WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Oh.Em.Gee, you guys… October 31, 2011

Filed under: Favorites,Sweets — WannaBe Chef @ 9:27 am

Have you ever had the English dessert called Sticky Toffee Pudding?  Have you ever heard of it?  I never had until I saw a competition on the Food Network, years ago, where Haagen Dazs was trying to find the next best flavor.  Well, the winner was a woman who created a Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream.

According to Wikipedia:  Sticky toffee pudding is a British steamed dessert consisting of a very moist sponge cake, made with finely chopped dates or prunes, covered in a toffee sauce and often served with a vanilla custard or vanilla ice-cream [1].

I remember searching and searching for the elusive “limited edition” ice cream but never finding it.  I eventually gave up and forgot about it…. until…. I saw it again on the Food Network’s new show Sugar High (the dessert, that is… not the ice cream).  My obsession was renewed.  I had to find a recipe, and I had to make this.  As you may remember, I am not a baker, and after seeing such thigh-hugging ingredients as heavy cream, butter, and sugar, I put off making it for a couple weeks in hopes that my desire would fade.  It didn’t.  It was all I could think about.  Cake, made out of dates… toffee sauce… toffee sauce!  I caved, made it, and ate it.  It was everything I dreamed of and more.  It was quite possibly one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.  Do yourself a favor: pull out your inner Paula Deen, buy some heavy cream and butter, and get to baking!!

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

Click link above for recipe.  I followed it exactly, but I didn’t make the whipped cream.  Also, based on the reviews, I added a little salt to the toffee sauce and used salted butter for the cake and the sauce.  So I guess I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  The recipe does have a few steps, but it’s pretty simple.  Just a note, the batter will look like a hot mess and you’ll think “OMG why is it so watery and lumpy?  Was I supposed to drain the dates first??” but really, it will be fine.  Somehow, the watery mess bakes up into a beautiful, spongy, dark, golden brown sheet of delicious.

Oh, and mine only took about 28 minutes to bake (not 35), so keep an eye on it.

Oh, and use Medjool dates, not the cheap, dry, pre-chopped ones in the package.  Medjool dates are big and sweet and sticky and delicious.  They have a pit inside.  They are a little expensive, and they can usually be found near the produce section of the store, sometimes refrigerated.  They’re also delicious stuffed with a little peanut butter or a couple almonds.  I digress.  They look like this:

ENJOY, and thank me later 🙂

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Best salad ever October 26, 2011

Filed under: Salad — WannaBe Chef @ 10:05 am

Mmmmm, this salad was soooo good!  The picture is terrible, but trust me, this is a must-make.  The combination of sweet/salty, soft/crunchy, and warm/cold was just amazing.  I also recommend making lots of the buttered almonds.  They were the best part 🙂

Harvest Apple and Spinach Salad

Modified from Annie’s Eats  <—–Click here if you want an actual recipe.  I just threw our salads together and made a quick balsamic vinaigrette instead of the dressing Annie made.  I’m sure you could find any number of recipes for balsamic vinaigrette, but I just made some with balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil and sesame seeds.  I also added some chicken to make a heartier salad.

Salad Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Romaine lettuce (I like the added crunch.)
  • Feta cheese
  • Honeycrisp apple, chopped
  • Slivered almonds + butter + sugar
  • Chicken breast, diced and sauteed with seasonings
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Instructions:

  1. Combine the almonds with about 1 Tbsp of butter in a small skillet.  Cook until golden brown, stirring frequently.  Add some sugar, a couple teaspoons, and stir to combine.  I also added a pinch of salt.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Saute the chicken in the same pan with some olive oil and desired seasonings.  I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and grill seasoning.
  3. Assemble salads, top with balsamic vinaigrette or desired dressing.
 

Chicken sammies October 24, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Sandwiches — WannaBe Chef @ 9:41 am

I really dislike the word “sammie,” because all I ever think of is Rachael Ray saying it in her annoying voice haha.  However, I’m too tired to come up with another post title.  Wayne was gone this weekend to be in his best friend’s wedding in Michigan.  Macy and I didn’t go, and I was pretty bummed that we had to miss it, but that’s life.  He got back yesterday afternoon, so my grocery-getting happened later in the day than usual.  I usually make something that requires more time on Sundays, because I can, but I just wanted something quick this week.  Avocadoes and chicken were on sale, and I was in the mood for a big sandwich, so this is what I came up with….

Crispy Chicken and Avocado Subs

I really wanted these on french baguettes, but apparently if you go shopping after 3 pm, no baguette for you!  I did find these pretzel rolls, though, and they were pretty tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied and halved, pounded thin
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Panko bread crumbs, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Chipotle mayo (just combine mayo and chipotle and adobo in food processor to taste)
  • 2 pretzel rolls or french bread

Instructions:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge in egg, then bread crumbs.  Place in hot skillet with extra-virgin olive oil.  Saute until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.  Add a little more oil to the pan when you flip the chicken so it gets crispy on both sides.
  2. Place chicken on pretzel rolls with toppings.
 

Not even a recipe… October 21, 2011

Filed under: Beef — WannaBe Chef @ 9:49 am

I kinda can’t believe I’m posting this, but yes, this was our dinner last night….

Hot Dog Crescents

Ingredients:

  • 1 can reduced-fat crescent rolls
  • 4 bun-size beef hot dogs, halved
  • 4 slices American cheese, halved (optional) I actually liked them better without cheese.

Instructions:

  1. Open the crescent rolls and lay flat.  Place cheese slice and hot dog on top and roll up from large end to small.
  2. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 350 for a few minutes until crescents are golden brown.
  4. Serve with ketchup and mustard.
 

Chicken with mushrooms October 18, 2011

Filed under: Chicken — WannaBe Chef @ 10:52 am

Hello, peeps!  I’m trying to sneak this post in before Macy starts fighting her nap again, uuuggghhhh.  Anyway, I love mushrooms and so does Wayne, so this recipe seemed like a winner.  It turned out really well.  The chicken was moist, and the swiss cheese somehow made the whole dish taste like chicken marsala, but no wine was involved. 

A couple tips: if your chicken breasts are ginormous like mine, slice them in half width-wise to make thinner chicken cutlets.  They cook a lot faster that way.  I only used two large breasts to make four thinner ones.  Also, be sure to season your mushrooms and chicken well with salt and pepper.  Even though you’re using seasoned bread crumbs, it needs salt, trust me.  I served this with egg noodles, but rice would be good, too.  According to some of the reviews on the original recipe, you could try mixing the mushrooms with a can of cream of mushroom soup if you wanted a more “saucey” dish.

Chicken with Mushrooms
Another allrecipes.com recipe, slightly modified

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 – 8 oz packages sliced mushrooms
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 slices swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

Instructions:

  1. Spray an 8×13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil.  Season well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Spread the cooked mushrooms in the bottom of your baking dish and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in the skillet you cooked the mushrooms in. 
  4. Dredge the chicken in the beaten eggs, then the bread crumbs, and place into hot skillet with butter.  Saute both sides until browned.
  5. Place chicken on top of mushrooms, then top each breast with a slice of cheese.
  6. Pour the chicken broth evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.
  7. Bake until chicken is cooked through.  Mine took about 20 minutes because my chicken was pretty thin, but yours may take longer. 
 

Chow-duh October 17, 2011

Filed under: One dish meal,Soup,Turkey — WannaBe Chef @ 11:38 am

Happy Monday, folks.  So my last couple dinners have been kind of disappointing.  The teriyaki chicken thing-a-ma-bob was meh, and I made a meatloaf the other day that I’m not going to bother sharing because it was so boring.  Well, last night’s chowder made up for it! 

You’ll just have to take my word on its deliciousness, despite the not-so-great photo.  If I had an extra minute, I would have put some green onions or something on top to spruce it up. 

Corn Chowder with Sausage
Modified from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (I probably didn’t use this much.)
  • 1 pound turkey sausage
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (I used 2%)
  • 3 cups water
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water (You may need more if you want a thicker chowder.)

Instructions:

  1. In a soup pot, brown the sausage and onions.  Drain off excess fat. 
  2. Add the water, potatoes, evaporated milk and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer until potatoes are just tender.
  3. Stir in the corn and creamed corn and return to a gentle boil.  Stir in the cornstarch/water mixture and let the chowder bubble until thickened.  Adjust seasoning if desired. 
  4. You can let this simmer for up to an hour or two if you want.   
 

Teriyaki something-or-other October 14, 2011

Filed under: Chicken — WannaBe Chef @ 11:03 am

Hola!  So I’ve been MIA this week, sorry.  Wayne was out of town most of the week, so I didn’t do much cooking while he was gone.  Last night, I was excited to actually eat something that wasn’t a baked potato or sandwich.  I found this recipe on the allrecipes app on my new iPhone.  Honestly, it sounded a little weird…. cream cheese and teriyaki… casserole?  Hmm.  Well, the reviews were mostly good, so I decided to try it.  Well…. it was a little weird.  Definitely edible, and Wayne actually liked it a lot.  If you decide to try it, make sure your chicken is completely thawed.  I used partially frozen chicken, and it made the whole dish kind of watery.  It did set up once it cooled down, though.  Also, the chow mein noodles are a must!

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole  <—-Click link for recipe… the child is waking up, and I don’t feel like typing it out 🙂