Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recipe that warrents a party!

I rarely make something in the kitchen and then say, " I need to have a party just to serve THESE!"
But, I said it today.

Who wouldn't want a party with these beauties.

I found the recipe, sort of, on Pinterest. I kept clicking on the picture, but no recipe came up. I researched further with google and found that it was as easy as to speak.

What do ya need?
White Cake Mix
Neon Gel Food Coloring
Some sort of white frosting
Rainbow Sprinkles

I made the cake as directed. Then I separated the batter into 5 small dishes. The Neon allowed me to make pink, orange, green and purple. I had to use a blue from my other gel food coloring pack in the pantry. I used liners that were a little different so I could see how each would react. 6 were a wilton white liner, and the other four were regular liners. Yes, the recipe only made 10.
I placed a little less than 1 T of each color directly on top of each other in this order:

They turned out lovely. Actually the smaller liners worked better, just be careful not to overfill.
I did frost them with just a plain vanilla frosting (Pastry Pride) which I whipped up after they cooled, and then sprinkled them with rainbow sprinkles.
I was in a hurry so I packed them up in a shoe box and hauled them to a basketball game at my kids High School. I gave several out to the delight of many high schooler. My friends son, who just finished playing and was famished, said they were the best cupcakes he had ever's amazing what a little pizzazz can do to a plain white cake mix!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And....we're off...busy night meals

If you are married, with kids, with a life, you know how some days just get away from you and before you know it you're standing in front of the fridge with the door open at 5:00pm saying, "Why didn't I do this earlier?"
So what's your standby dinner.
Sometimes I go Mexi-German and have Chili Smothered baked Potatoes. It's crazy easy and I can actually get something done while those potatoes are baking for an hour in the oven.

Simple Chili:
1 lb. ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic minced
2 T. Chili Powder
2 t. salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to your liking

Dice onion and mince garlic. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and saute for 1 min. Add beef and cook until no longer pink, then drain the fat. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 10- 15 min.

Bake one clean russet potato for each person at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
Serve chili over split potatoes and add grated cheese.
Decent with a little fruit to go along with it all.
What's a go to dinner you make on busy nights?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Avacados on Bruschetta with Sardines! Yes, Sardines.

If you read an earlier post about my New Year's Resolution (don't like that word) you will know that I promised to eat better this coming year. I also am starting to see some very visible lines around the eyes and am hoping that this recipe will aid in better skin and heart health with it's high Omega 3 oils. If you are not a fan of fish...look away, and move along.
If you are curious, read on if you dare.
This is an Alton Brown inspired recipe. He calls it Sherried Sardine Toast. Too uninspired that name!!!
I will tell you that I thought I might get this down and then see it again, since I've never consumed a sardine.
Good news. It all played well with my tummy and actually had a very smooth, creamy texture and salty taste that wasn't overwhelming. All flavors melded together well.
So I dare you to try it!!!!

Sardine Avacado Bruschetta (makes 4)

  • 2 (3.75-ounce 2-layer) tins brisling sardines in olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, reserve the lemon and cut into 4 wedges
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (1/2-inch) thick slices crusty bread, such as sourdough, country loaf or rye
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • Coarse sea salt
    Drain the oil from 1 tin of sardines into a small bowl and set aside. Drain the oil from the other tin into another small bowl and whisk in 1 tablespoon of parsley, vinegar, lemon zest, and black pepper, to taste. Add the sardines, stir to combine and set aside for up to 1 hour.
    After 45 minutes, put a rack 3-inches from the broiler and heat the oven to the broiler setting on high. Brush each slice of bread on 1 side with the reserved oil. Put the bread, oil side up, onto a cooling rack set inside a half sheet pan and broil 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

    Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Smash the flesh in each half with a fork.
    Spread the avocado evenly onto the toasted bread. Top evenly with the sardines. Pour any remaining dressing on top and garnish with the remaining parsley.
    Season lightly with sea salt and serve with lemon wedges.

    Potato Pie...Oh My!!!

    With potatoes on my mind and pie dough in the freezer from a previous day, I set out to experiment with making a pie worthy of dinner but not too difficult time-wise. Voila! Sausage Potato Torte!
     The family went gaga because I taught them well that anytime you put a pie crust around dinner it's gonna rock. I served it with a simple salad. I could have used bacon like the original recipe , but didn't have any so go crazy if you prefer a different form of pig.

    Sausage Potato Torte : (adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker)

    2 pie crusts
    3 german sausage, fresh, casings removed and cooked until no longer pink
    3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
    Salt & freshly ground black pepper
    ¼ cup grated Swiss cheese
    2/3 cup heavy cream
    ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
    1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water

    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
    2. Roll out the 1st pie dough to fit a large, deep dish pie plate. I sliced the potatoes very thin.  Working in circles, arrange the potato slices in the pie crust to cover the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, crumble 1/3 of the sausage over the potatoes, and add a little cheese. Repeat the layers two more times. The pan should be nearly full. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
    3. Whisk the dried thyme into the cream and slowly pour the cream around and over the entire pie, allowing it to seep down between the potato slices.
    4. Roll out the remaining disk of refrigerated dough. Cover the pie with the dough and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top and edges of the crust with egg wash. Make a few slits in the center of the top crust, for the steam to escape, and put the pie pan on a baking sheet.
    5. Bake the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. If the crust edges get too brown, cover them with some strips of aluminum foil. Remove the pie from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.

    This German girl was happy with the results!!!

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Resolution Smesolution

    I'm with Calvin!!!
    Honestly, I don't make them because mine usually come from shallow motives like wanting to look good, so they never last. This year I want to be healthy. I gave up on skinny. I'm a type 1, juvenille diabetic and have been for the last 27 years. I'm a lazy diabetic, because I'm tired of counting carbs and even forget to take my insulin after meals. This will get me into trouble in the near future and my feet will probably fall off or my eyes will rot and fall out since I don't pay close enough attention. Well, that's changing this year.
    I sought out, after being challenged by a friend, foods that would be high octane fuel suppliers to my body instead of energy and fat suppliers.
    I needed some help, so I looked to my favorite cook, Alton Brown, for some suggestions. He has lost 50 lbs. and still manages to maintain his cooking habits.
    Here is what he follows:

    Whole Grains
    Leafy Veggies
    Green Tea
    3Xs Per Week:
    Oily Fish
    Sweet Potato
    1X Per Week:
    Red Meat
    Fast Food
    Processed Meals
    Canned Soups
    Anything labeled “Diet”

    Eat Breakfast Every Day
    Eat Slowly
    Purple foods are high in antioxidants, try to use them: pomegranite, Acai juice, concord grape juice, blueberries, blackberries,
    Try soy milk in smoothies for extra protein, low fat and B12 included in it. Make double and freeze it for a frozen treat later.
    For Smoothies: add 4 oz of 3 frozen fruits, 4 oz. of soy milk and juice each,

    Sardine Treats:
    Sardines or Bristling are good for you and can be combined with lemon juice, olive oil from one of the cans of fish, lemon zest, sherry vinegar, fresh parsley. Wisk. Fold in 2 cans of drained fish.Let marinate. Set oven on High broil.Brush 4 slices of french or sourdough bread with the oil from the other can. Broil bread for 2 - 3 minutes. Mash one avocado and spread on toast. Place fish on top and garnish with parsley, lemon juice and sea salt. You only get to have one of those, so don’t eat all 4 at once.

    Almonds are excellent

    Nut Treat:
    Set oven at 250 degrees
    Put 1t. of olive and seasame oils in pan and heat
    Add one pound of whole almonds
    Cook for 5 min. Add 1T. of soy sauce and Worchestershire sauce each.
    Cook for 1 min. more, until it seems to have used up liquid and is sticky.
    Put 1 t. ground ginger and 1t. salt in a bowl and add the almonds and toss.
    Place on a baking sheet lined and put in over for 20 min.
    Eat only 1 oz, 1 to 2 times per day.

    Now I know that most people look at the sardine bruschetta and think, gag! But I am willing to try it. It's hard to get fish that everyone will eat, so I can handle trying it.
    What he doesn't mention is portion sizes. That's where it all goes down hill or hell, for me. Cutting down portions, drinking ungodly amounts of water and consistent exercise are the deal breakers, so I need to not think of them as the enemy.
    So, here I go.....
    Wish me well....
    Say a prayer....
    Don't invite me over for scones or muffins or anything like that........THANKS

    Stuffed Chicken Fried Chicken, Southern Style

    I wanted a dish that I could use my packaged stuffing that I hadn't made at Christmas so I thought of making stuffed chicken and using a peppery-white, southern gravy over the top. Sinfull yes, but delicious.

    5 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts pounded flat
    1 prepared box of stuffing mix, follow box directions
    2 eggs, whisked with a little water
    flour to dredge
    breadcrumbs to dredge, panko or homemade
    4 T. oil for frying

    I pounded the breasts flat between two pieces of plastic wrap adding water to my flat mallet as I poiunded. Then I put a heaping spoonful of prepared stuffing in the middle of each breast. I folled up each breast with the sides first and then finishing with each end tucked over each other and secured with toothpicks. I then dredged each in flour, coated then with egg, and finally rolled in breadcrumbs.
    I heated a skillet with oil and fryed them on each side and end until browned.
    In the meantime, I heated the oven to 400 degrees. Once fried, I put them in the oven to finish for 20
    minuets. They were very tasty, but I must warn, it was a huge portion. I only finished half of mine. Oh, goodie. Leftovers!!!! I served them with a country gravy, the extra stuffing that was baked according to box directions, and some steamed broccoli. Now I make the gravy with a rue and milk, but actually it doesn't need gravy. DELISH.