Saturday, June 18, 2011

Super Saturday Chicken Enchiladas

♥♥♥ Advanced

Years and years ago, my mom picked up this recipe at a Relief Society activity and ever since it's been a cherished family favorite. It's been comfort food in our family, and gets made only a few times a year.  I don't eat enchiladas outside of our homes, because no other enchiladas compare!

Trust me when I say, you'll love these as much as my family does.  And the best part is that it makes so much, you're bound to have left overs!

What you'll need:

  • 4-5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Can Mild Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
  • 3/4 Cups of Sour Cream
  • 8 Ounces (or more) grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 10-12 Medium Size Flour Tortillas
How it's done: 

1. Broil the chicken breast until cooked.  Dice chicken into small pieces. Mix the chicken with the enchilada sauce, ketchup, and honey in a medium saucepan and heat. 
2. Preheat oven to 350*F. 

3. Mix soup, sour cream, and cheese in a medium sauce pan and stir.  Heat until blended and melted. 

4. Microwave the tortillas between two paper towels for one minute, or until heated. 

5. Spread a small amount of the cheese mixture onto the bottom of the pyrex dish to avoid sticking. 

6. Place two tablespoons of cheese mixture onto tortilla shell. Spoon 1/8 Cup chicken mixture into tortilla shell. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Roll the tortilla and place it seam down in the pyrex dish. 

7. Once all of the tortillas are rolled and placed in the pyrex, spoon the rest of the cheese soup onto the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  

8. Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. 

Fiesta Time! 


J and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary, so it's kind of fitting that I upload the one snack that we always seem to have around our house. Oreo's are one of J's favorite treats, and ever since we got married they seem to sort of just be one of those rotating treats that our house is only without between grocery trips. It dawned on me the other day that I could probably make them, for cheaper, than what we spend on them each year.  Honestly, I'm not sure if these were much cheaper since I used a cake mix, but they sure were yummy - and they might replace to usual blue package in the cabinet.

If you're wondering how good they are, then just know that once you make them you'll be so addicted!  And know also, that if you make them for a party or friends, people will beg you to bring them to every event there after.  It's a lot like the dark forrest cupcakes, you'll never hear the end of it from friends and family. 

What you'll need: 
  • Chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Fudge but you can use any chocolate cake mix) 
  • 1 Cup of Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup of Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/8 Cup Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Shortening
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (1 Stick) 
  • 2 Cups of Sifted Powder Sugar (or more depending on desired consistency) 
How it's done: 

1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. 

2. Mix together Cake Mix, Eggs, Oil, and Flour. (Mixture will seem oily, but it's okay!) Add chocolate chips if you want them in the mix. 

3.  Using a teaspoon (it seems small, but it's perfect size, I promise) scoop out batter, form it into a ball and place on a cookie sheet.  Using the teaspoon guarantees that the cookies will be uniform in size. 
4. Bake for 9-11 Minutes. 

For the Oreo Cream: 

5. Cream the Shortening, and Butter in mixer.  

6. Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar, and mix until creamy.  

7. Once the cookies have cooled, pipe filling into onto one cookie and top with another cookie.  Whallah, Oreos!  O-O-Oreo, the right stuff!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marshmallow Pops

I can guarantee that your kids will love these.  If they're old enough, they'll enjoy making them too.  These are an easy treat with a lot of pizzaz (and they look great at parties too!).

What you'll need: 

  • 1 Bag of Marshmallows
  • 1 Bag of Pretzel Sticks
  • 1 Bag of Candiquik - Milk Chocolate (or Wilton Candy Melts) 
  • Sprinkles

How it's done: 

1. Put a pretzel into each marshmallow about 3/4 of the way through.

2. Melt your chocolate in tall slender bowl.

3. Dip your marshmallows in the chocolate and then sprinkle with sprinkles.

4. Let harden on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Whallah!  A tasty treat that's easy and fun to make.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pain Au Chocolat (Chocolate Bread)


If there's one thing I know, it's that the French have had a lot to do with the things that I love the most. Pastries.  I can give credit where credit is due.  Europe is notorious for bringing us some of our favorite little treats, and even occasionally some new treats as well.

This pastry has been around for a LONG time, but it's not one you'll commonly find in a bakery here in the U.S.A. I'm not sure if it's just too simple or what, but they are awesomely easy to make, and are super yummy - especially straight out of the oven!

In a sense, it's chocolate wrapped in a puff pastry covered in sugar.  My three favorite things in one treat! What's even better?  Only 4 ingredients!

What you'll need:
  • Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets 
  • 2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
How it's done:

1. Defrost your puff pastry - roughly 40 minutes.

2. Preheat your oven to 500*F - They should go that high, but if yours doesn't just adjust the cooking time for longer as needed.

3. Roll out your puff pastry, and cut it into 12 equal squares. Place a few chocolate chips in the middle of each one, and roll them up!

4. Pinch the seams so they stay closed. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.

5. Place them on parchment on the cookie sheet, and bake for 5-7 minutes.  Until puffed and golden.

6. Serve and enjoy!

You could top them off with some powdered sugar, or a chocolate drizzle for an even better pastry but that's up for you.  I am also a fan of a raspberry drizzle if you're really in the mood for something special.

***You could use pre-made croissant dough if you were desperate but it wont taste as good!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chocolate Mouse Raspberry Cups

Early this week, Jared and I attended a beautiful memorial service for some dear friends in our ward who passed away from Cancer.  It was a father and son, and the memorial was beautiful.  So positive and uplifting, and they are truly such an amazing family.

In an attempt to help some, I made a few desserts for the service and because I think they are so good I figured they should be shared. The best of which were these amazing mini-mouse cups! These are phyllo dough cups, with chocolate mouse, a raspberry, and shaved chocolate.

*FYI, these don't transport as well as I had hoped, so try and put them together wherever they will be consumed!

What you'll need:

  • Chocolate Fudge Pudding Box
  • 2 Cups of Milk
  • 2 Cups of Cool Whip
  • 1 Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Square
  • 1 Cup of Raspberries
  • 4 Boxes of Mini Phyllo Dough Cups (Found in the frozen pie crust section of the grocery store) 

How it's done:

1. While your Phyllo Dough cups defrost (just leave them in the box on the counter), mix up your milk and box of pudding.  Let it set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes until firm.

2. Once the pudding has set, gently fold in the cool whip. Re-refrigerate for ten more minutes.

3. Spoon the mouse into the Phyllo cups, and top with a raspberry.

4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave one of the chocolate squares over the mouse. Ready to serve!


**You can also make your own phyllo cups if you want ones that are a bit larger (dessert size instead of bite size) by purchasing Phyllo dough, and cutting it into squares and baking it in muffin tins.

***You will have significantly more mouse than you will cups or raspberries.  This recipe will yield 60 mini cups, but you will have enough mouse for about 150. If you choose to make them all, you'll need more cups and more raspberries.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chinese Almond Cookies

♥ Beginner
Leave the fortunes and lotto numbers to the kids.  What we all really want is a tasty little treat that isn't too heavy.  My mom was telling me about these little round cookies she would get at the chinese resturaunt when she was a kid.  "They had a little almond on top" she said, but she couldn't seem to find them anywhere for years.  I did a little homework and found just the cookie she was seeking.  So here it is, a little comfort food that might bring back memories for you as well.  Food with an emotional connection makes it taste even better.

P.S. These can also easily be made gluten free! Score! 

What you'll need:

  • 1 1/3 Cups Almond Flour, Packed Lightly
  • 1 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Cubed
  • 2 Eggs
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract 
  • 1 3/4 Cups of Flour (You can substitute white for gluten free)
  • 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Slices 

How it's done:

1. Mix in large bowl almond flour, salt, butter, until well blended. It should be coarse and chunky looking.

2. Add ONE egg, and almond extract - mix on low speed just until blended.

3. Sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda.  Slowly add the mixture to the butter mixture on medium speed only until combined.

4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to chill.

5. Preheat the oven to 325*F, and beat the remaining egg in small bowl.

6. Roll dough into 1/2 inch balls, place them on the cookie sheet, and then smash them with your palm to the shape of coins.

7. Press an almond slice onto the top of each one, and using a pastry brush brush each cookie with the remaining egg.

8. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

And as always... Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chocolate Covered Pretzels


I love chocolate covered pretzels.  They are a great snack to have on hand when you're desperate for some chocolate.  I actually had one of those days yesterday, but that's a different story.

With it being such a simple treat, I hardly need a post dedicated to it, but I hope I can help to make a few steps even simpler.

What you'll need:

  • Melting Chocolates - Milk and White if you want the same kind as me! I like to use CandiQuik but there are several different brands that work.  You can also use chocolate chips, but lets be honest, that's not as easy and costs about the same amount. 
  • 1 Tablespoon Shortening (Approximate) 
  • 1 Bag of Pretzels 

How it's done:

1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Melt your milk chocolate in a tall thin container.

3. Dip each pretzel with a fork or pretzel dipper and then place it on the aluminum foil to dry. Repeat.

4. Melt the white chocolate and pour it into a ziplock bag.  Cut the tip, and drizzle it over the pretzels.

5. Let stand to dry, or refrigerate for ten minutes.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Torte

♥♥♥ Advanced
My husband always seems to ask about rhubarb when summer is at the door.  His Grandma always spoiled him with homemade strawberry rhubarb pies while he was growing up, and now he affectionately believes that they are just another part of summer.  It sure is good that he married me, because no one else in my immediate family even likes rhubarb, and sadly I had never even heard of it before him. Even though I too am a fan of a strawberry rhubarb pie, I felt like I could dress up the typical pie and make it something even better.  I'm not sure you can even compare the two since this is so far from a typical pie, but the flavors remain the same and the texture is fantastic!

The texture and flavors of this torte will have you asking for more and more.  It's healthy because there is rhubarb in it, right?

What you'll need:

  • 2 (or more if you want it more sour) Cups Fresh Rhubarb (Cut into one inch pieces) 
  • 1/3 Cup of Water
  • 4 Tablespoon & 4 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar (Divided) 
  • 3 Tablespoons plus 1 Teaspoons Strawberry Gelatin
  • 2 Cups Whipped Cream 
  • 14 - 20 Lady Fingers (Halved)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Teaspoon Cold Water
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Sliced Strawberries

How it's done: 

1. In a small saucepan bring to a boil the water, rhubarb, and sugar. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and leave uncovered for 6-8 minutes (rhubarb will be soft). Cover and refrigerate 1/3 Cup of the water to use in the glaze later.

2. Puree rhubarb and remaining mixture in the food processor. Return the puree to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and stir in the gelatin until disolved. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3. Gently fold whipped cream into the rhubarb mixture.

4. Grease a tall, flat bottomed dish (or springform pan if you own one).  Place one layer of lady fingers on the bottom of the pan.  Spread half of the rhubarb mixture into the pan on top of the lady fingers. Repeat for second layer. Refrigerate torte for 8 hours or overnight (I suggest overnight so the lady fingers can soften a little.)

5. Place remaining rhubarb water into a small saucepan with the remaining sugar. Bring to a boil and add cornstarch. Stir until smooth.  Stir and boil for 2 minutes or until thickened. Let cool. Toss glaze with strawberry slices.  Use strawberries to top the torte.

6. Enjoy!  Please leave your comments and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sweet (& Simple) White Bread

* This post is dedicated to my good friend J.Lynn, who in fact, believes that making bread is too time consuming, and/or not worth her time. Let me tell you J.Lynn, this bread is so simple and good that if you try it I can guarantee you'll want to make your own bread from here on out! (Call me Molly Mormon, go ahead, I don't care.)  
A few months ago, I decided that it was a good time for me to learn how to make bread.  I really had no idea how much money I could save, or how much more I would like home-made bread, I just wanted to test my ego and see if I could actually make it and have it turn out correctly. My first attempt was a smashing success, and ever since I've made our own bread at home.  

It wasn't only that I was able to release some pent up aggression that had me loving the process. I loved watching the yeast foam while it proofed. I loved that I could save 80% on my bread bill each week (as if all of the other reasons weren't good enough)! And most importantly, I loved the way my house smelled while it baked. The smell had me captivated; it gave my heart a little pitter patter as I recalled memories of our family home smelling the very same way while we had our family home evening lessons. There's just something heart warming about a food that can bring back such vivid memories. 

I would urge every single person on the planet to try making their own bread at home. You guys know me, I'm not about doing things the hard way.  I don't grind my own wheat into flour (although that's a great skill to have), and I like things simple.  I can't guarantee instant success on every loaf (we all have our flops) but I can guarantee that this is the simplest and tastiest recipe you'll find - and it wont hurt that your family will be a little more kind to you too. 

What you'll need: 

  • 2 Cups Warm Water (Not boiling hot, just warm!) 
  • 2/3 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast (*See note a bottom of post regarding yeast)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt 
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 5-6 Cups White or Bread Flour

How it's done: 

1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Grease two bread pans with cooking spray or butter. 

2. Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl (if you're using your KitchenAid to make the bread, make sure you use the dough hook attachment) mix together gently using a fork.  Allow the yeast to proof for 5 minutes, until it resembles a creamy foam.  (If there is no foam after 5 minutes, your yeast may have been old - this happens from time to time if you're using the Fleischmann's Yeast packets) 

3. Mix salt and oil into the yeast mixture. Mix in the flour slowly, one cup at a time. When the dough becomes less sticky to the touch, you can take it out of your mixing bowl and lay it on a floured surface to kneed for 5 minutes. 

4. Grease another mixing bowl, and grease the outside of the bread dough.  Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel in a warm place.  (I like to leave mine on the stove while it's pre-heating.)  Leave the dough to rise, roughly double in size, approximately one hour.  

5. Turn dough out onto floured surface and punch down.  Knead for 5 minutes, and then separate into two equal halves. Roll each half flat into a rectangle, roll it up and fold the ends under placing the seams at the bottom.  Set in bread pans, score the tops lightly, and allow to rise another 30 minutes.

6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. As soon as they are done, turn out onto a cooling rack.  For a soft crust, roll in plastic wrap while still warm.  

Enjoy! It's so good, we usually eat half a loaf as soon as they come out of the oven.  

*When considering what yeast to use, I suggest using the packets of active dry yeast if you don't plan on making bread often. If you think you'll make more bread, more often, it's more cost efficient to purchase a 1 or 5 lb. block of active yeast at your local GFS or Aldis.  I suggest a Fleischmann's brand over the Red Star brand, but it's all according to personal taste.  I've had several other friends who would agree that the Red Star brand tastes and smells much more "yeasty" than the Fleischmann's brand.  It's all to preference.  If you do end up purchasing a block of yeast, make sure you store it in your freezer in it's original bag inside a ziplock.  Light and moisture are the enemy when it comes to yeast!  Happy baking! 

Caramelized Pineapple

♥ Beginner
If you're looking for something tropical, sweet, a little smokey, and easy... I've got just the treat for you.  This treat makes a great appetizer for parties, or desserts for a lite treat after dinner.  I must suggest that if you are going to eat these for dessert, you should definitely pair it with a sweet vanilla bean ice cream.  It will rock your world!

What you'll need:

  • One Pineapple, chopped into 1/2 Inch wedges
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar

How it's done:

1. Preheat your oven to Broil. (500*F)

2. Lay the pineapple flat on a cookie sheet, and cover with the brown sugar.

3. Broil for 10 minutes, and then turn the pineapple over and broil again for another 5 minutes.

4. Let cool and serve!

Lady Finger Fancy!

♥ Beginner
Lady Fingers are the base for MANY great dessert dishes, including tortes.  I am planning on making a torte later on today, and didn't want to waste my hard earned $$ on a package or two of expensive lady fingers (especially when I already have all of the ingredients on hand at home). Okay, okay, it's really the thought of getting my almost-two year old in the car and traveling to the grocery store during nap time. No thanks! So I figured I would whip up a few batches and get them ready for my torte later on.

These little beauties only take about 30 minutes to make, even though it seems like there are a lot of steps.  Don't judge mine based on the photo, I left them in the oven 45 seconds too long and browned the edges a little more than I would have liked.  Your patience actually determines the shape and size of these fingers, and as you could tell I was just in a hurry to get them done.  There is a pan you can buy that shapes them for you, but I don't really see much sense in that since more than likely you'll be covering them with a custard or something else tasty. If you are interested, here's where you can get one.

What you'll need:
  • 4 Egg Whites, Large
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks, Large
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

How it's done:

1. Preheat your oven to 400*F, and butter your cookie sheet.  (You can use parchment paper, but I'm a fan of butter or shortening because they add a moisture to the bottom of the cookie)

2. Beat your egg whites to soft peaks, and add 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Move the egg whites to a separate bowl (I liked using my glass measuring cup).

3. Mix the remaining sugar with egg yolks until thick and almost colorless.  Remove bowl from mixer, and gently fold in HALF of the egg white mixture.

4. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture, and gently fold in.  Once completely mixed up, fold in the second half of the egg whites.

5. Put the mixture into a piping bag with a 1/2 in. tip. and pipe onto the cookie sheets. I suggest 2 inches long, but they can be as long as you would like.

6. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.  Let cool before removing.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sweet Granola

♥ Beginner
With all of the people right now who are on "diets" (I am not, obviously) I thought it might be nice to dedicate a treat to them as well.  Now I know that granola, especially this granola, isn't 100% diet material. This one has honey AND brown sugar so it's not for the serious dieter. However, it's still healthier than the usual cupcake or cake ball so I consider it a win.

I recently purchased some granola from a local supplier (my Green B.E.A.N. Delivery) and was pleased with the quality, but felt like I could make it even better. I'm a snob for a chunky granola, and even if you like a thin granola this is still perfect for you. If you would like to try a sample of it just post a comment below and I'll get some off to you.  Although, I will always suggest that you try making it yourself because I know you won't be disappointed.

What you'll need:

  • 2 C. Rolled Oats (2 Minute will be smaller oats, I prefer the original steel cut) 
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 C. Honey
  • 1/4 C. Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 C. Slivered Almonds
  • 1/3 C. Pecan Pieces
  • 1/3 C. Raisins
How it's done: 

1. Preheat your oven to 325*F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or if your cookie sheet is non-stick you can skip that step). 

2. Toss your oats with the cinnamon and salt in large bowl. 

3. Combine the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in medium size bowl. Whisk until completely combined. 

4. Pour oil mixture over the oats in the large bowl, and mix until combined.  Take some of the oats in your hands and make a fist to combine them.  Do this until all of the oats are covered. 

5. Lay the granola on the cookie sheet, and spread them out as much as you would like.  If you would like a fine granola, make sure you get rid of all of the chunks.  If you're like me, and you like a chunky granola, use a smaller cookie sheet so that it ends up being one large chunk of granola that you break apart in the size that you prefer! 
6. Bake for 10 minutes. 

7. Remove it from the oven and turn over the granola with a spatula.  Add the almonds to the top and return it to the oven for another 5 minutes. 
8. Remove it from the oven, and turn over again with your spatula.  Top with the pecans, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. 

9. Remove it from the oven again, and allow to cool completely. 

10. Once it's cooled completely, pour it back in a bowl and mix in the raisins.  (You could also add, dried cherries, dried cranberries, etc.) 

11.  I May have added white chocolate chips to mine... I'm a SUGAR ADDICT, OKAY?!?!?!! And it was pretty good, so hah! <~~ If you're a sugar hater or "dieter" then skip step 11. 

12. ENJOY!!