Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crispy Honey Mustard Chicken

Here is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. All the ingredients are pretty basic (if you don't have Panko breadcrumbs you can use regular it just wont be quite so crispy)  And you can have it done from start to finish in about 20 minutes or so.

Crispy Honey Mustard Chicken

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut (or pounded) to a thin 'cutlet'
1 - 2 cups seasoned panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup dijon mustard
4 tbl honey
salt and pepper

in a separate bowl: 4tbl dijon mustard and 2 tbl honey combined to drizzle over cooked chicken

preheat oven to 375
place a baking rack on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. (this will help the chicken crisp rack? line the pan with foil)   combine mustard and honey in a bowl. Dip chicken in mixture then coat with crumbs. Lay each piece on a rack. bake 10 min..turn over and bake 4-5 more minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Turn Broiler on briefly to make extra crispy but watch out you don't burn the chicken!   Drizzle with the 2nd honey mustard mixture.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Frozen Banana Bites

So simple, so ever lovin' easy you won't believe it. You also won't believe how tasty these little tidbits are. They are a fun exceptionally healthy treat that your kids will love. With 3 ingredients how can you go wrong?

Frozen Banana Bites

3 bananas- each cut into about 8 thick slices
1 cup dark chocolate
1/4 cup peanut butter

melt chocolate and peanut butter together in a saucepan. Stir until smooth. Dip banana chunks into cooled chocolate. Drip off excess. lay on wax paper and freeze for 1/2 hour. re-dip in the remainder of the chocolate..freeze again at least an hour.  Take out of the freezer about 20 minutes before eating. The banana will be smooth and creamy (my kids say almost like ice cream!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chocolate Peanut butter Cheesecake

This dessert is AMAZING. Super rich, and super creamy.  A small slice is more than enough....or several small slices LOL!  This recipe is made even better because it is a NO BAKE recipe! There are several steps but none of them are difficult and the results are so worth it. It was a huge hit at this years Easter dinner.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups plain chocolate wafers - crushed into crumbs
1/4 butter  melted

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 tbl butter
1 1/4 cup confectioner sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy cream - whipped -divided
5 oz dark chocolate chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

6 oz dark chocolate chopped
2/3  cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

combine the crust ingredients and press into a spring form pan.  Beat together Peanut butter, cream cheese and butter until smooth. beat in confectioners sugar and again beat until smooth.  fold in 1 1/4 cups of the WHIPPED cream. Spread over crust.
put chopped chocolate in a bowl.  In a saucepan heat milk and sugar until it comes to a boil.  Pour over the chocolate, stir until smooth. stir in vanilla. Cool.  Fold in remaining whipped cream. Spread over peanut butter layer.  Cover and freeze 2 hours.  Make ganache: heat cream until boiling, pour over chocolate - stir until smooth, stir in vanilla.  cool slightly.  Release the frozen cheesecake from the spring form pan.  Spread ganache over cheesecake and refrigerate until set.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guest Chef Lavetta Beshears shares her Fully Loaded High Octane Over 18 Banana Pudding

Okay everyone...I would like you to meet Lavetta!  She is the lovely and talented woman who is co-authoring a cookbook with yours truly (hope you will see it by the end of summer on!) She is a regular contributor to the online newspaper The High Plains Observer with her 'Not Enough Salt' recipe column as well as her sassy column filled with her observations on life 'The Cherry Bowl'.  She also has her own blog called 'The Cherry Bowl Slightly Twisted'.   I hope you enjoy our guest Chef and I hope to have other fantastic recipes by some of the fantastic people I know and love!

The Story
Lavetta Beshears - Fort Smith, AR

I call this my Fully Loaded High Octane Over 18 Banana Pudding. I found this recipe several years ago in an old Southern Living magazine. I tried making it several times before I had success, mainly because my cookware wasn't heavy enough and I would burn the custard. I can't stress enough the stirring constantly thing. I usually go ahead and lay my wafers out on a cookie sheet and pre brush them. But, be careful, they can get soggy if you are too heavy handed with the liquor.Once perfected, this became my husband's favorite Thanksgiving dessert. I've also made this for church dinners but then I am Methodist....there might be some who wouldn't appreciate it.
This is not the easiest recipe in the world but so worth the work. It doesn't last long so make sure you get yourself a big helping before serving. Oh, and you might not want to eat and drive this one! Enjoy.

Banana Pudding Trifle
Lavetta Beshears - Fort Smith, AR
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups milk
8 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz pkg) vanilla wafers
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tbsp. rum
6 ripe bananas sliced
6 (1.4 oz) Skore Candy bars, crushed
2 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Combine sugar, flour and salt in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Remove mixture from heat.
Beat egg yolks until thick and pale. Gradually stir 1/4 of the hot mixture into the yolks and then add back to the remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla.
Layer 1/3 of the vanilla wafers in a trifle bowl or 4 quart baking dish. Stir together the bourbon and run and brush each wafer lightly with the alcohol mixture. Top with 1/3 of the sliced bananas, spoon 1/3 of the custard over the bananas and top with 1/3 cup of the crushed candy bars. Repeat layers twice. (Don't forget to brush each layer of vanilla wafers with the bourbon/rum mixture) This is a great job for the hubs - but make sure you buy 2 boxes of wafers. Mine brushes and eats one box before moving on to prepping for the trifle.

Refrigerate immediately. Beat whipping cream at medium speed with electric mixer until foamy: gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over the trifle mixture and sprinkle with the remaining crushed candy. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.
Hints: freeze candy bars before crushing, do as much of your prep work as you can before you start cooking the custard and it helps to have someone else in the kitchen with you as it goes together really fast once the custard is ready!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Crock Pot Pulled Pork BBQ with Slaw

This is a great dish...all of my 'guys' absolutely love it! We girls do to, we just can't eat 2 or 3 sandwiches at a sitting is all.  I highly recommend adding the slaw to the sandwich..the sweet tangy punch of the slaw is terrific with the smokey BBQ pork.  I serve this on nice soft rolls, in pitas, in a tortilla, or just piled in a bowl and eaten with a fork!

Pulled Pork BBQ 
Pork Shoulder (at least 5lb)
4tbl smoked paprika
2 tbl garlic powder
1 tbl seasoned salt
1 tbl cracked black pepper
1 onion sliced
1 lrg bottle BBQ sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays)
1 bottle Guinness lager

Combine all spices and rub mixture into all sides of the pork.  Lay onion in crock pot..lay pork on top fatty side up. Pour 2/3 bottle BBQ sauce and all of the beer over pork. Cover cook on low 8 hr. (I flip the roast over about and hour before serving) About 1/2 hour before you want to serve ladle most of the liquid off and using 2 forks shred the pork (removing and large pieces of fat and any bone) add the remaining 1/3 bottle of BBQ stir and cover until ready to serve.
Serve on rolls with slaw on the side or (better) on top of the pork!

1 med green cabbage shredded
1 small purple cabbage shredded
1 cup mayo
2-4 tbl cider vinegar (to taste)
2-4 tbl agave nectar or sugar (to taste)
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
salt and pepper to taste

Make slaw 1/2 hour to an hour before serving.  toss shredded cabbage together.  In a bowl combine all other ingredients and taste...adjust seasonings.  Pour over - stir well.  Let sit to let cabbage begin to break down ...stir again.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Peach Bundt cake with Lemon coconut filling

I made the super delicious bundt cake for Easter this year. I was a huge hit. I had to make a bundt cake since I had just bought a new bundt pan! Duh! I read a recipe in one of my cakemix doctor books awhile back and decided to make a few tweeks...and this is what I came up with.  It really tastes of Spring.  I personally don't think it even needs the glaze.  

Peachy Bundt Cake with Lemon Coconut filling

1 pkg yellow cake mix (NOT pudding in the mix)
1 cup peach nectar
4 tbl melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

2 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice
1tbl lemon zest
6 oz cream cheese room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour your bundt pan.
make filling:  beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and juice very well. add coconut beat again...set aside.
make cake:  beat together cake mix, nectar, butter, vanilla, eggs.  scrape sides well and beat 2 min.  pour batter into  pan and smooth.  Carefully spoon filling onto careful not to let it touch the sides. (it will sink as the cake rises around it)
bake in center rack for 50+ minutes.  (until cake springs back when you touch it.) let cool for about 5 min. run a knife around edges shake pan turn out onto a rack to cool.

Optional glaze:
stir peach nectar and confectioners sugar together to preferred thickness. drizzle over cooled cake.

See! The filling is nicely on the inside!

Soooooooo this is what happens when you have a bundt cake failure....let it cool too long in the pan I think so it got stuck - big time...complete disaster.   Tasty disaster but a disaster non the less.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Snap peas and Pancetta lie...I am no a lover of peas. BUT...this recipe is amazing.   I am talking super delicious! You NEED to try to the store, buy the 3 ingredients and make it tonight. Seriously you will not be sorry.

Snap peas and Pancetta

10 thick slices of Pancetta cut into bite size pieces (a smokey bacon will work too)
1/2 bag frozen peas
1 lb snap peas (or snow peas if you can't find the sugar snap peas)

fry pancetta until crispy set aside to drain on paper towels then crush. In the same skillet reserve 2 tbl  grease from the pancetta - discard the rest.  Julienne 1/2 the snap peas.  Saute the julienned snap peas, the whole snap peas and the frozen peas in the pancetta drippings. Toss in the crushed crispy pancetta...saute several more minutes. Add a touch of salt and pepper and serve...thank me later!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Italian Easter Egg Bread

My Grandmother always made this interesting Italian Easter tradition…Easter Egg Bread! There is an actual colored egg baked right into the bread.  Why not try something a little different this Easter?

The Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes.  Just dye the eggs right out of the fridge - don’t crack them!

 My Mom's Italian Easter Cookies....recipe to come!

Easter Egg Bread

 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1pkg package active dry yeast

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1/2 tea anise seed (optional)

1/2 cup mixed candied fruit (optional)

5 whole eggs, dyed if desired

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine milk and butter and anise seed (if using) in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour and candied fruit (if using) stirring well. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume. NOTE: I heat the oven to about 200 then turn it off…this makes a warm draft free place to let your bread rise.

Punch down the dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 6 sections. Take 5 sections and divide into 3 ropes. Braid the ropes into a small wreath pinching ends together. Nest the colored egg snuggly in the center of the bread. Do this 5 times. The 6th section is used to roll out a ‘cross’ to lay over each egg (an optional step if you don't do the crosses just add the 6th section into the braid!)…pinch to seal. Cover and let rise again. Bake at 350 for about 35min or until golden brown.
NOTE: I never add the candied fruit...I don't like it. But feel free to experiment. I like anise, but some in my family don't so that is something I add only on occasion.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Surprise inside cupcakes

For some odd reason I have been on a cupcake kick lately.  This particular week I had to bake for my youngest sons Cast party (he was in his middle school's play 'Paranormal High') So I thought some fun cupcakes with a chocolate chip cookies hidden inside would be just the ticket.  So after my middle son's freezing cold track meet I flew home to bake. The track meet ran much longer than I thought so I arrived in the house at 4pm...and had to have cupcakes made and frosted by 5:15pm!  So needless to say this is a super quick recipe!  This is an adaptation from The Cake Mix Doctor, her knack for playing with a mix and making it 1000 times better is amazing. She has inspired a lot of my own experiments with different mixes! Her books are great!

Surprise Inside Cupcakes
1 pkg of yellow cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
1 pkg (small) of vanilla instant pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 tea vanilla
1/2 tea almond extract
1 tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
Preheat oven 350  prepare cupcake pan with liners. Makes 24 cupcakes.

to make batter: beat together  first 7 ingredients. Beat well, scraping sides of bowl several times.  Save 1 cup of batter. With remaining batter fill lined muffin cups with about a 1/4 cup of batter. make small balls with the cookie dough and press down into the batter in each cup.  cover the cookie dough that sticks out with 1 tea of batter.  Bake 23 minute or until done (top springs back when touched)

frost with your favorite chocolate frosting!