10 April 2012

Fudge, Pasta, Pancakes

Visiting friends means I don't feel as guilty baking and making stuff. Partly because I know I won't eat it all myself. LOL

My friends Karen and Cathy came up for the weekend. Karen was running a 5K on Saturday and that meant yummy noms on hand.

Prior to their arrival, I made some
Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt. Might I just say - YUM!
Source: http://thecrunchymamacita.blogspot.com/2011/12/nutella-fudge-with-sea-salt.html

The only thing I changed was the amount of butter. I've never seen or used butter in a fudge recipe before, so I knocked the amount down by half. And I used plain ole Nestle's milk chocolate chips.

I even broke the seal on the fancy vanilla. =D

   

After a while, the salt melted. The only thing I can think of is from the heat of the fudge. Next time (oh yes, there will be a next time) I think I'll let it cool/set, then let it sit in room temperature for a bit then add the sea salt and press it in.


For dinner Saturday, we had a modified version of
Three Cheese & Chicken Stuffed Shells and copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Sources:
Shells: http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/2009/06/three-cheese-chicken-stuffed-shells/
Biscuits: http://allsecretrestaurantrecipes.com/red-lobster-recipes/red-lobster-biscuits-copycat-recipes/

For both, we have gluten free versions. The shells are supposed to be the large ones, but the ones Karen ordered didn't arrive in time, so we got some Tinkyada regular size shells and casseroled it. We also left out the chicken since she is vegetarian. I think we'll try using some Quorn chicken next time with the big shells.

Otherwise, this turned out really yummy. And while costlier than regular pasta, if you can't have gluten the Tinkyada is a good alternative. I found the texture and taste pretty damn close to regular semolina pasta.

And we also did the cheddar biscuits using Gluten Free Bisquick. They tasted okay, but were weren't impressed. They were still rather white and anemic looking. They looked nothing like the nice ones on the box. Ours show yellow in the photo because of the garlic butter. I dunno. I was expecting better as I've had no problems with other Bisquick mixes and recipes.

Before:


After:



Then for breakfast Sunday morning, Karen made Lemon Streusel Pancakes with Blueberry Compote:
http://veggiefoodlover.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/recipe-gluten-free-lemon-streusel-pancakes-with-berry-compote/

27 March 2012

Waffles; Sausage Pockets; Cake Batter Truffles

3 days, 3 recipes. Hadn't really expected to, but well...freezer stash.

#1 Nutella Waffles - Saturday
Source: http://veggiefoodlover.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/recipe-gluten-free-nutella-waffles/

My friend Karen made these at New Years. Nutella = yum. Waffles = yum. How can you go wrong? So, Saturday I didn't really have anything planned for dinner so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and cook up a batch...dinner and freezer breakfast stash. I even added a little more Nutella than it calls for. There's no such thing as too much Nutella. I even spread some on top.

I got 7 full waffles out of the recipe and 1/4.

   

#2 Sausage Pockets - Sunday
Source: http://www.mrshappyhomemaker.com/2012/01/sausage-pockets.html

I'm definitely adding these to my permanent recipe notebook. Fluffy, meaty, cheesy. I even overstuffed them a little because I added more cheese. *sly grin* Cheese is another thing you can't have too much of. Unless you're lactose intolerant and have no enzyme pills. I have more cheese in my fridge than anything else right now. Seriously.

I hadn't planned on making these this soon since the sausage was frozen, but I picked up the crescent rolls that morning on the grocery and one of the canisters opened on the way home. These are very yummy and freeze great. I let one defrost in the fridge overnight and only had to heat it for about a minute in the microwave this morning....like it just came out of the oven, only not as burn your taste buds off hot.

 

#3 No Bake Cake Batter Truffles - Monday
Source: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2011/09/no-bake-cake-batter-truffles-take-2.html

Best thing, once it's mixed, you can sit and watch Jeopardy! while you roll them.

I ended up using about 5 Tbsp of milk to get it to dough consistency. If I do these again (probably likely at some point), the only change I'd make is lessen the flour and increase the cake mix for more cake flavor.

Obviously, I didn't coat them in the white chocolate, I didn't feel like messing with that last night, so I just rolled them in the sprinkles. And as long as you pop the whole thing in your mouth, the sprinkles don't fall off. ;-)

16 March 2012

Homemade Breadsticks

Made this past weekend:
http://www.chef-in-training.com/2011/10/homemade-breadsticks.html

Major fail on either the yeast's or my part. The activated yeast didn't really get foamy, but it wasn't expired and the water was lukewarm.

Mixed up per recipe, but the dough was still sticky and messy. I should have added more flour, but was kind of afraid my mixer was going to vibrate right off the counter. So, I ended up like I was doing emergency surgery on someone made of dough.

In the end, they taste okay, but look nothing like the original recipe's picture. Baked, they look more like chicken than bread, but the house smelled awesome. I didn't have room for a stick for the last one, and that's the round shaped one - and ironically the better cooked one. Because it was still messy, they wouldn't twist prettily.

 

I may retry with fresher yeast and more flour. And less butter...I didn't even use what it calls for.

Lemon Coconut Bars

Made these about 2 weeks ago:
http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/lemon-coconut-bars/

Lemony, coconuty, goodness. Would have been better if mine had not turned out quite so gooey in the middle.

Followed the recipe exactly. Although maybe I didn't get dough cut in well enough. After 20 minutes, I got tired of cutting in (I don't have a handy-dandy food processor that does it in 1.38 seconds) and went with it. Baked it, and there were some cracks, so I think that's why parts were gooey-er than others. Or maybe it could have baked a little longer.

 

I may give this another try in future when I have something to do the cutting in work for me. LOL

21 February 2012

Cake Batter Muddy Buddies

http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/02/cake-batter-muddy-buddies.html

I used Rice Chex...and the original Muddy Buddy recipe is on the box, but as I love the taste and smell of cake batter, I had to try this. In about 15 minutes you have a sweet crunchy snack.

You could probably get away with slightly less cake mix or even leave out the powdered sugar (and maybe sift the cake mix so it has a finer texture than out-of-the-box-clumpy); there is some unattached mix floating around my batch, and I even used a little extra Chex.

Since I have loose cake mix, I've been eating it out of a bowl, just like cereal LOL. Just a smaller berry bowl, not a cereal bowl - although I could probably sit and eat a cereal bowl's worth! =)

However, on the whole, this will definitely be a repeat... I wonder how it might work with chocolate and chocolate cake mix.....

In the bag and in the bowl:
   

14 February 2012

Parmesan Ranch Chicken n Rice; No Bake Nutella redux

Last week I made a point to try and get back onto a normal dinner menu most of the week. I've been grazing more and more because I've just been too damn tired to do much else. I know that's not good for me in the long run, but when I'm so tired I'm fighting - and subsequently losing - to stay awake through the 8 o'clock hour, convenience wins out. The last thing I've been wanting to do is cook requiring me to stand at the stove for longer than it takes to scramble an egg. So it's been breakfasty dinners or freezer-to-the-oven or -microwave.

So, I pulled out some chicken from the freezer and a bag of Bird's Eye Steamfresh brown rice with *gasp* vegetables.

I saw their suggestion on the bag of adding some ranch dressing for some zestiness. I didn't have regular ranch, but I do have Parmesan Ranch....

So, I cooked up the chicken pieces in a wee bit of veg oil to keep them from sticking to the pan and some liberal dashes of garlic & onion seasoning. Cooked to get the pink off, then lowered heat and let them finish cooking while I went to change clothes and wash my face.



Next up, nuke the rice/veg bag.



Dumped rice and the chicken in a bowl and added about a tablespoon or so of Marzetti's Organic Parmesan Ranch dressing and mixed. I also added a dash or so of Pesto seasoning.

Voila! This is two good servings, so I had leftovers for another night.

   

I also gave the No Bake Nutella cookies another try, this time making extra sure I had the amount of milk it called for. And Yay! they turned out much better this time. =)

06 February 2012

Cheesecake Pillows

Yummy!

http://doubledippedlife.com/2010/08/cheesecake-pillows.html

I forgot to take pictures, but mine looked like sloppier versions of the ones on the recipe page. LOL

The recipe on that page is a little confusing as it's not broken out properly, so here's a better break-out:

Filling"
2 cans of Crescent Roll dough. *Pillsbury now has a seamless crescent dough that makes this really easy.
2 packages cream cheese, softened. *You want this at room temperature so the filling isn't lumpy.
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla

"Topping":
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) of melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

And it just hit me just now as I'm typing that there must be larger sized crescent roll dough because there was no way the ones I had were going to hold a half-cup of the filling. So, get the large ones versus the smaller ones.

I had one can of 8-count small crescents and one can of the seamless.

I halved the filling recipe, and good thing too! By time I filled the 8 crescent triangles, and a few generous quality assurance tastes, I still had half the filling left.

I followed the recipe for the 8-count, using less than a half cup of filling, obviously, and closed them as best I could. I put them on a parchment-lined cooking sheet. This is a must, they DID leak. I did brush some melted butter on them, but forgot until they'd been baking 5 or so minutes that I forgot to sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them.

While those baked, I began to work out the seamless dough, which was smaller than I was expecting once rolled out. So, instead of cutting squares, I stretched it a little and spread the remaining filling evenly to about an inch from the edges and rolled it. Where you would normally cut them into cinnamon-roll type piece, I just left it, afraid the filling would just ooze too much during baking.

I pinched the edges down to keep down leakage. Brushed some melted butter and sprinkled some cinnamon sugar I already had mixed. Baked for 30 minutes. I think 3/4 cup sugar would be way too much.

With both versions, the cheese was still a touch gooey, but that's okay. =)

The rolled form is my preferred method. And if the dough is wide enough, adding some cherry pie filling would be Teh Nom, but these are great just on their own, warm or cold. Kind of Danish-esque. It's a great light snack, breakfast pastry, dessert...

I know I've seen a yeast-free cinnamon roll dough recipe out there, so when I do these again (and I do believe I will) I may give that a try since that would yield more dough to work with than the Pillsbury. Plus, none of that "Pillsbury Taste"...fine once in a while, but I don't want it all the time.

Another alternative is to get the seamless and form them to a muffin pan cup (or the muffin top pan like at doubledippedlife) and fill with cheese and top with cherry pie filling...hmmm....

20 January 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

From: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/01/cinnamon-roll-cake.html

Cinnamon roll cake, you say? Don't cinnamon rolls usually take yeast? Usually, but this doesn't.

This was a hit at work. Everyone who had some had a comment.
"I didn't get enough sampling the first time."
"We should just give Jennifer a baking budget."
Also got an email "Must. Have. Recipe."

I recommend turning on the oven to preheat after you've got the cake mixture done. It will take a few minutes to get the butter softened and mixed. The topping is not a crumbly topping, more of a thick mixture...quite different from what you think a cinnamon roll topping/filling might be. Don't let that scare you off, once baked, it becomes more filling-like.

I used a wee bit more cinnamon than it calls for too, maybe about another half teaspoon.

Again, mine came out loftier than the recipe picture.



See the dark stuff? That's the topping mixture, a lot darker than how it went into the oven. And the glaze sort of oozes down into it and makes gooey striations.

 

In fact, the topping could be mixed up and used on it's own for waffles, pancakes, French toast, or to help turn normal toast into cinnamon toast. Just keep it refrigerated, obviously. I'm thinking of doing a half-mixture to have on hand for Sunday morning breakfasts.

It tastes great warm or room temperature.

17 January 2012

Mucha's "The Evening Star"

Freebie version from artofstitching.com.

Current status: WIP
Fabric: 22ct hardanger



I've done about 2/3 of what is completed in the last month....hooray for time off! I even got a wee bit done this morning because I was awake an hour-plus before my alarm went off.

Nutella, yes; no-bake, better

Nutella No Bake Cookies

Recipe: http://www.shugarysweets.com/2011/08/nutella-no-bake-cookies.html

I love Nutella. No bake is even better, even if you have to wait longer. But I didn't have to use the oven and the fridge is already running.

So, I present the cookies chillin' in the fridge:



They taste so yummy! I'm tempted to try it with a little more Nutella than the recipe calls for or just double the Nutella in place of the peanut butter. More likely the former because I'm not sure how the Nutella will hold up/bind during refrigerating.

My only snafu was I misread and used a whole cup of milk, so they didn't set up firmly:

When did I realize the goof? About 4 hours later.

I will definitely give these another go. =)