Saturday, January 28, 2012

Post Holiday Cooking Adventures

First up is bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breast. 

I butterflied my chicken breast (which is SOOOOO much easier with good knives). 
















Once butterflied, I place on top of 3 strips of bacon.
















Then filled with feta, salt pepper and a dash of Italian seasoning.  Pull the top of chicken breast back over the cheese and wrap the bacon tightly around it to hold in all that yummy goodness.

















The bacon should grip on to itself and hold in place but if it doesn't you can use toothpicks. I place the breasts in a glass pan with some melted butter. You can for go the butter but I would spray the pan lightly and it will cook in the bacon fat alone.

















I topped it with some cream cheese and cheddar cheese for mine and more feta and cheddar cheese for Eric's. Turn on the broiler to get a good melty top and serve :) We had an quick side salad with our  chicken. 

















Next up is a healthy taco salad! I used chopped up romaine hearts, avocado, diced roma tomatoes, ground turkey cooked up with some taco seasoning and black beans warmed up in lime juice. I tossed with a serving of light ranch  and sprinkled with some lime juice.

















So for Christmas my parents got me a mini donut maker :) The recipe book that came with it had butterscotch donuts for which I happened to have all the ingredients! Below in the "dough"
















Cool little donut maker, yay for Christmas!
















Test donut
















Mini Donuts! Oh and maple glaze,,,just because :)
















mmmm donuts...
















warm butterscotch maple donuts. I'll be making these again for sure!
















Next on the list is whole grain blueberry muffins. These things were so stinking good! I used whole grain flour and applesauce to make these a little healthier than your average muffin. 

















Fresh blueberries all over the place
















I wanted to eat all of these as soon as I removed them from the pan. 

















I LOVE fresh blueberries in muffins. You get sweet warm muffin and then blueberry goodness explodes  in your mouth.



On a not so healthy note, I made mug brownies. Here it is pre-microwave-

















I topped mine with chocolate ice cream that was made from coconut milk- no soy and no dairy for those that were wondering. I topped with toasted coconut sprinkles and it tasted like a super chocolaty mound/almond joy bar. 

















Mug Brownie Recipe
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil (I tried it with coconut oil and it was very moist)
2 Tbsp milk, coffee or water
In a heatproof mug or ramekin, stir together the dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Stir in the oil and milk until you have a thick paste.
Microwave on high for a minute, checking it after 30 seconds – it will be done when it’s springy on top but still a bit gooey – like the very best brownie. Eat warm. Top with ice cream and whipped cream, if desired (which it usually is)!



Have You Missed Me?! I certainly missed you all!

I'M BACK LADIES AND GENTS!

I was on a hiatus in December and most of January due school, work and traveling but I am here to share my goodies with you once again.

Shall we start?

Merry Christmas to me! Here was our tree prior to the full spread of presents.





















Here is my FAVORITE Christmas present- Wusthof knives! These things cut through everything like butter, they are amazing to say the least!





















Here are some fun gifts from my secret Santa on redditgifts.com. Cookie bowl pan, edges only brownie pan, cakesicle pan, ninjabread men cookie cutters and missing limb gingerbread men cookie cutters. So many great gifts and I can't wait to use them all!
















Now on to some holiday baking- hot chocolate cookies! Before I left for the holidays I also made peppermint bark, gingerbread men and ninjabread cookies, homemade marshmallows and butterfingers. Most of which I forgot to take pics of...my bad.

Here are my rich chocolate cookies with mini dehydrated marshmallows
















So shiny and so tasty.
















As per my usual I forgot to take a picture once they were done. Here is a pic from last year instead.

Dusted with cocoa mix :)
















The beginning of the chocolate bark- it's a salty/sweet mix.

Layer of saltines coated in melted butter and sugar. It caramelizes in the oven and while it is still warm you pour chocolate chips over it which melt and can be spread evenly over the top of the crackers.

Again, no finished product photo here. Once the chocolate cools you break apart the bark into smaller pieces and enjoy!

















Here are some finished white chocolate sugar cookies with pink and green glazes and crystallized sugar sprinkles.
















I attempted to make leg lamp cookies but I didn't chill my dough enough and they were obese..so I gave up and we ate them ourselves :)
















Next up is a delicious carrot cake I made for a co-workers wife's birthday just before I left for Christmas. Everyone I know loves my carrot cake recipe, I think because it is super moist and I do sneak raisins in but I use golden raisins. I just find that golden raisins have a more subtle taste, are more moist and they are less noticeable, so when people claim they don't like raisins, I can ask why they keep eating my cake ;-)

I made a simple cream cheese frosting, as is traditional for carrot cake, and piped a rose type look all over the cake.



I love piping like this, it just looks...elegant.




















Here is my carrot cake recipe:


Ingredients

  • 6 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup golden raisins (for more moist raisins soak in water or apple juice until they look hydrated)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I finely finely chop these because I hate huge chunks of nuts in any cake)

  • Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.