Cake Pops and the like are all the rage these days it seems. Bakerella has a great site with tons of different ideas, if you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should! I recently helped out with two baby showers and decided to do pops for the favors. For the first shower, I used marshmallows and dipped them in melted white chocolate that I had colored pink and added sprinkles. For the second, I did a devil’s food cake pop, dipped in chocolate topped with sprinkles. For the record, the marshmallow pops are much easier and less time consuming! The cake pops taste yummy though – you might remember them from my previous post about cupcake balls – same idea, just a different presentation.
For cake pops, it’s pretty simple – bake a cake, cool it and crumble it. Mix the crumbles with a tub of frosting and roll into balls. Chill the balls and then dip into your desired melted, dipping chocolate. I recommend buying a regular semisweet baking chocolate and melting on the stove top with a little shortening over using the chocolate candy melts. This provides a thinner chocolate for dipping and I had way fewer disasters with this. The cake pops can be heavy, so the thinner the chocolate the better for dipping, lest you lose many a ball to the chocolate abyss.
I have been making this for years. I also use this same general recipe with Marsala wine and sometimes add a little cream. I like the simplicity of this recipe – makes it easy for a weeknight but I’ve also served it to company as well. We generally have it alongside fettucine alfredo and some sort of green vegetable like broccolini or a sauteed spinach.
4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts Steaks (or regular breasts pounded thin)
~1/3 Cup Flour, for dredging
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Coarse Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano (I have used Italian Seasoning as well)
3-4 TBS Butter
3-4 TBS Olive Oil
1 Package of Sliced White Mushrooms
1. Mix together flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a shallow dish.
2. Coat chicken pieces with flour mixture.
3. Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
4. Add chicken to skillet and brown on one side.
5. Turn chicken over, add mushrooms and sherry.
6. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes – turning chicken one during the process.
We decided to change up our ‘Taco Tuesdays’ last week and have nachos instead. I decided to do a homemade salsa with roasted jalapenos instead of using a jarred red sauce. We were happy with the results and it went well with the white cheddar cheese sauce I made for the nachos. We love the tang of lime with our Mexican dishes and this fit the bill, you may want to add a little less lime juice per your own personal taste. Aside from the roasting of the jalapenos, this is a very quick salsa to blend up for a weeknight. This recipe makes a lot so it can be used for several meals.
ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
4 Good Sized Jalapeno Peppers, halved and seeded
2 TBS Minced Garlic
1/3 Cup Chopped Onion
2-3 TBS Olive Oil
1 Small Bunch of Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/2 Cup + 3 TBS Chicken Broth
Juice of one lime
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Season peppers with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes. Ovens will vary but peppers should have some black char on them.
3. Place roasted peppers and all other ingredients in blender and blend until you have a smooth consistency.
4. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste – then you are ready to serve!
This is sort of a non-recipe, really. I started making my own yogurt a while ago because I am a little turned off by the amount of sugar in a small cup of store-bought yogurt, even the ‘light’ ones contain way too much sugar. To make my yogurt, I use a bit of plain, store-bought yogurt as a starter which leaves me with a whole bunch leftover – especially when the grocery store only has a quart of the plain stuff available! Yogurt cheese is basically strained yogurt. The straining process yields very creamy ‘curds’. I use yogurt cheese in many recipes, including this one, as well as eat it plain with granola a la Greek yogurt. It’s a good replacement for sour cream or even cream cheese. This ‘recipe’ is nothing earth shattering but for those of you who have never done it, I recommend it.
1 Quart Plain Yogurt
Cheesecloth (while not an ingredient, you’ll still need some!)
1. Line a colander with cheesecloth.
2. Put yogurt in lined colander.
3. You can either place the colander in the sink and let it sit overnight to drain OR place the colander in a larger bowl and let it drain overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Once all the liquid is drained out, you will have your yogurt cheese to use any way you wish. A quart of yogurt yields just over a cup of yogurt cheese, in my experience.
This is my take on the the Sichuan recipe for Ants Climbing a Tree. I adapted this recipe for what I had on hand and was very happy with the results. Most recipes for this dish call for cellophane/mung bean noodles and ground pork, neither of which I had on hand. I substituted angel hair pasta and ground turkey. Mr. Foodie does not care too much for cellophane noodles so the angel hair substitution was a good fit for him. He really enjoyed this dish and ate several helpings of it. Although I liked the ground meat with this dish and know that is part of the classic recipe, I also think the flavors would lend nicely to some thinly sliced chicken breast or even lean pork.
ANTS CLIMBING A TREE
8 oz. Angel Hair Pasta
1 lb. Ground Turkey
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1 TBS Sesame Oil
2 Tsp Cornstarch
6 Scallions, sliced
3 TBS Canola Oil
1 TBS Ginger Paste
1-2 TBS Minced Garlic (depending on your preference)
1 TBS Sriracha
3 Cups Shredded Cabbage
2/3 Cup Chicken Broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring salted water to a boil, add angel hair pasta and boil for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
2. Mix the ground turkey, with ½ the soy sauce, the sesame oil and scallions in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
3. Heat canola oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large skillet.
4. Add ginger, garlic and Sriracha to hot skillet and stir for about 30 seconds.
5. Add the turkey mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the cabbage and remaining soy sauce and cook for about 2 minutes, cabbage should be slightly wilted.
7. Add the pasta to the pan and continue to cook until turkey is cooked through.
8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover pan, leaving the lid ajar just a bit.
9. Lower heat to low and continue to cook until most of the broth is absorbed.