Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Different Chicken Divan

I don't think I've ever had normal chicken divan so I'm not sure what makes this particular recipe "different" but that is the recipe name.  Carol brought this tasty meal to community group one week and I ever so subtlety hinted that it would be a great meal to bring to a mom with a new baby.  Well, my hinting paid off because she brought us this meal (along with an amazing salad with blueberries in it). Yes, I know the picture doesn't look that appetizing.  But don't hate the recipe because of my ghetto picture :)

2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast meat
1 pound fresh broccoli, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Spread chicken in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with broccoli. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, curry powder, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, salt and pepper and mix well. Add 1 cup of Cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup and mix again, then pour mixture over chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese and top with onions.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Chipotle Chicken Skewers and Quinoa Pilaf

Mallory has been raving about this recipe for awhile and I've had it bookmarked to make for a long time.  So, when she brought this meal to us, I was so excited!  It lived up to her review.  YUM! Both recipes are from Cook's Illustrated.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 medium breasts)
¼ cup light brown sugar , packed
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves , minced
1 chipotle chile in adobo , minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
nonstick cooking spray

dipping sauce ingredients
¾ cup low-fat sour cream
¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup lime juice , from 2 to 3 limes
1⁄8; teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves , minced
2 scallions , minced
½ teaspoon salt
1⁄8; teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE CHICKEN: Slice the chicken breasts across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips (you should have about 30 strips). In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the brown sugar, cilantro, chipotle, adobo sauce, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. (The chicken, covered, can be refrigerated for up to 1 day before cooking.).

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE: In a bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. (The dipping sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Season with additional lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste before serving.).

Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler. Line a broiler pan bottom with foil and top with a slotted broiler pan top; spray the broiler pan top with nonstick cooking spray. Weave each piece of chicken onto individual bamboo skewers; lay half of the skewers on the broiler pan top and cover the skewer ends with foil, making sure not to cover the chicken. Broil until the meat is lightly browned and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes, flipping the skewers over halfway through. Transfer the skewers to a serving platter and serve immediately with half the dipping sauce. Repeat, broiling the remaining skewers and serving with the remaining dipping sauce.

Quinoa Pilaf with Corn and Jalapenos

2 t olive oil
2 medium ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 C quinoa, rinsed well
1 3/4 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium jalapeno chiles, seeds and ribs removed, then minced
1/4 C cilantro leaves
2 t juice from 1 lime
Ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the corn and cook, stirring frequently, until corn starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the corn to a bowl; set aside
2. Add the onion, remaining teaspoon oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the saucepan,. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions softened, 8 - 10 minutes. Add the quinoa, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the quinoa lightly browns and becomes aromatic, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and jalapenos and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is transparent and tender, 16 - 18 minutes.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and lay a clean, folded kitchen towel underneath the lid. Let stand for 10 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice, and reserved corn and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle

Emilie here.  Did I really make this sinful trifle? Yes, I did.  And it was amazing.  I can't think of anything unhealthier or more delicious.  If you have any good reason to make an over the top dessert, you should make this Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle I found on Pinterest.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly. Instead of using a box of brownies and pudding mix I made my own from scratch using these recipes.

Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding

And, here is the amazing recipe for the trifle.

1 batch of your favorite brownies, boxed or from scratch, cooled and cut into cubes
1 large box (5-ounce) of instant chocolate pudding, prepared and chilled (this will most likely call for 3 cups of milk, nothing else)
1 bag of peanut butter cups, chopped (I used Dove chocolate peanut butter Promises)
2 cups heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on your desired level of sweetness
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
8 ounces of whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
In the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat heavy cream and sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to an separate bowl and stick in the fridge until ready to use. I did not even clean the bowl of my electric mixer and just began mixing the peanut butter mixture.
Add the peanut butter and cream cheese to the bowl and beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides a few times until mixture is creamy. Add in powdered sugar and mix until combined, then mix in 2 tablespoons of milk. Remove the whipped cream from the fridge and add 1 cup of it to the peanut butter, folding it in until the mixture turns lighter in color and is mostly combined.
Grab your trifle dish and begin to layer your ingredients however you’d like. I did a layer of brownies, then peanut butter, then a handful of chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and so on. I repeated it until I got to the top, then piped the remaining whipped cream on top and sprinkled the candy on. You really can’t go wrong with layering – just use a long spoon to serve!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Tart

I'm so excited to be posting here because, not only do I love Bites, but my post means that Jessie's baby is here - hooray!  This recipe is one I tried out a while ago, but still love.  I don't think Jessie would give it five stars because she doesn't love gorgonzola, but if you're a fan of the potent cheese like I am, then my guess is you'll definitely enjoy this simple tart.  It would be a nice appetizer or perfect for a brunch and my family loved it!
-from Angela  

1 Pâte Brisée (tart dough) for a 10-inch tart or 1 packaged, flat pie crust (I used the store-bought crust)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or blue cheese)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 large granny smith apples (or other good cooking apples such as jonagold or fuji), peeled, cored, chopped
1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Toss the walnuts, gorgonzola, thyme, chopped apples, and maple syrup together in a medium size bowl. As you are working with the apples (chopping them, mixing them in with the other ingredients), if you want, you can squeeze a little lemon juice on them to help keep them from discoloring. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap while you prepare the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry dough to 13-inches, at an 1/8 of an inch thickness. Place pastry dough on a rimmed baking sheet. (Rimmed because the pastry will leak during the cooking process.) Mound the filling in the middle of the rolled out dough, and spread out evenly to 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from the edge of the dough. Pleat the edges of the dough over the filling.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is nicely browned. If at any time it looks like the walnuts are getting a little burnt, you can lightly tent a piece of aluminum foil over the center.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. A pizza wheel works great for slicing up the tart.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentines Breakfast

I am all about breakfast, and all about reasons to eat things that are basically cake and call it breakfast. Here are two recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth and are pretty much guaranteed to make your honey swoon.

photo courtesy of

Red Velvet Crepes(Makes about 24, 8″ crepes)
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2  cups butter milk
- 1 1/4 cup whole or lowfat milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tablespoon red food color gel
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
+ 2 tablespoons cooking oil (for pan)

*Update: Because the buttermilk lends to the acidity of this batter, do not substitute the baking soda for extra baking powder. If you add more baking powder, and omit the baking soda, you’ll end up with a heavy and dense crepe. In order to activate the baking soda, it requires an acidic substance, which the buttermilk provides.  Double-acting baking powder (likely, this is what you have in your kitchen) is activated by heat and an acidic element, and in this case, baking soda does the trick.  Enough with the chemistry lesson– just don’t make substitutes if you want light and fluffy crepes; the recipe is balanced to account for ingredient properties.

Mascarpone Cream Filling
- 2 c heavy cream
- 10 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange (optional, but adds nice tang)
+ 1/2 cup raspberry jam (optional, for filling crepes)

Chocolate Ganache  Topping
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1/3 c heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar

For the Mascarpone Filling:
1. Using a mixer, mix mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla until soft and fluffy.  Set aside.
2. Whip cream and remaining sugar to a stiff peak. Carefully fold into the mascarpone cheese until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For Chocolate Ganche Sauce
1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. In a small sauce pan, heat cream and sugar to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, and pour over chocolate. Carefully mix until homogenous, and set aside until ready to use. If the ganache sets, re-melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Red Velvet Crepes
1. In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, egg, sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract and food coloring. Whisk until combined.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are combined. The batter will be a little runny (think soup). If you find that the batter is too thick and pancake like, add more milk (regular). Make sure the batter is clear of lumps.
4. With a pastry brush, brush the surface of large (non-stick) skillet with cooking oil. Heat it over medium heat. Test skillet after a couple of minutes by drizzling a few few drops of water onto the cooking surface. If the drops sizzle and evaporate, the surface is hot enough.
5. Turn the heat down to medium. For each crepe, spoon or ladle about  1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet. Holding onto the handle of the pan, remove it from the heat and swirl the pan so the batter coats the bottom of the pan. You want to make the coating as thin as possible. If you have holes in the crepe, go ahead and add more batter to the pan to cover them. Return to heat.
6. As the batter cooks, it will dry and lose its shine (~ 2 minutes). Once this happens, use a non-metal spatula and carefully flip the crepe over. Finish cooking the crepe on the other side (~ 45 seconds).
7. Gently slide the cooked crepe onto an ovenproof plate, and keep the finished crepes warm in an oven set at 195 degrees.
Assembling the Crepes:
- If using raspberry jam, place a small amount the center of the crepe.  Pipe mascarpone cream filling, and carefully roll.

I made these back in September for our anniversary. It was a little involved with a few different things going on, but man was it worth it. We still talk about these! 

The second recipe is easier, but still SO tasty. I found these beauties on my latest addiction, pinterest. 
Red Velvet Pancakes with Chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons red food coloring
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (doesn’t matter what kind you use)

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until combined.
Add chocolate chips and fold in batter.
Pour about 1/3 cup onto medium/high griddle and lightly brown on both sides.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve with maple syrup.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Signing off for a bit...

I am really, really hoping to have my sweet baby in my arms in the next couple of days, but I will for sure on Thursday if nothing happens before then.  Then we'll be enjoying the blessing of meals from friends for a month or so.  While I'm out of the kitchen, I've asked a few friends to post some of the meals they are making on my blog so you can still have new ideas streaming in.  I'm excited to see what is going on in their kitchens!

To Die for Blueberry Muffins

A final pregnancy craving...thanks

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stirfry

A simple but tasty recipe.

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 8 ounce can pineapple chunks, drained and juices reserved
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

3-4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs diced into 1 inch pieces
(you could also use pork tenderloin, or sliced boneless pork chops)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cups broccoli florets
1 medium bell pepper, stemmed , seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch squares
hot cooked white or brown rice

Start cooking your rice so it will be ready.

Combine cornstarch and water in a medium sized bowl and stir to dissolve.  Add the reserved pineapple juice*, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar to the bowl and stir to combine.

*If you’re using a stainless steel pan, save pineapple juice for de-glazing it

heat 2-3 teaspoons of the oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger.  Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked and no longer pink, 3-4 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1-2 teaspoons oil to the pan and add the broccoli and bell pepper.  Stir-fry over medium-high heat until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the broccoli is bright green, 3-5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the pineapple chunks and sauce mixture.  Bring to a simmer and cook until everything is heated through and the sauce has thickened, 1-2 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over the hot cooked rice.  If desired, top with sesame seeds and chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Nutella Bread Pudding

After that amazing panettone bread pudding I made last month, I've been looking forward to trying another bread pudding recipe.  This recipe caught my eye and although I could only find a squishy french bread to use, it was still delicious.  It was delicious but I think it could have been kicked up a notch by adding some sort of warm nutella glaze/drizzle after it came out of the oven.

12 slices brioche bread or 12 slices challah , at least 1 day old
1 1/2 cups nutella
2 cups light cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with unsalted butter.

Make 6 sandwiches with the bread and nutella. Cut each sandwich into 6 to 8 pieces. Pile the sandwich pieces into the prepared baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, salt, and vanilla and cook over medium heat until warm.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs. Slowly add the cream mixture, stirring constantly to make sure the eggs do not cook.

Pour the mixture over the bread and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil after about 20 minutes. The finished pudding will be golden brown on top.

Allow the pudding to rest for at least ten minutes before serving.

"Labor Inducing" Cookies

I'm currently 8 days past my due date.  Seriously.  I never, ever, ever thought I would be this late.  So...I've pretty much been trying every labor inducing trick out there.  I'm actually bouncing on a ball as I type this.  Google "induce labor" and you'll find a plethora of crazy ideas and I've pretty much crossed everyone off the list :)  Including this one.  They were a really good, gingery cookie so I wasn't too bummed when nothing happened afterwards.  The cayenne gives a little kick that you can feel in your mouth after you're done eating them.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons (or 1 stick) margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar (will also need extra sugar to roll cookie dough in)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne pepper in small mixing bowl.  Set dry ingredients aside.

Then blend margarine in large mixing bowl.  Stir in brown sugar and granulated sugar slowly.  Add the molasses, then the egg whites.  Finally, add the dry ingredients to your mix.

Roll dough into ¾ inch balls.  Roll cookie balls in sugar to lightly coat each cookie.  Place balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.


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