Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fizzy Fruit Slush

I made this fizzy fruit slush for my sweet little boy's 1st birthday party last month. It was super sweet and health conscience mom had two (what is it with my mom's and sweets???:)).
I had to add a picture of the cute birthday boy! I just love his rolls!!!! When does rolls like that stop being so dang cute?

*I doubled the recipe and had plenty left over*
*The recipe calls for ginger ale, but frankly I hate ginger (except gingersnaps but that is a cookie so it really doesn't count :)) so I used Sprite instead*

Fizzy Fruit Slush
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 to 6 very ripe bananas)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2-3 lemons)
6-ounce can frozen lemonade, no water added
3 cups orange juice
Ginger ale or another carbonated beverage, for serving

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and boil for three minutes. Pour into a large bowl and cool completely. Add the mashed bananas, lemon juice, frozen lemonade concentrate and orange juice to the cooled syrup. Mix well. Pour into a 9X13-inch pan and cover with plastic wrap or other lid. Freeze until slushy, about 2-3 hours (this will depend on your freezer, so check often – you want to mix it before it is frozen solid). Use an electric mixer to beat the slush until foamy and aerated (I do it directly in the pan but you can scoop the slush into a large bowl and whip it, if desired, pouring it back into the pan when finished). Repeat this process 1-2 more times during the freezing process, if desired. Freeze the slush until firm. When ready to serve, let the pan of slush sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Scoop slush into chilled (or not) glasses and top with ginger ale or another preferred carbonated beverage.

General Tso's Chicken

While I hate frying chicken (hate the smell and having to scrub grease off my entire kitchen afterwards) this recipe was super yummy and well worth it!!

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
canola, peanut or vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce
3 tablespoons raw sugar (a.k.a. Demerara or Turbinado)
1 tablespoon peanut, canola or vegetable oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Steamed broccoli
Fresh, hot cooked white or brown rice

Prep your chicken:
In a mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch until a thick slurry forms. It will look gummy but smooth.
Add the chicken pieces and stir until all are evenly coated. At first it may appear that it will not come together but it does!
Set aside, covered lightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Begin the sauce:
Add the tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat.
Stir the garlic and ginger into the oil and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until thick and shiny. Keep over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.
To fry the chicken:
Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over high heat.
When the oil is shimmering, add one piece of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan.
Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides.
Transfer the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until you've cooked all the chicken.
Slide all the chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat. (If desired, add the steamed broccoli to coat with the sauce also.) Increase the heat to medium, stir and cook just until hot all the way through.
Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve immediately over rice.

Dreamy Red Velvet Cake

Okay, so I a know I am a bit late with this post. But for those of you who don't know me I just tend to be a bit late on everything. For instance, I just got my first smart phone (which my 4 year old knows how to use better than I do), I had a VHS until a couple of years ago, I didn't get my first cd player until ipods were popular and frankly I still don't understand what an ipad is and why in the world I would need one...oh-well back to food.
I am so excited that baby Harper is born because 1) I couldn't wait to hold her 2) I couldn't wait to hold her, 3) I couldn't wait to hold her and 4) I got to post some recipes on Bites!!
This recipe is from Valentine's Day, and while I know St. Patrick's Day is this week bookmark this recipe to make next year because it is so rich, decedent and creamy (especially when it is served cold)! I made this for a Valentine's Day treat for my in-laws when they were visiting. They loved it so much my mother-in-law had two pieces....don't tell her I told you!
Happy Eating-Jaime

*The recipe calls for baking it in a 9x13 but I used two round cake pans instead*
**The frosting sounds gross but it was AMAZING!! Make sure you store the cake in the refrigerator.**

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 (1-oz.) bottle red food coloring (I used gel and it worked great)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup lowfat sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


4 ounces lowfat (neufchatel) cream cheese
1/4 cup lowfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a liquid measure or other bowl, whisk the buttermilk, red coloring and vanilla together.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sour cream, oil, butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl. Add half of flour mixture and mix. Add the buttermilk/food coloring mixture and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the remaining flour until just combined. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda until mixture fizzes then quickly fold into batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and tap on the countertop to burst any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cake will be dry. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together cream cheese, yogurt, butter and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. When the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting over the cake, cut into pieces and serve. If not serving right away, store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Alternately, you can spread the frosting on each individual piece instead of the entire cake.

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

A month before Harper was born, I sent the link to this recipe to Mark with the subject of the e-mail reading "First Dough I Want to Eat After Harper is Born".  This week he planned a home date including some of my favorite things and he remembered my request (big points for remembering) and made them.  He managed to wrangle some of the dough away from me in order to make some cookies as well.  They were awesome right out of the oven but almost better, cold in the fridge the next day.

1 cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter Softened
3/4 cups Golden Brown Sugar
3/4 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1-1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1-1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup (rounded) Malted Milk Powder
1 bag (12 Ounce) Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined.
Add chocolate chips and stir in gently.
Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake less if you want chewy cookies; more if you want crispy cookies.

Asian Chicken and Orzo Salad

This was the first recipe I've cooked since Harper was born (thanks to many lovely friends who have graciously been bringing us dinner every other day).  Stephanie brought it to one of our dinner swaps and I liked it so much, I wanted to try it again!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1   medium red bell pepper, diced
3   green onions, chopped
3 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped (I didn't use)
1   (16-ounce) package orzo, cooked and drained
1   (9-ounce) package frozen sugar snap peas
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1   (2-ounce) package (1/2 cup) slivered almonds, toasted

Cook sugar snap peas according to package directions; drain well. In a large bowl, combine sugar snap peas, orzo, water chestnuts, chicken, green onion, and red bell pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Pour over orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat. Stir in toasted almonds. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Slow-Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

It's Angela again.  I thought I'd share a recent favorite that, in my book, ranks right up there with the French Dip Sandwiches.  The meat was very tender had great flavor with just enough kick from the cayenne.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

3 to 4 pound beef rump roast
1 onion, sliced in rings
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon anise (I don't like anise, so I didn't use this)
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes (undrained)
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer 
8 hoagie rolls 
8 slices of mozzarella cheese

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the meat into your cooker (frozen is okay). Top with sliced onion, and all the dried herbs and spices. It will seem like there are way too many herbs—try not to worry. Add the entire can of tomatoes and bottle of beer. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat shreds easily with two large forks. Shred the meat completely, and stir well.

Serve on toasted rolls with melted mozzarella cheese.


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