Monday, January 30, 2012

Freezer Files: Martha Stewart Mini Meatballs

Another installment of Freezer Files. See #1 and #2 for some more freezer friendly meal reviews. Up this time is another from the Freezer Friendly Foods Slide Show from Martha - Mini Meatballs:
Recipe here.

This was one of the first things I made to freeze. I made two batches, one to eat that night and another to freeze for later. Now to be honest, this was back in October, before the baby, so my memory might be a bit hazy. The recipe is pretty simple - just measure, mix, form into balls and bake or freeze.


Here they are all rolled up ready to be chilled.

Once chilled, I put them in a freezer bag labeled with the cooking instructions.


And here they are once I finally made them.

The Verdict: They were not my best. I have made all different recipes of meatballs before, and this was not one of my favorites. I just tried it because the other recipe from that article came out well. There was waaaay too much garlic - and I don't think I even added as much as I was supposed to. I also didn't taste the bacon. They weren't awful, just not the best meatball - I know I can do better. They were also pretty simple to make, so there's a positive. Next time, I will use another recipe, double it, and freeze half.

Things to Consider: Do not use all the garlic it calls for. I also made them a bit bigger so I didn't get as many as expected.

Anyone out there have a better meatball recipe I can try? Are there any from Giada?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Rollups

I am sure if you have ever browsed the Food pages on Pinterest, you have seen this image:
Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Rollups

The popular Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Rollups from ivillage. I decided to give them a whirl a couple weeks ago (I have a backlog of stuff to post about, this being one, but just haven't had the chance to get to the office computer to type them up!).


Mixing up the chicken/cheese mixture

Adding the filling and rolling them up.
 
All ready to bake!

Fresh out of the oven

Ready to eat!
 The Verdict: They were pretty good. A little too bland though, next time I would add some seasoning/spices to the cheese mixture. Joe would prefer it made with ground beef instead of chicken, so maybe next time I will try that and let you know how it comes out. The left overs also stored well and made a tasty lunch the next day!

Things to Consider: Once again I used my old standby, the rotisserie chicken. It saved me the step of cooking up some chicken breasts. Also, I was a little too skimpy on the filling in the first couple of rolls, so I got a couple extra out of the batch.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paula Deen Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Surprise, surprise! Every one's favorite southern butter lovin' cook announced she has Type Two Beetus (or "the sugar" as old people like to say). Can't say I am shocked, but I must have known something was up because I made these cookies a week or so before her announcement.


A bunch of my girlfriends have an annual "Wine, Cheese, and Dirty Santa" get together every year around Christmas. We eat, drink, and do a gift exchange/steal/thing. This year it was pushed back a bit to accommodate every one's schedule, but I think it was nice to have something to look forward to after the Christmas craziness. My lovely friends Mary Claire and Mary hosted - Hi Guys!

Anyway, I wanted to bring something sweet, but also wanted it to be easy. Anything that uses a box mix works for me! Of course my Stop and Shop had every kind of cake mix out there except chocolate cake. Need red velvet? They had it. Devils Food? It was there. Strawberry? Plenty of boxes. Chocolate? Nope. All I could find was this fancy stuff:


"Decadent", but not sure how it would work. But I gave it a try.


Mixing everything up.

Cover and refrigerate

Roll into a ball and cover in powered sugar

Fresh out of the oven


Sprinkled with additional sugar

Final Product


The Verdict: Pretty good. They didn't turn out "gooey" though. They were soft, almost cake-like, but not gooey as I was expecting. Not sure if its the recipe to blame, or the cake mix I used. I ate a ton regardless - they pair well with a glass of cold milk!

Things to consider: You might not want to make/eat them everyday, or you might wind up with the Beetus as well! :)

Check out what I scored (by stealing) that night:


These adorable measuring spoons and cups from Anthropologie. I have already used them a couple times! Thanks Jenn!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Valentine’s Day Cake Pops

This past Saturday, I used the 3 inches of snow we got as an excuse to stay indoors and waste time watching trashy television, reading a good book, and trying my hand at the Bake Pop again. This time I decided to go Valentine’s Day themed based on some of these pins I’ve seen:
babygizmo
Love from the Oven
So I gathered up my decorating supplies and got to work.


I went with Funfetti flavored cake because it’s a personal favorite. If you recall, last time I used the Bake Pop, I followed its recommendations of using milk instead of water and adding an extra egg. The result was an awesome looking cake bite but unfortunately, it tasted stale. This time, I just followed the directions on the cake mix box. The cake tasted a million times better but was a bit softer and more challenging to dip – but doable! In the future, I’m going to stick with the cake box directions.

Once the cake was baked and cooled, I melted a small batch of the candy melts. I proceeded to dip the end up the sticks in the candy melts and then in the cake to help them hold together. Then I threw the whole batch in the fridge for a few minutes.


The full box of cake mix made 36 Cake Pops. The first half I dipped in the pink candy melts and threw some themed sprinkles on them.


The second half, I dipped in the red candy melts. Something to note - the Bake Pop only comes with 18 sticks to use. The sticks they provide have the stopper at the end to help the cake stay in place. My second batch, I had to use plain old lollipop sticks and they were more difficult to work with. The cake kept slipping off.


I will say that I like the way the red candy melts covered the cake better then the pink ones. Overall, the red ones looked better. Also, it might not look like it in the picture below, but when I put the sugar crystals on the red cake pops, it looks like I covered them in glitter!


So there you have it - my Valentine’s Day Cake Pops- easy and super cute!


Please note, how low the candy is in that apothecary jar and I’ve already filled it twice since putting it out!


Sadly, I don't have a cake pop stand, so I had to just make due with what I had. I have seen some pins with DIY instructions on how to a stand. Perhaps you may be seeing a post about that in the near future.


What do you guys think? Have you tried your hand at any Valentine’s Day treats or d├ęcor recently? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Cupcakes

When I saw this pin for cannoli cupcakes, I just knew I had to give them a whirl. We all know how I love combining two sweets together. So, on Monday I gave them a go.

Food Network
Start by making the cupcake batter according to the directions.


Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, go ahead and make the cannoli filling. This is where I ran into some trouble….

The recipe says to beat the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar & vanilla for about 5 minutes. I beat the mixture for at least 8 minutes and it never formed into a creamy texture. I tried adding more sugar, it made no difference. I ended up just leaving it as is. Then I mixed in the mini chocolate chips.



Once the cupcakes are cool, you can fill them with the cannoli cream. I used a cupcake corer I purchased from Target (on sale!). The source site gives directions on how to core it with just a small knife. Once the cupcake is cored, fill it with the cream then put the top of the cupcake back on.


The final and easiest step is to make the whipped cream. Just beat the heavy whipping cream with sugar. Top the cupcake with a dollop and garnish with mini chocolate chips.

Another new plate from Grace

The Verdict: The cupcake portion of this recipe is delicious! One of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. (And I was extra nervous because I don’t have a good track record with recipes that involve sour cream). The whipped cream was great as well but that's hard to mess up. The cannoli filling however, left much to be desired. I couldn’t get the right consistency and it tasted bland. There wasn’t much to it. But overall the cupcakes were great. In fact, I just had a few for dinner right now!


Things to Note/Consider: The cupcakes take about 75 minutes from start to finish. Next time, I would use less ricotta cheese and more sugar for the filling. Also, I would suggest making the holes in the cupcakes a tad bit deeper then I did so that they can be filled with more cannoli cream. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing! I will definitely be making these again!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Bourbon Street Chicken

Another dinner recipe today - things have been pretty boring lately - nothing to bake or craft for! I decided to try this Bourbon Street Chicken from Big Oven since I loooove Chinese Food and it seemed similar. Making it at home meant I could cut back on the salt and hopefully some calories.

Source: Big Oven

I ran into a couple problems. I started cooking and realized I forgot to buy apple juice. No biggie - I would just add a touch more cider vinegar and supplement the rest with chicken broth. Well as I was adding the sauce ingredients, I misread 1 tbsp of vinegar and added the whole 1/4c (the amount of apple juice). Awful mistake. It burned my nostrils and the taste was in  my mouth as soon as I poured it in the pan. Joe said from across the room "Is it supposed to smell like that?" A double check of the amounts and I realized my mistake. Thankfully it was before we tried to eat it. So I started the sauce all over again. Here are my pics:

Sauteing the chicken

Making the sauce - without all the vinegar this time (but still no apple juice)!


Saucing up the chicken

Finished product!

The Verdict: Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. I don't really like spice of any kind, Joe isn't a fan of Chinese Food, and I thought I messed up the sauce royally without the apple juice. In the end, it didn't turn out bad. It was a little too spicy for me (I know its only a couple red pepper flakes, but still too much for me - I am a wimp), but Joe loved it.

Things to consider: Do not use a 1/4 cup of vinegar! But seriously - I am not sure how different it would be with the juice, but I would like to try it again to see if it's any better. I think Joe would like it if I made it more often.

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