Monday, November 3, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Make ahead and freeze
Cook in the Crock Pot
This is one of the easiest meals ever. Make a few and put them in the freezer. You'll be so glad you did. I love that I just place it into the crock pot and it cooks all day while I'm at work. And it IS delicious!
1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into 4 equal size pieces (No need to cook before putting the meal together.)
juice from 2 limes
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

 Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag. Mix together and zip bag closed.
Store in freezer for up to 6 months.
When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours).
Serve with tortillas and your favorite toppings (sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese). I served mine over rice.
Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Merigues with Chocolate Raspberry Filling

These guys are so gorgeous.  You could just place them on plates or in bowls and set them around as part of your kitchen decor.   By the way, they are scrumptious!  Make some.  You know you want to.  And you won't be sorry.

Makes 18

Ingredients for the meringues:
4 egg whites
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Ingredients for the Ganache:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions for the meringues:
Preheat oven to 150 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With a pen, trace around a small round object 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Continue tracing circles, leaving 1 inch between, until parchment paper is filled. (I put 15 to 18 on each sheet.) Repeat with second sheet pan. Set aside.

Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and foamy.  When you lift the beater you should see a curve remain in the egg whites, not peaks.  Sift cream of tartar into egg whites, make sure it is scattered over the top, not all in one place.  Beat until mixed.

With mixer on low speed, very slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix well. Beat on medium high speed until egg whites are thick, smooth, satiny, and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters.  The peaks should stand up almost straight.  This will take between 5 and 20 minutes.

Spoon the egg white mixture in mounds onto prepared cookie sheets filling each circle you drew.  Or spoon mixture into a decorating bag fitted with a 2D Wilton tip (also called a drop petal tip). To pipe meringues with the decorating bag start in center of one circle and swirl outward in a circular motion until the circle is filled with meringue. Repeat until all circles are filled. You need to fit it all on the two sheets because you need to bake it all at once and not let the rest wait for later.

Bake for 2 hours or until meringues are crisp. Turn oven off and leave meringues in oven until completely cool. Remove from oven when cool.

Directions for the Ganache:
While meringues are baking, prepare Ganache.  Place jam and cream in a small saucepan. Heat on medium low until small bubbles just start to appear and rise to the top around the edges.  Do NOT boil.  Add the chocolate chips and allow to set for 5 minutes. Whisk until mixture is smooth and all chocolate chips are melted and mixed in. Refrigerate for an hour or so to thicken Ganache.

Remove from refrigerator and whip the Ganache with an electric mixer on medium high until Ganache is light, fluffy and the color becomes lighter, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a zipper style bag.  Cut a small piece off one corner of the bag.

Directions for finishing:
Pipe Ganache onto half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies and press gently until filling spreads just to the edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set Ganache.

I painted a few thin stripes of gel food coloring on the inside of my decorating bag, starting at the tip end and painting about halfway up the bag before adding the meringue. That's what gives them the pink accents.

Store in a cool dry place loosely covered.  Do not store in refrigerator.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies

These soft, but crispy on the outside cookies with a creamy peanut butter filling are just delightful.  If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you'll absolutely LOVE these.

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus 1/3 cup for dipping)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg 
1 to 4 Tablespoons milk, if needed                                    
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Prepare dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat together sugars, butter, and peanut butter until very light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beating to combine.
Stir in dry ingredients, blending well.
If dough is too dry add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth and well mixed.  The dough should be very thick, but moist enough to form into a smooth ball.
Prepare filling: In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Scoop out 1 scant Tablespoon full and with floured hands, roll the filling into 24 one-inch balls. Set aside.
Shape cookies: Scoop out about 2 Tablespoons of the dough, roll it into a ball with your hands, then flatten it out into a circle. Place one of the peanut butter balls into the middle of the circle of dough. Bring the dough up and over the filling, pressing it closed.  Roll the cookie in the palms of your hands into a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Place 1/3 cup granulated sugar into a small bowl.
Roll each cookie in granulated sugar and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass and use it to flatten each cookie slightly. (I just flatten them a little with the palm of my hand.)
Bake cookies for 7 to 11 minutes, until they're set.  Press your finger into the top of the cookie slightly.  Your finger should not leave an indentation if the cookie is done. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.
                                                                      Thanks, Jessica, for the great picture.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Chocolate Fudge Delight Cupcakes

These cupcakes are rich and fudgy. The frosting is so rich and delightful.  They make a great presentation and are worthy of any occasion. They are best kept in the refrigerator, but let warm up a bit before serving.
Start by doctoring a cake mix to add some depth of flavor and great texture.  The frosting takes a bit of extra work, but is absolutely well worth it.  They are great as regular size cupcakes or as mini cupcakes.  I made these for a baby shower and received plenty of compliments.  I hope you enjoy them.

1 box chocolate fudge cake mix (If you can't find chocolate fudge use devil's food.)
1/2 box instant chocolate pudding mix (directly from the box)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 egg whites (or use 3 whole eggs)
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together cake mix, chocolate pudding mix, sour cream, egg whites, water, and oil until combined.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.   Scoop into paper lined cupcake pans, filling each 2/3 full.  Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Or use bittersweet chocolate chips.)
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped (Or use 1/2 package chocolate chips.)
2 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

Microwave bittersweet and semi sweet chocolate in a microwavable bowl uncovered for 30 seconds; stir.  Microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate can be stirred smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In bowl of electric mixer beat butter until fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla.  Beat until well combined and fluffy.  Add melted chocolate and beat until well mixed and smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Spoon frosting into a large pastry bag fitted with a large flower tip.  Pipe frosting onto tops of cupcakes. 

Garnish as desired.  I drizzled with hot fudge topping; topped with chocolate sprinkles, and chocolate curls. 

Store in refrigerator.
Makes 24 to 30 regular size cupcakes.