Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cake Decorating - Course 2

Course 2 was about flowers, flowers and more flowers with a few borders thrown in. We learned the rose bud, victorian rose, violet, apple blossom, daffodil, pansy, primrose, mum and daisy. We also started working with royal icing. I am excited about the royal icing for cookies and some cake decorations, but I made all these flowers out of buttercream.

These were all the flowers we needed for our final cake in course 2:

The white plastic pieces that the flowers are sitting on are called flower formers. You put the flowers in them when they are wet so that when they dry they have a more natural curved look.

The basket weave was surprisingly easy and it looks really cool when it's done. The bluebird was made out of royal icing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mexican Night

I have been hooked on quesadillas lately. I have tried ordering them a few different restaurants, but it seems like they always surprise me with onions or the chicken is weird, so I think it's better to just make them at home. This recipe came from and it's very tasty.

Fiesta Chicken Quesadilla

4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup thin red bell pepper strips
1/4 cup thin green bell pepper strips
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1 tablespoon sliced green onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa

Heat oven to 450°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil. Spray both sides of each tortilla lightly with cooking spray. Place 2 tortillas on foil-lined pan. Sprinkle each with half of the chicken, bell pepper strips, cheese and green onion. Top with remaining 2 tortillas.

Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until light brown and crisp. Cut into wedges; serve with salsa.

Notes: I changed up the recipe a little bit and omitted the green peppers and I subbed taco sauce for the salsa and put the taco sauce in the quesadilla. It also tastes much better if you omit the cooking spray and just cook the quesadilla in a skillet on the stove. The oven turns the top tortilla shell very hard.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Recipes

Homestyle Chicken

Yes, you guessed it, it's another chicken recipe! My mom had clipped this recipe from somewhere and I saw it sitting at her house one day and decided to copy it. It was super easy to make and could pass as a healthy version of fried chicken. Next time I make it I will use the chicken breast tenderloins so they are more like chicken strips. The breading is really thin, so there didn't seem to be enough breading for a thick chicken breast.

1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp Lawry's Garlic Pepper (I couldn't find Lawry's, but found a McCorrmick one)
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (I would use the tenderloins instead)
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp oil

Spray foil lined 15x10x1 baking pan with cooking spray (coat it good!). Mix flour & seasonings in shallow dish. Moisten chicken with milk & coat evenly with flour mixture. Place chicken in pan and drizzle with oil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 min turning halfway through.

Pepperoni and Cheese Bread

I was hungry last Sunday and it was too late to eat a big lunch, but dinner was still several hours away. I remembered seeing this recipe on another blog and just happened to have all the ingredients on hand. For the bread I used the Pillsbury Italian Country bread (in a can). It was a little hard to roll out, so next time I might try just slicing the bread down the middle and stuffing it with the pepperoni and cheese.

1 roll refrigerated french bread dough OR 1 loaf frozen bread dough (thawed)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Egg wash (1 egg white, 2-3 tbs water)

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out bread dough and sprinkle with mozzerella and parmesean cheeses, place pepperoni (as much as desired) on top of the cheese. Carefully roll the bread dough into a cylinder shape. Pinch ends and top to seal. Brush top and sides of loaf with egg wash. If desired, top loaf with cheese, pepperoni, and/or Italian seasoning. Make a few diagonal slices in top of loaf for air to escape while cooking. Bake at 350 for ~20 min. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Take Two

I decided to try a couple of my previous recipes again to try to improve them.

Chicken Enchiladas

When I made the enchiladas a few weeks ago Scott and I both thought there was something missing. This time we made the Chicken Helper Cheesy Chicken Enchilada according to package directions with ground chicken. Then we rolled it up inside tortilla shells and placed in a 9x13 glass pan. Pour a can of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and then top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted. The rice in the Chicken Helper gave the enchiladas more substance and we both thought they were much better.

Soft Pretzels

I am determined to perfect the homemade soft pretzels. This time I still used the Trader Joe's pizza dough, but I brushed them with egg white before I put them in the oven and then again halfway through. I brushed them with a little butter right before they were done to give them more flavor. The egg white gave the outside the correct texture, but the dough is still not quite right. Next time I might try breadsticks, or something with a little lighter dough.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chicken Tacos

Tacos are probably a pretty common meal in most households, but most people don't think to use ground chicken rather than ground beef. I have gotten many people hooked on ground chicken and it is so much easier than cooking chicken breasts and shredding or chopping it. When I first introduced the chicken tacos to Scott, he had me make them so often that Laura won't eat them any more, and it used to be one of her favorite meals.

The ground chicken is sold in 1lb packages in the meat department by the chicken and turkey. You cook it in a skillet, just as you would ground beef and then add a package of taco seasoning and the water called for on the seasoning package. Then make your tacos as desired.

I have heard that ground turkey tastes the same as ground chicken and is good in tacos too, but I have not tried it. Ground turkey is supposed to be healthier than the chicken also.