Monday, January 30, 2012

Strawberry Sauce

Do you love strawberry sauce on desserts like:  cheesecake?  brownies?  ice cream?  or on breakfast foods like: waffles? pancakes? or other?  Well, I sure do!  So here's an easy recipe to make some yummy strawberry sauce for whatever your heart desires! :)

Strawberry Sauce:
1 c. Strawberries, cup up (fresh or frozen)
1/2 c. Water
1/3 c. Sugar

1. Place strawberries, water and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once it boils turn down the heat to medium high and let cook for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.
2. Carefully pour the hot chunky strawberry sauce into a glass or ceramic bowl. Then pour the chunky sauce carefully through a fine mesh strainer and back into the saucepan. Push the strawberries through to strain out the chunks. Keep pushing the strawberries through until there is just some pulp left in the strainer.
3.  Bring the sauce back to a boil and stir.  Then reduce the heat to medium until it gets to your desired thickness.  Take off the heat and cool a little bit before serving.  (For me, it was about 5 more minutes on the heat, and then I let it cool off in the pan for 15 minutes before serving.)
Strawberry sauce on whatever you'd like.  It's that good!  :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Greek Lemon Chicken and Zucchini Couscous

 So, I was eating dinner at my friends' house the other night and absolutely loved it.  In fact, I even had seconds.  It was something pretty similar to this, but I have added a few more things to it to make it my own.  Super yummy and healthy couscous dish though!  :)  Perfect for Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall!  :)  Or Spring in the middle of winter like it is here in NC! ;)

What you'll need:
~ 3 c. Cooked Couscous (cooked to its package recommendations)
1/2 lb. Chicken Breasts, cut up
1-1/2 c. Zucchini, diced (~ 2 zucchinis)
1 Medium Onion, diced
1/2 c. Carrot, shredded (~ 1 carrot)
1/2 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 T. Olive Oil
1/4 Lemon Juice
Zest from 1 lemon
Basil for garnish

In a large skillet saute the onion and chicken in the olive oil, stirring frequently until the chicken has no pink left.  Add the zucchini and cook until tender crisp or about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, carrots, feta cheese and couscous until heated through.  Serve and garnish with basil on top.  Enjoy!  :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some congrats are in order!

My hubby is on his way back from a Conference, and since he won a pretty exciting (in general, and esp. for his career) award I decided to make a cookie pizza for the occasion.  He also got invited to give a talk at a conference in Europe this summer...  :)

You know, I knew he was very brilliant when we met, and subsequently got married...but really...he's pretty much a rock-star.  Ok, well, not in the literal sense, but in his field he is.  I'm so proud of him and all his hard work!  Congrats to my Rocket Scientist!  :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cake Pops

 So, I have finally fallen victim of the inevitable adorableness of cake pops.  But I luckily don't have to settle for the ones that have frosting mixed in and have been rolled up with peoples hands...(sorry if I offend anyone, but I just think that's gross...and how can they even taste good?!?)  I got this cute little Bella cake pop machine with some of my Christmas money and I can already see how it's going to change me life. ;)  They just so cute!  And bite-sized, so who can say no?

The machine I have even came with some little recipes for cake pops, which is nice since I don't really want to make 90 at a time... :)
 Here's how you do it...  Whip up the batter, fill the wells about half full, let them bake for 5 minutes, remove and let cool.  Then you melt some chocolate, dip your stick in it and place it into each cake ball.  Let cool for about 10 minutes, and then dip in chocolate and sprinkles.  Then, viola, you have adorbale, easy and yummy cake pops for all!  :)  Well, depending on how many you made for all...

 I need some work (or help?) on my drying rack...but this got the job done for my first try.

Here's one that I wasn't patient enough with to let it cool and set after putting the stick it in...and it slid down the stick, but you can see just how cake-like the cake part actually it!  Yum! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pocket Knife Cake

So, one of our friends just had a birthday yesterday.  I work with his girlfriend, and she expressed to me how special she wanted this birthday to be, because he's turning 30.  She had an idea for a cake, and I ran with it. You see, the birthday man is a knife (and outdoor) enthusiast.  In fact, he gave Rocket Scientist a very nice pocket knife for Christmas.  So, it's very fitting that my friend wanted the cake to look like a knife.  

Once I got home I started thinking about how it was going to come together and I decided that fondant was the best way to go for the deep colors I wanted.  But having never used fondant before (and never liking the taste) I was a little hesitant.  Then I remembered a previous convo I'd had with my friend at work about marshmallow fondant, which was easy and yummy to make.  So that's what I went with....  Here's how the rest of it all came together! :) 

Design:  My rendition of a Kershaw pocket knife
Cake:  Best Ever Chocolate Cake by Better Homes and Gardens
Chocolate Frosting:  My Chocolate Frosting
Fondant:  Marshmallow Fondant

 I grabbed Rocket Scientist's new knife and sketched it larger on paper and cut it out.  Then I baked a homemade chocolate cake, let it cool completely and traced the cut out.  Then I carefully cut the shape out of the cake and removed the other pieces.  I transferred the knife cake to a sterile piece of cake-board to start decorating.
 Then since you need to frost cakes with a least a thing layer of frosting before place fondant on top, I just whipped up some yummy chocolate frosting of my own.  (See recipe here.)  I should have followed my mother's advice of always doing a crumb coat...but I didn't.  :(  So my layer of frosting was a little...well....crumby...It's all good though because it got covered by fondant anyway though.
 I whipped up a batch of fondant and then split it in two for coloring.  I did gray for the blade and red for the handle.  (Then I also took some later to make black for more details...)  BTW I think this tastes WAY better than regular fondant.
 I rolled out a section of the gray fondant (about 1/8" thick) and draped it on top of the blade portion of the cake.  Then I trimmed to fit.  I repeated with the red handle portion, and added details.  And instead of the brand name of the knife I put the Birthday man's name.  :)
 Then I finished it all off by making rolls of each color and placing then around the bottom of the cake to make it look "finished".  I really like the way it turned out.  (especially for my first attempt at a shaped cake and using fondant!)
I place the cake-board in the cake box that I also got from Michael's and it was ready to go to the Birthday celebration.  Where it was a big hit!  :)

Chocolate Frosting

My Chocolate Frosting:

1/2 c. Crisco
1 lb. Powdered Sugar (~ 4 c.)
1/4 to 1/2 c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 c. Boiling Water
1 t. Vanilla

Whip up crisco on high in your mixer until light and fluffy.  Mix in half of the powdered sugar until combined.  Pour in cocoa powder (depending on your tastes) and boiling water.  Mix on medium until well combined.  Then mix in the rest of the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and combined.  (Frosts a 9 x 13 cake or about 24 cupcakes)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

 Remember when I made Sesame Chicken at home?  I thought I might not be able to do it again...but I have....  I have created another one of my favorite Chinese take-out dishes, at home!  :)  Yum!
Pin It

Sweet and Sour Chicken:
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/2 lb. Chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
Flour (with a dash of ginger)
1 c. Carrots, sliced
1 Bell Pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 c. (or more) Pineapple Chunks
1/2 Celery, sliced (optional)
Rice (cooked as per directions)
Here's my trick or coating chicken.
 Once you have dredged your chicken in the flour, heat some oil in a skillet.  Then place the chicken in the preheated skillet and fry until the chicken is cooked through and golden.  Keep your eye on it, and stir gently and frequently.  Once it's done place on papertowels on a plate.
 In a clean skillet place 1 T. oil, pineapple, carrots and peppers.  Add about 1/2 c. water and cook until tender crisp.
 You can at this point either add the chicken and sauce to the skillet and stir, OR just serve it buffet style.  (Which is what I did...I love buffet style for some reason...)
 Layer rice, veggies, chicken, sauce and optionally crispy wonton strips. (see note below)  Also goes really well with my Chicken Pot Stickers.
For crispy wonton strips just use a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut the wonton wrappers into strips.  Then fry for a few seconds each.  Crispy and light little lovely bites!  :)

Chicken Pot Stickers

 Here's a recipe for some yummy pot stickers you can make at home!  :)

Chicken Pot Stickers:
2 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 t. Garlic Powder
1 t. Ground Ginger
40 Wonton wrappers
Water (for sealing wrappers)
Oil (for frying)

First stir the spices into the shredded chicken.
 Then grab one wonton wrapper, place some chicken (about 2 t.) in the middle, moisten the edges and seal.  You can fold it up any of the ways above.  (I tried some of each, and probably preferred the simple triangles because they were easier to know when they were done...)
Heat up a little oil in a skillet on medium high or so.  Once it's heated gently place 5 or 6 in at a time.  Make sure they don't touch.  They fry up pretty fast so keep your eye on them.  After about a minute flip them over. Then after the other side is done, place them on paper towels or a cooling rack to drain the excess oil.  Repeat until all the pot stickers are fried.  (You can keep them warm in a 200 oven--just place a cooling rack in a jelly roll pan in the oven with them on top.)
 Serve warm with something like homemade sweet and sauce.
 And enjoy!  :)
These also go really well with my sweet and sour chicken! :)

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
3/4 c. Pineapple Juice
1/3 c. Water
1/3 c. White Distilled Vineagar
1/2 c. Sugar
1 T. Ketchup
Dash Ginger Powder
Dash Garlic Powder
Dash of Red Chili Flakes
2 T. Corn Starch and 1/4 c. Water (for thickening)

Combine everything but the corn starch and 1/4 c. water, in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir together and bring to a gentle boil.  Once it is boiling, whisk the corn starch and water together in a bowl.  Then slowly add some into the saucepan.  Whisk and return to boil for about 2 minutes to see if it if your desired thickness of sauce.  Add more of the corn starch mixture to make it thicker, or add a little water to make it thinner.  (I used the amount listed above-- 2 T. corn starch and 1/4 c. water for mine.)

This sauce goes really well with my Chicken Pot Stickers and Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...