Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cheesy Warmy Goodness

For quite a long time my family has made these Cheesy Chicken Buns. They are the perfect make-ahead main dish for a party. They also make for great leftovers. The original recipe I have says to used canned chicken. Mmmm mmm ain’t nothing like some canned chicken. Gross. No thanks. I like to bake my chicken with lots of Seasoned Salt, Garlic Salt, and Pepper on it, then while it’s still hot – toss it in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment to shred of that chicken. Oh, you need to add ingredients? Toss in the rest of the stuff into the mixer – tada! Cheesy Chicken Mix!
This time I refrigerated it overnight before scooping it out onto hamburger buns (you can also use croissants). That made it extra hard to scoop with my ice cream scoop. Next time – just scoop it while it’s warm and it’ll be easier to spread.
Not much story here other than these are good – just plain good. Just don’t head up your leftovers in their aluminum foil wrapping, then you’ll have quite the story to share!

Cheesy Chicken Buns
2 lb cooked seasoned shredded chicken breasts
  (seasoned while baking with salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder)
8 oz cream cheese softened
2/3 c mayo
2 c shredded cheese
Scoop and spread onto croissants or hamburger buns. Wrap buns in aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 for 15-30 minutes until cheese is melt

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Boring photos - not boring recipe

If Andy can’t have tacos every night – then he’d toss fajitas in every other and make it a win. We have used this crockpot recipe a few times. Each time we make it – I think the pictures after are not that great and pass up writing anything about it. This time – enjoy the veggies that don’t look so crisp and the raw chicken. This recipe saves you time and makes a mean fajita!
The nice part is you can prep it all the night before in the crock – put it in the heating vessel (turn on said vessel) and when you get home – hot tasty fajitas.

Easy Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
1 lb of Chicken Breasts
3 Peppers (Green, Red & Yellow), sliced
1 Onion, sliced
1 Package of Taco Seasoning
Flour or corn tortillas
Toppings - sour cream, cheese, guacamole, etc.

Slice peppers and onions then place them on the bottom of the crock pot
Put Chicken on top of peppers and onions
Sprinkle taco seasoning on the top
Cook on low for 6-8 hrs (or high for 3-4)
Shred everything up and mix together
Serve with tortillas and all the toppings - sour cream, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, etc.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Healthy Eating: Brought to you by Cream Cheese and Whipped Topping

“Here try this dip and let me know what you think.” Simple words that caused all of us in the kitchen to stand around the fruit plate and stuff our faces with fruit slathered with yummy cream cheese dip that my mom mad. “It’s Ok because we are eating more fruit this way,” my sister-in-law said. True words!
My mom brought this fruit dip to my niece and nephew’s birthday and wow it was so good! I made it for Bronwyn’s birthday and I could still eat it by the spoonful with the leftovers in the fridge. I used lite cream cheese and lite whipped topping – ignore the rest of the fat, calories, and sugar – it helps you eat more fruit! Or cookies – oh, you could dip cookies in this too – or even carrots… maybe not carrots. But give it a try – it’s pretty amazing.

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Chill and served with fresh, cut fruit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sloppy curdled mess makes amazing frosting

I think I’m just making American Buttercream wrong. I just don’t like it. Maybe it’s the recipe I use. Probably. But when making Bronwyn’s birthday cake I wanted to try a different type of buttercream. Off to the internet to learn all about different buttercreams and how to make them. Who knew there were SO many kinds?
I settled on Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It seemed doable and not overly complicated.
Cooking the egg whites and sugar did not take long, whipping the egg whites until they weren't hot anymore? Took forever. I think my mixer motor was just as hot as those egg whites!
It was a warm day when I made it – and my butter might have been a touch on the soft side. After mixing for what seemed like forever – it was a giant sloppy mess. I stuck it in the fridge for 15 minutes praying it would come out OK.
Mixed it more – curdled! Yuck! The recipe says if it curdles, keep going – oh my poor mixer! I just kept going and magically I turned around – amazingly smooth buttercream! Wow! It was so pretty!
So word to the wise – don’t be afraid to screw this one up. It’s forgiving – you just have to have the patience for the forgiving parts.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yield: ~ 10 cups of buttercream
10 large, fresh egg whites (300 g)
2-1/2 cups (500 g) sugar
3 cups (680 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (20 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
Switch over to the paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If the mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Add additional flavours, purees, as desired.

*Keep in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
**Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
***If buttercream still doesn't have its satiny finish after rewhipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ears, Horns, Snowman and Twirls - sometimes the crazy works

“Don’t do it – you’ll regret it!” my dear friend told me about making fondant. I listened the first time. This time? I decided to give it a try. I needed to make a unicorn horn and ears for Bronwyn’s 5th birthday cake. I hunted for recipes but decided to go with the one that had all the ingredients and offered the least amount of work. I let my microwave and stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook) do all the heavy lifting on this one. What came out of my well-worked mixer was like fluffy amazing smelling playdough.
I was able to form several twisty horns and ears from the fondant and let them dry a few days. I used a variety of gold options but the Wilton Spray color by far was the winner. Now I know the secret to fondant!
And really… the snowman. What is the first thing you usually make out of playdough? For me? A snowman – so that was my go to with my extra fondant – a snowman. It had nothing to do with the unicorn cake – just for fun.

Easy Homemade Marshmallow Fondant – Microwave Version

4 cups marshmallows
4 cups powdered sugar (you will need extra for your hands and dusting the surface)
2 tbsp water
Food coloring and flavoring extracts (if desired)

Place the measured powdered sugar in a bowl and the marshmallows/water in a separate microwave safe bowl.
Microwave the marshmallows and water for 60 seconds.
Stir the melted marshmallows down and return to the microwave for 30 seconds
Slowly add the powdered sugar until it resembles fondant. Use a silicone spatula at first, then after it has cooled enough go for it with your hands.
Go to town! Shape it up! Roll it out and do what you do!
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