Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake

Every once in awhile, we have a "Sunday nite thriller" dinner with our friends Tony & Andrea.  In the summer, this also includes a quick round of golf before we grill, but since it's the middle of winter...we ate & watched 60 minutes.  I know* sounds REALLY thrilling.

For dessert, I made this cake compliments of Our Best Bites.  A few things about the picture...I had to quickly make this cake so I didn't give the cake enough time to cool completely & I also didn't let the mousse set up long it started to melt & fall apart.  Also...I accidently cut into the cake before I remembered to take a picture (NOTE: the 3/4 empty glass in the background- clearly to blame), so thanks T-bills for rescuing this post*

But we all really enjoyed this cake even though it resembled a hot mess!

{Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake}
recipe compliments of Our Best Bites

1 package Devil's Food Cake
1 recipe chocolate ganache (see below)
Crushed Heath bars
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon cold water
2 Tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bake cake according to cake mix instructions in 2 8 inch round pans.  Allow to cool completely.  This can be done several days in advance; just freeze the cakes when you're done.

In a small bowl, combine gelatin & cold water & allow to stand for about 1 minute.  While gelatin is softening, bring 2 TBSP water to boil in the microwave.  Whisk into the softened gelatin & allow to cool slightly. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, whipping cream & vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks form.  Mix in gelatin mixture & refridgerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare ganache.

With a serrated knife, carefully slice the dome-ist part of each cake layer off so the layers are level.  Place one layer on the serving plate & spread about 1/2 of the chocolate mousse over the cake.  Sprinkle with Heath bits.

Place the second cake layer on top of the Heath bits.

Spoon ganache over the top layer, allowing it to drip down the sides.  Sprinkle with additional Heath bits & refridgerate until ready to serve. 

{Super Easy Chocolate Ganache}
Recipe compliments of Our Best Bites

8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
8 oz. heavy cream

Combine chocolate & heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 2 minutes & stir.  Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is fully melted & can be whisked & incorporated into the cream.  Be sure & scrape the sides & bottom to make sure you don't find any globby bits of chocolate when you start working with it. 

The ganache will thicken as it cools, so if it's a little too thin for you, hang tight & it will be ready pretty quickly.  When it's completely cool, it will be thick & fudgy & can be used like frosting.  Store in an airtight container.  You can reheat it to achieve your desired consistency.

{Recipes compliments of Our Best Bites}

Thursday, January 27, 2011

White Chicken Chili

Every Christmas, my family gets together to celebrate with our close family friends- the Halbersma's.  They are an amazing family & we all have a great time together.  My mother & Karen Halbermsa were college roommates...and have remained close friends throughout the years.  This past Christmas, we had soup for our supper & my mom made this chili.  It was so good!! 
So cheers* to my family, the Halbersma's & the great memories we made this past Christmas!

{White Chicken Chili}

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 onion; finely chopped
2 garlic cloves; minced
1 1/2 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 (7 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 can corn; drained
2 cans (14.5) great northern beans; drained & rinsed well
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon Frank's red hot sauce
3 Tablespoons lime juice
3 Tablespoons cilantro
Pepper Jack cheese; shredded

Salt & pepper chicken.  Mix onion, garlic, broth, cumin, oregano, green chilies & pepper sauce in slowcooker.  Add chicken.  Cook on low 4-5 hours.  Shred chicken & return to slowcooker.  Add beans, corn, lime juice & cilantro.  Cover & cook an additional 20 minutes.  Top with cheese & additional cilantro.

{Compliments of my wonderful mother*; christmas 2010}

*I'm gonna try

I saw these cute Valentine's Day cookies on I AM BAKER's blog.  How cute!  I'm going to do a test run of these today...Even the box they are sitting in is cake!!  I'm almost 100% sure I'm going to have to do about 1,000 test runs...but I'll stick with it :)

photo courtesy of i am baker

So hopefully they are done in time for Valentine's Day*

Monday, January 24, 2011

Apricot Glazed Chicken Breasts

This is the one meal we make the most at our house.  It's easy...I think even my hubby has this one memorized.  After a long weekend in Vail, having a great time with great friends* we were exhausted and wanted in easy, stand-by dinner. 

{Apricot Glazed Chicken Breasts}

4 chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper; to taste

1 cup Apricot preserves
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 Teaspoons red pepper flakes

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Prick chicken & season with salt & pepper.  Place in a ceramic baking dish.  Mix together all ingredients for glaze.  Pour over chicken.

Bake @ 350
  - covered for 50 minutes
  - uncovered for 10 minutes

Serve with rice.

Hawaiian Cheese Bread

My hubby & I had our friends Jeff & Shannon over for dinner this past week.  My hubby made ribs...they were delicious.  He cooked them for 4 hours in red wine before throwing them on the grill.  I couldn't stop eating them.  Bravo hubby!! 

I've had this bread recipe for awhile now...I've been waiting for an excuse to make it as my hubby & I don't need an entire loaf of bread to ourselves.  Ohmygosh...I can't say how great it is!!  I didn't even have a chance to take a picture of it because it was ALL gone.  I'm very satisfied with this recipe because it's exactly why I started this find great recipes like this one :)

{Hawaiian Cheese Bread}
Compliments of Taste of Home

1 loaf Hawaiian sweet bread
1 block swiss cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced onion
1/2 Cup butter; melted
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Teaspoon salt

Cut bread diagonally into 1" slices to within 1 inch of the bottom of the loaf.  Repeat cuts in opposite direction. Cut swiss cheese into 1/4" slices.  Cut slices into small pieces.  Insert into bread.  In sauce pan melt butter, add onion, garlic & salt.  Spoon over bread. 

Wrap loaf of bread in foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
Serve warm.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lettuce Wraps with Sweet & Spicy Sauce

This is a healthy meal that my hubby & I make pretty regularly.  I wanted to go out to eat tonight...but he talked me into staying in.  This recipe is adapted from a recipe that my aunt pulled out of the Grand Rapids Press in 2003. 

{Lettuce Wraps}

1 1/2 Pounds ground turkey (I use 93/7)
3 1/2 Tablespoons chopped green onion (white and green parts)
3 Cups green onion cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
2 Teaspoons seasame oil
2 Cups water chestnuts; minced
1/3 Cup La Choy sweet & sour sauce
1 Teaspoon garlic chili sauce
Salt & Pepper

Place meat in bowl & mix with chopped green onion, ginger, garlic & sesame oil.  Mix well with fork.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Spray large pan with cooking oil, place over medium high heat.  Add meat & brown.  Drain any residual liquid. 

While meat is cooking, make Sweet & Spicy sauce:

Combine La Choy sweet & sour sauce and garlic chili sauce (which can be found in most grocery stores in the asian isle)

Once meat is cooked through, move to one side of pan.  Add green onion pieces and water chestnuts.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add Sauce.  Cook until hot. 

Serve with large lettuce leaves such as butter lettuce or romaine.  Enjoy!

{Adapted from The Grand Rapids Press; 2003}

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Italian Beef Sandwiches {Continued}

Alright, so I got home from work this afternoon and the house smelled amazing!!  My hubby & I both enjoyed these sandwiches...but I must say I liked them more then he did.  I actually added my own twist to this recipe.  I thought we might like the "sauce" if it was a bit thicker, so I pulled some of the cooking liquid out of the slowcooker and put it on the stove.  I whisked in 2 TBSP cornstarch and it was such a yummy dipping sauce.  For the sandwiches, after I piled on the meat & cheese- I put them under the broiler...literally for 1 minute.  They were so toasty and yummy!  I hope you enjoy.  Thanks Steph!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Italian Beef

2-3 Pounds Chuck Roast
2 cans beer {I used Easy Street - we do live in CO afterall}
1 dry Aus Jus packet
2 italian seasoning packets
3 garlic cloves; minced
8-10 pepperoncini peppers
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
S & P to taste

Hoagie rolls
Provolone Cheese

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Make Sure the roast is covered with the liquid from the beer. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Shred the meat.  Serve with melted provolone cheese and aus jus for dipping.  Enjoy.

{compliments of Stephanie from The Rest is Still Unwritten...} 

Weekend Cookery

We've been so very busy lately!  I would like to say that I'm headed to the store here shortly and I am trying some new recipes this weekend.  Although I have yet to try them, I decided that I would list them here...

I read a lot of blogs, so these recipes are coming from some that I routinely read.  Tomorrow I'm trying Italian Beef Sandwiches compliments of Stephanie from "The Rest is Still Unwritten."  She's a Michigan gal just like I figure her recipes have got to be good & homey.  This is made in the crockpot, so I'm going to put it together tonight to make for tomorrow (I have to be to work at 7am.)

This afternoon, I'm setting out for the very first time to make my own cinnamon rolls.  My hubby loves, LOVES monkey I'm giving this version, compliments of "The Beantown Baker," a try:  Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting. 

I'll post the recipes shortly!!