Chicken Pot Hand Pies and some other stuff.

I know I’ve been a little absent the past couple of weeks. We took a family vacation down to San Diego, a trip that included a lot of firsts for the girls. First plane ride, Sea World, first wedding, just to name a few! We ran the girls around and exhausted them, but we had a lot of fun! We were flying down to see my college roommate get married, I love the fact that while we don’t talk everyday and haven’t seen each other in 10 years (!!!) we can still get together and have a wonderful time. I’m touched that she thought of us and included us in her beautiful wedding to a wonderful guy. On a side note, when we were roommates in college, we regularly played tricks on each other. I recall one time she put a used toothbrush that SHE FOUND in my backpack. Imagine my horror on finding that in the middle of class when I was innocently reaching for a highlighter. My senior year, while my parents were visiting to watch my dance ensemble performance, my mom gave me some flowers in a rather hideous vase. I’m sorry, Mom, it was so sweet of you to give me flowers in a point shoe shaped vase! This vase became an inside joke between L and I and we ended up hiding it in each others stuff, houses or care packages to each other. I shipped it to her years ago and assumed it was long gone until I found it in my suitcase. Damn it! I know she had help from my husband, I feel so betrayed. Yet I feel so loved that L kept that ugly vase for all these years and moves. It must say something about our relationship or perhaps it speaks more to the lengths we will go to, to get back at one another.

M posing with the vase. If any of you have any dastardly ways I can get this back to her besides in a package please tell me!

Here’s a few of my favorite shots from the trip.

First airplane ride!

Sea World

Wiped!

My view for breakfast the night after the wedding. Amazing!

Of course after you return home from your vacation, you then naturally feel like you need to go on vacation again as you’re stuck washing clothes, unpacking, trying to get back on schedule and a bevy of other things. Not to mention we only had one day to recover before we sent the girls to school! Yes, school, minus commuting time, that is 3 hours all to myself! Squee! Not like I have a problem filling the time, it goes by in an instant! Now I’m subjecting you to shots of the twins on there first day. Bear with me, proud mommy moment!

First Day!

I actually managed to get a few Pinterest recipes done this last week even though we were in California for part of it. So here is an abbreviated version of my weekly pinterest round up. Fall is upon us, so I’ve been craving soups, stews, slow cooked meals and crusty freshly baked bread. Even though the day was warm, I decided to try this slow cooker Sausage, Bean and Pasta stew that I pinned. This link will take you to the pin.  The prep for this stew was super fast and required no precooking, a pet peeve of mine when it comes to slow cooking anything! The only thing I didn’t like about the stew is that is sucked a lot of the flavor out of the sausages, leaving them a little bland. Still I would make it again, it tasted even better the next day.

Yum, fall soup and bread and it’s only 91 degrees outside.

To go with the soup I wanted to make a loaf of bread and I’ve been dying to make some bread in my dutch oven after I saw a person I follow on instagram post pictures of her amazing results.

My instagram version

I pinned the website she used for the recipe and have been waiting for it to cool down a bit. I was also  little intimidated by the recipe because it rises at room temperature for over half a day, which requires a lot of pre-planning on my part. I ended up mixing the dough at 10pm the night before I needed it and baked the next day at 11am and literally pulled the thing out of the oven, threw it on a cooling rack and raced out the door to pick up the girls. Simply So Good blog has several variations on a wonderful recipe. I went with the cranberry, almond and orange route, but substituted in dried cherries which I’ve been really into lately! Here’s my photo progression of a very successful pin!

Only a few ingredients!

Before

After

Mine wasn’t very round because I just plopped it in the pot, but I was going for rustic!

Look it worked!

The bread really was so delicious. The blogger has some wonderful looking variations with add ins like gruyere cheese, lemon zest and rosemary. That savory version would have gone better with the soup, but the husband wanted the other one.

Now finally on to my Chicken Pot Hand Pies. This recipe can really be used to make a standard chicken pot pie, free form hand pies, muffin pan pot pies or whatever else you can dream of. The way I made them today I ended up with some extra filling, which you can use to make more chicken pot pie, freeze for later or perhaps use as a filling for the biscuit muffins I did a few weeks ago. I made a recipe of Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe, which makes enough dough for two crusts. If you’re making hand pies you may want to make a 1 1/2 times recipe. Feel free to use store bought dough as well!

Comfort food on the go.

Chicken Pot Pie (Hand Pies and beyond)

Crust

Pate Brisee recipe via Martha Stewart (you can double this if you want to use all your filling if making hand pies)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
  2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Filling

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used 4 small)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and rough chop
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 boullion cube or like item (I like Better than Boullion)
  • 3-4 cups pre-cooked chicken (I use the breasts from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

Put broth in a sauce pan, add boullion and heat to a simmer. Add chopped potatoes and cook until almost tender but still slightly undercooked, 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent but not brown, 10-15 minutes. Add flour to onions and butter, stirring constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes, until the raw flour odor goes away. Pour in the broth/potatoes into onion mixture. Cook until mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Season with 1 t of salt and a dash of pepper. Add in 2 T of heavy cream (it adds a wonderful richness, you know in addition to that stick of butter.) Add in carrots, chicken and peas. This makes a chunky filling, you can add more broth if you want. Feel free to throw in your favorite vegetables. Sometimes we throw in edamame or whatever else we have on hand.

1. Onions in butter 2.Broth and potatoes 3.Broth mixed in with onion mixture
4. Finished filling

Take filling off heat and let cool. This is a pretty important step. If you put the hot filling on your pie dough (you know like I did) your dough can become misshapen and tear. If I was more on top of it, I would have pre-made my filling earlier as well as my crust. That way working with colder components, the crust would have baked up a little better.

Preheat you oven to 425 degrees and quickly roll out your dough. You can either make a single large pot pie, free form hand pies (rolling, cutting the dough into rectangles add filling and fold over before sealing) or try one of those handy kitchen gadgets that crap up our kitchens, but actually worked surprisingly well!

1. Cutting pie dough with unnecessary but totally awesome hand pie accoutrement 2. Forming pie
3. Post pressed pie 4.Ready to bake

Lay on your Silpat or cookie sheet lined with parchment, brush the pie with cream or a beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes for hand pies or 30 minutes for a single pie.

Voila! You will notice the star shape that was on my pie mold, completely baked out of the pie. My dough and filling were way to warm.

Have a great week!

Weekly Pinterest Successes and a Fail Update

Today was the last day of volunteering at my church garage sale, what a ride! I have to say it was a lot of hard work but any excuse to organize crap that isn’t my own is a win in my book. Now, since I’m all motivated and on an organizational high, let us hope that I can use it on the garage and my craft room.

Remember the seed bomb project I did a few weeks ago? I wasn’t sure if it would be successful because some of the seed bombs had started molding. I was testing them for a friend as a possible wedding favor. Well I planted a couple of the moldy ones and guess what happened?

It grew! Success!

We ended up making another couple of batches and added less water, making it almost a damp crumble, but still easy to roll into a clay ball. Over two hundred seed bombs later, three people and staying up till almost 3am, we got them all done and packaged up. So I would say this Pinterest project became a success!

All done!

I had a meeting for Demarle at Home this week, which means cupcakes. I always bring cupcakes, sometimes a cake, but if I don’t show up with something they may not let me in! Not really! I really do it for selfish reasons, I love to bake and I love to see people enjoying my food. So I’m not doing them any favors really, all my guinea pigs and food testers are helping me. I’ve been eying a particular cupcake recipe on Pinterest, but was waiting for blueberry season. So here is the  link to the wonderful recipe for lemon blueberry cupcakes with a lemon curd filling and a mascarpone frosting from There Goes Cupcake.

Get in my belly!

I only changed a few things, and got a yummy cupcake. This is a big recipe and will make 2 dozen cupcakes. I ended up baking a pan of 20 mini muffin cupcakes and about 10 full size cupcakes. I followed her cupcake and frosting recipe and I made a 1.5 version of the lemon curd. She suggested doubling it if you like a lot of filling, but it would have taken 12 egg yolks and I had to leave a few eggs for breakfast!

Lemon curd at proper consistency, coats a back of a wooden spoon.

I had leftover lemon curd anyway and no complaints from me. It took all my self control to not eat it with a spoon…in front of my fridge…with the door open. I also had a lot of leftover frosting, since my family was visiting, I thought I would bake a cake mix cake and fancy it up with some of my leftovers yummies. When I made the lemon curd, I sieved it and was left with a pile of candied lemon zest. I saved it and added it into my cake mix giving it a little extra zing. I also beat the heck out of my cake mixes in my stand mixer, waiting until they turn pale yellow before I bake them. I think it gives them a lovely pound cake like texture. Pour, bake, unmold, slice in half, fill with lemon curd, decorate with leftover frosting and raspberries! Delicious!

Homemade frosting and filling do so much for a cake mix!

The last Pinterest recipe I made this week was lemony shrimp salad with couscous, I ran out of regular couscous and had to sub in the dreaded Israeli couscous. Luckily my twins know not to stick it up their noses now, they have not forgotten the extraction balloon up the nose. For this recipe I cooked the couscous in boiling water for a few minutes until tender and mixed in with the remaining ingredients. It was super fast and delicious. I would definitely make this one again, but I would suggest making it a day ahead of time  or earlier in the day so the flavors have time to absorb. The leftovers were great, so much in fact that I forgot to take a picture of it, we ate it too fast!

Wish me luck this week, I will be watching my nephew all week, as well as my twins and then my sister (who has Downs syndrome and needs constant supervision)  later this week and all weekend! It will be a rambunctious full house here this week! Let us hope I can get some of them to nap! Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Pinterest Successes

This week has been an interesting week to say the least. My husband has been taking vacation and staying home with the kids while I go to our church to volunteer. Definitely a reversal of roles, but he’s been keeping the girls busy by taking them all over the place, even a three mile trek one day. That’s a lot for little three year old legs!

I’ve been busy at our church, sorting through piles of items donated for our garage sale benefiting a school in Haiti. I’ve been coming home tired and dirty. So it’s a miracle that I have any Pinterest projects to show for myself!

A couple few weeks ago I tried a recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny for some amazing beef short ribs. I thought I would try another of her recipes for a Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream, which she posted over at the Food Mentalist. While the flavor of the finished dish was good, I had a couple issues with the preparation, mainly the addition of a flour after most of the sauce was made. Against my better judgment I followed the directions and was left with some gummy flour lumps in the sauce, not so cool. The girls didn’t like the dinner at all, I did, but I’m not sure I would make it again as is. That same night I had to process an entire flat of raspberries and few pounds of peaches. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t had to wait for my husband to get home from a much needed man date with his brother. I was completely our of jars and he had to make a late night trip for them on his way home. Let’s just say my head didn’t hit the pillow until 2am, but I did have 4 pints of chocolate raspberry sauce and 5 pints of natural fruit raspberry peach amaretto spread. Yum!

So you know those taco cups from my last post? Yeah, I made them again this week. They’re just so tasty, plus I still had some won ton wrappers that needed to be used up. I did try something new, a Mexican stuffed pepper with quinoa and black beans. I thought it was delicious, the kids frowned on it (they’re three, what do they know!) and my husband thought it was good until he realized it had quinoa in it. I’ve been trying to sneak it in his diet more, but the texture always gives itself away to him. Despite my family’s oppositions, I thought it was a great vegetarian, low carb dish.

Yummy and healthy!

The last thing I was able to squeeze in this week was a banana pudding for a crowd. I only pull this one out when I know there is going to be a lot of people there to eat it! I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of bananas. Then last summer when my husband and I went to NYC we went to Magnolia bakery, famed for it’s cupcakes. I don’t even remember what I ordered on our first visit, I do remember ordering my husband a slice of banana cream pie. He gave me a bite and I about died it was so good. Later on our second and third visits we opted for the banana pudding which they just scoop into pint containers. Anything that is made and served from a huge rubbermaid container that I would store things in under my bed is a win in my book. They must go through pounds of stuff. Once we returned back home, I immediately hit google up for the recipe, found it and pinned it. I was shocked by how easy it was. Not to mention, the real secret to a good banana pudding is using a vanilla pudding base and fresh bananas. Never depend on your banana flavor from an artificially flavored powder!

Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding

Serves a lot or 12 really hungry people

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ cups ice cold water
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!) I buy two boxes, you will need them!
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas I don’t bother measuring. I just cut them up as I need them, it helps prevent premature browning.

Getting ready to assemble.

In your mixer or using a hand mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover with plastic wrap, keeping it flush with the pudding to prevent a skin and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. You really need to let the pudding set. If you’re a gambler, you can refrigerate for 15 minutes and then put in the freezer for 15 minutes and then use.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

Gently fold the whipping cream and pudding together.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. I opt for a big round rubbermaid container. It’s not as pretty, but I’m usually transporting this to a big event. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas(I just slice these as I go) and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (or slap that lid on) and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours – before serving. The pudding does need the 4 hours. I tried to rush it and the cookies weren’t all the way tender. After 8 hours the bananas start to brown, making them a little unsightly, but most people won’t care. They’ll be too busy stuffing their faces, seriously, they will.

Just give me a spoon.

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Weekly Pinterest Wrap Up, only one day late.

What a busy weekend and it’s only going to get busier this coming week! Last weekend I was finally able to tackle my dining room closet. Do you remember that episode of friends where Chandler breaks into Monica’s storage closet and finds a huge slobby mess? Yes, that’s me. Don’t judge me to harshly.

Ack!

Less than 24 hours later, demoed, spackled, painted and new system up!

Ahh! It’s not even full!

I’m volunteering at our annual church garage sale and I’m using the term garage sale loosely. It’s huge and it takes lots of help to get that thing put together. For me it lets me volunteer a bit for a good cause and it gets me out of the house, which is good for my sanity. Today was my first day and when I came home, I was treated with, “Hey mom, you’ve been gone all day so we’re going to concentrate the whole days emotions in a couple of  hours.” Ugh. The twins are finally in bed and asleep. My husband is on a man date with his brother, something he doesn’t get to do very often. The house is quiet, so enter the click clacking of my laptop keys.

Last week was a busy week for Pinterest inspired recipes. The first was my cauliflower pizza crust, detailed in my last post. Tuesday I took to girls to Mt Tabor park with the ladies and we enjoyed alfresco dining, wine and the Vagabond Opera. Everyone, brought a little something, my friend over at Lula Harp, brought an Israeli couscous salad. I have a history with Israeli couscous. Formally it was a delicious easy meal, then the twins decided it would be a good idea to stick some up there noses. Enter a late night urgent care visit with both girls, oh, and my husband was away on business. I was not pleased, Lula can’t stop laughing about it. I brought some chocolate cake and my pinterest recipe, taco cups. The first time I made the taco cups I misread the directions and made them in full size muffin cups, so they were a little flat. This time I made them in my Demarle mini muffin pan and they turned out wonderful! I topped them with avocado tossed with lime juice, sour cream and cilantro. They were perfect bite sized picnic snacks!

Yum in a cup!

Another Pinterest recipe wasn’t really a specific recipe as much as a lovely looking picture, this one to be exact.

How amazing does this look? (photo by Proud Italian Cook)

I picked up some Walla Walla sweet onions from the farmers market and grilled them then and doctored them up ala Proud Italian Cook with some basalmic, and Gorgonzola. Delicious!

The last recipe I got off Pinterst months ago and have changed it around to suit my needs. Last Wednesday we were greeted by a dreary gray day and I was struck with a yearning for Fall. I know, it’s not even August yet, but I’m so ready for pumpkins, colder weather, apples, cinnamon…

So I was inspired to whip up my Baked Potato soup. It’s so comforting and the whole family just slurps it up!

Top with your favorite baked potato fixings. I like cheddar cheese, green onions and turkey bacon.

Baked Potato Soup

  •  6-8 gold potatoes varied sizes (peeled and cubed)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • toppings of your choice

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, melt butter and cook onions and garlic until softened. Add potatoes and chicken stock, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency. Pour in the milk and cream and mix to combine. Salt and pepper to taste, you can also add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like some heat! Heat through and serve with toppings of your choice!

An immersion blender makes this so easy. I also like to precook and cut all my toppings ahead of time and serve them in the storage dish for an informal dinner.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower pizza goodness.

You might have seen cauliflower pizza crust recipes online or on Pinterest a lot lately. Originally I found this recipe on Pinterest and have been fiddling with it ever since. A cauliflower crust is a wonderful gluten free, low carbohydrate option and is so subtle in cauliflower flavor that it will please any picky eater. Like my three year old twins! Any toppings you normally like to put on your pizza will work on this one.  I do have to admit that the preparation can be a bit messy. If you opt to grate your cauliflower, it kind of goes everywhere, I had bits of cauliflower sprinkled on the floor, much to Chloe, the dacshund’s pleasure. I opted for a double recipe this time and used the entire head of cauliflower. I made a round pizza for myself and I used the Demarle goldfish tray for special fish shaped pizzas for the girls.

See, waiting for more.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Makes one 9″ pizza, I usually double the recipe and make one big rectangular pizza or one round and cute shaped mini pizzas for the kids.

CRUST:

  • 1/2 LARGE head cauliflower (or 2+ cups shredded cauliflower)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheese of your choice. I like the a blend of Mexican cheeses or cheddar. (or try another kind!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper

Top with your favorite toppings. I’ve tried Hawaiian and turkey pepperoni , both were super yummy.

Directions:

1. Shred the cauliflower into small crumbles. You can use a food processor if you’d like, but I think grating is the way to go.You’ll need a total of about 2 cups or so of cauliflower crumbles (which is about half a large head of cauliflower. If you have a Demarle round mold and an octagonal Silpat, place the crumbles in round mold, cover and microwave for 4-5 minutes. If using a conventional bowl, place the cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes. If you do not have a microwave, you can steam the whole florets and then grate them after they cool. This will change the texture, making it more of a puree. It will still taste yummy! Give the cauliflower a chance to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare you cookie sheet with nonstick spray. I like to use a Silpat or a Demarle flexipan, neither need cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix the cauliflower and the remaining crust ingredients. Pat the “crust” into a 9 to 12-inch round on your prepared pan or into your Demarle mold/flexipan of choice.  You can spray the top of your crust with cooking spray, it will help it get more brown, but I usually skip this. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and remove from the oven. If you’re using a flexipan or mold, unmold, place on a Silpat then add toppings. This will give you a crispier crust.

Baked and ready to top!

3: Top your pizza with your sauce and toppings of your choice! Be creative! Put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

The kiddos dinner!

I hope you give it a try!

Weekly Pinterest Success (yes, that’s singular)

It was a busy, hot week around here. I know that the rest of the country has been burning up, so our little heat spell is really nothing compared to the triple digits other people have been seeing. I will just say that high heat in the Pacific Northwest is great for a little while, but we tend to wilt a bit. Yes, we’re big wieners.

Since the week has been warm, it has limited my baking to almost zero and my craft room gets all the afternoon heat, so not too much on the Pinterest project front. I did have time for one fabulous recipe I discovered on Pinterest, a delicious honey lime enchilada recipe that I’ve been playing with.

My huge batch of enchiladas!

I have been following the recipe, except I have been playing around with what type of cooked chicken I’ve been putting in it. I made a huge amount of enchiladas on Thursday so I could try my two favorite fillings, rotisserie chicken and leftover grilled Margarita chicken (a great Weight Watchers recipe). I brought both types to girls night, hoping the ladies could give me a definitive answer on which filling was better. The votes came in at a tie, both were well liked. The grilled chicken was thighs only, so it was a little more moist. Also I marinated the meat overnight before I grilled it so it tasted like tequila and lime, amongst other things. It cuts the sweetness of the honey in the enchilada recipe. The rotisserie chicken soaks up more of the sauce and takes on a sweeter taste, but tends to be a tad drier because of the mixture of light and dark meat. Either way they tasted fantastic, but I must say I prefer the grilled margarita chicken. The zing of the lime and tequila, mixed with the smokiness of the grill. Plus, I just make extra chicken and get a big head start on dinner for the next two days! Yummy. I fully suggest following the link to the enchilada recipe, this is the second time I’ve made it and it always has rave reviews. Below is the recipe for my grilled chicken, my preferred filling.

Grilled Margarita Chicken.

Grilled Margarita Chicken from Weight Watchers (this is the single recipe, I suggest doubling or tripling.)

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 T tequila
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t grated lime zest
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients, minus the salt and pepper into a large ziploc bag. Add chicken, squeeze out air and seal. Turn to coat chicken. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally, at least 8 hours, I prefer overnight.

Spray grill rack with nonstick spray; preheat the grill to medium or prepare a medium fire.

Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess marinade. Discard the marinade. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; place on the grill rack. Grill until cooked, 6-7 minutes on each side.

Serving size: one thigh, 5 points (old and new)

I hope you give this recipe a try and hopefully with the cool, rainy day we say today, maybe I can get something done!

Weekly Pinterest Successes

I have to say the point of a “weekly” topic is for me to be regular and post it on the same day each week, right? Well, it’s still Sunday, so I’m not too late, but  I’m sure cutting it close! This week my craft room was sadly forlorn, while I spent more time in the kitchen. I was able to try a few Pinterest recipes and they were all pretty successful. Goodness knows, I have had some failures, usually in the form of some sort of microwave mug cake.

The first one is a wonderful beef short rib slow cooker recipe, yes, you read me right, a slow cooker recipe. I find very few recipes made in a slow cooker fantastic. I don’t like the texture of the meat when it breaks down into a stringy mess. This recipe is a definite exception. I found the recipe at eat-yourself-skinny.com, a blog that focuses on healthier recipes and has a lot of calorie counts and weight watcher points for each recipe. I was able to get my hands on some beef short ribs, and I must admit I have never tried them before. Please, go look at the recipe, here’s the link. I popped these in and only changed a few things. I reduced the vinegar (to about a 1/3 cup), as my husband doesn’t like too much in his sauce. Also I was shocked to find I was out of sugar, *gasp*! So I reduced the sugar to a 1/2 cup of white sugar and then drizzled in some molasses. The ribs cooked all day, emitting tantalizing aromas throughout the entire house. My husband made some mashed potatoes to serve the ribs and gravy over. Yummy! This makes a lot of gravy! I have to confess that I actually had some mashed potatoes and gravy for breakfast one morning. You will not be disappointed!

The next recipe, I pinned quite awhile ago for some frozen s’more cups. I always try to make an ice cream type dessert for my husband’s birthday and I thought this would fit the bill. I used my Demarle muffin flexipan, as I could freeze the dessert in it and easily pop out the s’more cups. Otherwise you will need to use some sort of mini cheesecake pan, spring form pan or like item. I subbed in freshly whipped cream for the cool whip, as it is what I had on hand. They were very yummy and a wonderful cool treat for the warm week we’ve been having.

The finished product, I just had to try one!

The last recipe is for these broccoli cheddar biscuit cups sent to me by my friend as a good cooking with your kiddos recipe. I thought the recipe looked like a great starting off point. I made my own biscuits and opted for an herbed goat cheese filling, broccoli and parmesan on top. Even with my modifiers from the original recipe,  you can still do a “busy gal” version or an “over achiever” version. Here are both options for you.

Busy Gal

  • 1 can of refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1-2 packages of boursin cheese (depending on how much you like)
  • 2 cups broccoli (blanched and chopped)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Over Achiever

Herb Biscuits (from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (I put it in the freezer for an hour then grated it)
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add grated butter and mix for a few seconds. Add half and half and combine on low speed. Mix in parsley. Dump dough onto a well floured surface or your Roul’Pat. You will be rolling them thinner than traditional biscuits since they will be stuffed into a muffin cup. Cut them out with a 2 and 1/2″ cutter. I made my biscuits ahead of time and put them on a cookie sheet in the fridge until dinner time.

Mmmm, biscuits!

Cheese filling

  • 10 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 t seasoning of your choice. I used Demarle’s Green Onion and Roasted Red Pepper herb blend
  • Half and half to mix

With an electric mixer beat up cheese to break it up, add chives and seasoning. Mix in half and half slowly until your get a texture that can be piped or spooned. I put the filling into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip when I was ready to fill the cups.

You will also need 2 cups of blanched, chopped broccoli and 1/4 – 1/3 cup grated parmesan for the over achiever version. Baking and assembly will be the same for both recipes. Press dough into your muffin pan, if you’re using a metal pan, be sure to prepare with cooking spray. Cut tip off your ziploc bag and pipe cheese into each cup. Add broccoli and top each cup with some parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes for store bought dough and closer to 15 minutes for homemade dough.  Serve up to your picky kids and enjoy a lovely vegetarian meal!

I prepped everything while my girls were napping so we could assemble it together before dinner.

Press in biscuit dough into your muffin pan.

Pipe in cheese, there may be some leftover.

Topped with broccoli and cheese. Ready to bake!

Dinnertime!

I hope you will have a chance to try out a few of these recipes. The short ribs recipe will definitely be on our regular rotation and will be especially delicious in the winter months when a warm, comforting meal is in order. Enjoy!