know if you make it.  I hope you enjoy!

E:  9
A:  9
T:  9

HH:  9

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ravioli Bake

This ravioli dish made me reminiscence about the days of summer as a kid. Before we were old enough to get a job, my brother and I would enjoy the summer vacation immensely. He would memorize his baseball card collection and I would organize my closet. Fun, huh? We thought so. At lunch, Galan would "make a sandwich". He would grab a slice of turkey meat out of the refrigerator, eat it, grab a slice of cheese, eat it, grab a pickle, and eat it. Tasty lunch complete. My meal usually consisted of heating up a can of Chef Boyardee Raviolis. Galan hovered around and finished what I couldn't eat. I haven't visited Chef Boyardee in a very long time and I don't see a reunion happening in the near future.

This Ravioli Bake was so easy to make and I'm confident you can find similar ingredients at your local grocery store. In 30 minutes, we were enjoying Italian food!
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (we used Basil flavored)
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (I added a little parmesan cheese)
olive oil cooking spray
baby spinach leaves
2 packages of Beef Ravioli
Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. Add a thin layer of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the pan. Cook ravioli in a large saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain. Spread half the ravioli into the pan. Spread half the remaining sauce over the ravioli. Add the spinach leaves. Add the remainder of the ravioli, then cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and is melted. And just like that, dinner is ready!
E: 10
A: 9 - I couldn't give it a perfect 10, but it was close
T: 10
HH: 10