My eyes are being opened a little in this beyond interesting, full-exposed book by Anthony Bourdain. I had only Hell's Kitchen to give me an idea of the entire subculture of chefs and others in the restaurant industry.
I'm loving it. I recommend it. I'm about 3/4 the way through and have a freaking huge respect for line cooks! But must say you'll get your fair share of four letter words and other descriptors.
Seriously, if you are interested at all in the culinary world you'll be fascinated by Kitchen Confidential.
Here's Week #2 of meal planning for me. It's been going well. We went grocery shopping on Tuesday and have been going strong since.
April 27 - May 2 Week #2: Pasta Time
Monday: FFY "Fend for yourself night!" Tuesday: TriColor Pasta with Veg Sauce (Hub) * We bought pasta and he just went with it! I worked late that night and came home to a great meal full of pasta, homemade marinara, garbanzo beans, carrots and minced garlic. Wednesday: Honey Chicken, Broccoli and Cous Cous (Me) * Baked chicken glazed with Shirley J All-Purpose Seasoning, honey and spicy brown mustard. We had sides of steamed broccoli and cous cous with craisins. Thursday: Pasta Primavera (Both of us) * This recipe is a favorite from the Better Homes & Garden Cookbook. We discovered it in our first year of marriage and we love it. You make a white sauce, choose any pasta and add asparagus and red peppers. It's delightful. Friday: Who knows! *AKA leftovers, sandwiches or go out. Saturday: Who cares! *Something easy or go out!
As promised I'm posting a yummy recipe for BBQ Chicken Salad. I got the idea from Anna Can Cook. She is one of the Home Chefs who sell Shirley J products and she is seriously a rock star. She posts so frequently and is using the Shirley J products, seriously every freaking day!
I love a little BBQ chicken. I love the sweetness, the tang and the fact that I know I'm going to be full after adding it to a salad. This recipe also caught my eye because it is similar to my fave salad over at California Pizza Kitchen! Yep, it has jicama! Yum yum!
Here's the recipe from Anna's blog adapted for my use.
Salad -chopped iceburg lettuce (any kind will do, this is what I had in my fridge) -1 can black beans, drained and rinsed -frozen corn, thawed (fresh is awesome in the summer!) -jicama -carrots -boiled egg -shredded mozzarella cheese -avocado (which I didn't have at the moment) -ranch dressing (I prefer BYU Creamery's Ranch or Homemade) - Lemon wedges - whole wheat tortilla strips (i make mine own in the oven with olive oil)
Mix the dry mix with water and vinegar. Place chicken breasts in crock post and pour bbq water mix over chicken. Cook on low for four hours or high for 2. Make sure to check if meat is done. Shred or chop chicken.
Prepare salad and top with chicken.
Did you notice my milk? Yeah, it was turned into Ovaltine!
Next Week: Honey Chicken Breasts using Shirley J All-Purpose Seasoning
Okay, I just got off the most amazing vacation of my entire life! I don't think I've ever eaten that much or seen such amazing food all in one place. But more on that later!
I thought I wouldn't want to eat any sweets... little did I know I'd come home and make my Daring Bakers recipe and TWD both in the same night. I have been dying to try the chocolate tart dough for months. So I had three little bites of each and here's what I thought of the tart:
Yum Yum! The shortbread crust is a keeper. The chocolate filling is yummy and makes me want to use it again to fill a cupcake. And I used Nielsen-Massey's Tahitian Vanilla in my whipped cream to top it all off....making the mini tart complete.
I have to admit, I can't give it a full review. but I will tell you the changes I made.
* I made six mini cheesecakes in the Wilton jumbo cupcake/muffin pan.
*I halved the recipe for the cheesecake, allowing me to enjoy more crust!
* I used Anna's Ginger Thins for the crust
* I substituted half the sugar for brown sugar in the cheesecake part.
* I used dark brown sugar in place of regular sugar for the crust.
* I used Nielsen-Massey Mexican Vanilla in the both components of the recipe
I loved these changes! Though I just tasted the cheesecake right out of the oven I can already tell it is great. The crust has such a deep flavor to it! I'm telling you the combo of the Mexican Vanilla, Gingersnaps and dark brown sugar is a winner! I'll keep you posted on how it tastes when we eat the others tomorrow! (It's going to be hard to surpass Dorie Greenspan's Tall & Creamy Cheesecake I made a while ago.)
So please forgive me, my friends, for this late post!
I'm learning how dedicated I am to this blog and to this baking hobby of mine. Within 24 hours of being home I have:
* Visited The Chocolate Cupcake Cart at Orem's University Mall * Made this Cheesecake * Made the TWD recipe
Actually, all those things were done in the last 10 hours. (of course all after a day of work) I'm not complaining. I wouldn't do these things if I didn't love them. It's just funny I found myself saying "I've got to catch up on my baking!" (Who says that?)
My dear friends I have returned from paradise! I just spent 10 marvelous days in the Tahitian Islands. 7 of which were on the luxurious Paul Gauguin Cruise Ship!
My adventures included:cruising, para sailing, dolphin watching, eating, soaking up the sun, buying Vanilla beans, visiting a pearl farm, hiking in Moorea, snorkeling every single day, eating, devouring French pastries, going on an Aqua Safari (which included walking along the ocean floor with a french baguette tied around my neck so the fishes would stay with me!), riding cruiser bikes around Bora Bora, chasing wild chickens, eating, laying out, sleeping, reading and much much more!
Okay, I know I told ya I would be showing the BBQ Chicken Salad made with Shirley J's BBQ Crockpot seasoning...but I don't have the pix with me at the moment.
So I'm going to show you some bread I made using Shirley J's new bakery mixes!
I just used the Shirley J Honey Wheat Bread Mix. I divided the batch in half and made like 16 rolls and one giant loaf of bread. Here's how I made em!
Shirley J Honey Wheat Bread
Yield: (3) 1 pound loaves or 3 dozen rolls
6 cups Shirley J Honey Wheat Mix
2 1/4 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
2 TB Instant Dry Yeast
1. Dissolve yeast in water
2. Add Honey Wheat Mix to water and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. If using an electric bread mixer with dough hook, mix on second speed for 10-20 minutes or to full development.
3. Cover dough with cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.
4. For bread: divide into 3 pieces, shape into loaves, place into well greased bread pans. Let rise in pans until dough is approximately 1 inch over top of pan, about 30-40 minutes. For rolls: divide into 36 pieces and place on baking sheet until dough has doubled in size.
5. Cover dough with cloth and let raise.
6. Place in preheated oven. For bread: 400 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes. For rolls: 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and butter tops, if desired.
**Dough is thoroughly developed when you can pull off a small piece (size of a half dollar) and pull it to form a paper thin sheet.
Here's the recipe in pictures!
3 ingredients to start out!
yeast in water.
i guess i forgot to get a pix of all the ingredients together before mixing. please enjoy this photo. it is my favorite photo at the moment!
dough before it rests for 15 minutes
dough after it rested and rose a bit :)
dough seperated into loaf and rolls. (i could have done a prettier job..i have since discovered a great way to make pretty rolls. there is even a video on it...shoot where was that?)
ready to go in the oven!
yum yum! all done.
Next Week: Hopefully BBQ Chicken, but no promises :)
Tahitian Pure Vanilla Tahitian vanilla beans are known for their aromatic, fruity, cherry, anisic-like flavor profile. Tahitian Pure Vanilla is especially symbiotic with fruit-based products such as fruited yogurt and sorbet. Due to limited availability, Tahitian Vanilla may be difficult to locate.
my girl lynds. has an awesome new blog and etsy shop! it's called The sTationary Place and it's pretty cool. (this post has been sitting in my drafts forever. i'm such a bad friend! :( ) anyway, she is having a give-a-way. so go check it out. i'd love to win the blue rainbowy card to the above! Check out her other creations below!
I'm attempting to officially meal plan. I figure if I can plan cupcake and Dorie baking successfully then I can plan meals.
(Besides, I usually do plan...I just don't stick to it or document it very well. ) I usually say I'll make a certain meal during the week and not pick a date. I'm a spontaneous kinda girl so if I don't do things on a certain date I don't freak.
Keep in mind I only cook like 2-3 times a week. There are just the two of us and sometimes we don't get to dinner until later. You know...those things called jobs and working out don't get us in the kitchen as early as we'd like to be. Plus, I really don't need an excuse as to why I cook "x" amount of times a week.
Week #1: April 12 - 18
Sunday: Din Din with Fam * I did made rolls for Easter Supper.
Monday: FFY "Fend for yourself night!"
Tuesday: Grilled Salmon & Lemon Asparagus (Hub) * Inspired by Cook's Illustrated article on perfecting grilled salmon! * We also have a ton of asparagus and lemon that we need to use up.
I've used it various times already for lentil or beef stuffed peppers, marinara sauce and pizza sauce. But today the hub and I decided to make burgers. Here's the recipe.
And by the way my meal cost $4.20 total! That's right. I got the beef and asparagus on sale! A meal for two peeps under $5...now that's what I'm talking about!
Spicy Italian Burgers
Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 TB Shirley J Pizza & Pasta Seasoning Pinch of Kosher Salt Pinch of Ground Pepper
Directions: Mix seasonings, minced garlic and ground beef together. Form four patties. Heat up pan on medium to high heat. Drizzle with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Grill patties to your liking. At home I like my meat well done.
Serve with desired condiments and yummy veggies!
My notes: We made these patties way too thick for my liking. I'd even say make 5-6 patties with the pound of meat if you like a thin patty. The seasoning was very yummy and we put ketchup and sweet hot mustard on them. I "forgot" to pick up buns (I was cleansing) so I just had them with asparagus.
Next week: BBQ Chicken Salad using Shirley J BBQ Slow Cooker/Dutch Oven Seasoning!
Another seller for me was the fact that the prep time is was only 15 minutes! I will say that even though the recipe was simple I had some hiccups. The food processor was not working for some strange reason so I had to use my magic bullet. Thank goodness it all worked out.
We had friends over tonight to watch Biggest Loser and um...yeah we ate chocolate cake while the contestants had their last chance workouts. :)
Did you make anything to celebrate Passover or Easter?
Here's what I made for my little Sunday School peeps:
A Giant Easter Cookie Cake!
It was incredibly easy and super delish!
I made a chocolate chip cookie using a basic cookie mix and added hershey's dark chocolate chips, ghiridelli's semi-sweet chocolate chips and guitard white chocolate. (just leftovers from other cookie and cupcake recipes)
For Today's Shirley J Wed-nes-day (see it rhymes!) I wanted to give the White Cheddar Cheese Base a try. On Sunday, my husband was craving some macaroni and cheese and set out to make it using a Shirley J product. He decided on the White Cheddar Base, so I'll be sharing his recipe.
First let me tell ya a little bit about the White Cheddar Cheese Base. This add-water base is very similar to Shirley J's flagship product, the Signature Cream Soup Base in purpose...it just has a different flavor profile with an exceptional White Cheddar taste! You can make anything from soups to gravies and sauces to mac and cheese! It's super easy and best of all it doesn't break or curdle when you make it, reheat it or freeze it!
The Hub's 3 Cheese Mac n' Cheese
Ingredients:2 cups water 1 cup Shirley J White Cheddar Base 12 oz elbow macaroni 1 onion, diced 1 TB butter 1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese 1 cup mozzarella cheese dash of red pepper flakes 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
Prepare macaroni, according to directions and set aside.
Mix water and Shirley J White Cheddar Base in mixing bowl. Set aside. Grill onions in butter in a large saucepan. Add Shirley J and water mixture to onions.
Reserve 1/4 cup of both cheeses, equalling a 1/2 cup of cheese. Add in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bring to a boil and let thicken. Once mixture boils quickly turn temperature down.
Pour noodles and cheese mixture in casserole dish and mix together. Add red pepper flakes and stir in. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
The Hub thought he would have liked it better if we would have added Parmesan. Mozzarella was not his cheese of choice, he just used it because that is all we had. With that said it worked with mozzarella and he loved it! (yes he had thirds)
Becky's Thoughts: I really liked this dish. I loved the white cheddar flavor that came out and the onion flavor. I really think the base complimented the onion. The noodles were the perfect texture. If I were to make this myself I would have added a bit more or the red pepper.
The hub is super excited about building off this recipe and experimenting with mac and cheese. Anyway, happy Shirley J Wed-nes-day!
Next week: Spicy Alfredo Sauce (that I was supposed to post last week) or Honey Wheat Bread from Shirley J's newly acquired bakery line!
I'm a huge-mongo fan of lining my cookie sheets when baking. Lately I've had internal battles on which is better to use.. Silpat or Parchment Paper?
On the one hand a Silpat can be used over and over again and maybe you save in the long run. But with Parchment Paper you can just throw the mess away and not worry about clean up...and you can use it for lining your cake pans. I use both but am wondering...