Thursday, April 10, 2014

Flashback Easter Post

Really busy this week.  Check a post from the past for great Easter recipes.
Easter Brunch Ideas

Take it one prep at a time,
Chef Jackie

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring into Easter Treats

I love this time of year.  Everything is blooming and turning green.  Temperatures have begun to warm up and all the birds and animals have returned to the yard.  Well this year isn't so green and it is still a little cold yet but I can here the birds chirping just the same. Avoiding yard work means it is a perfect time to stay in and make some goodies for Easter.

Every year my Mom would make special treats for our Easter baskets.  She really made everything so special.  We loved helping her make sugar eggs and chocolate candy molds.  So many of my favorite memories are tied to all the special things my Mom would make for every holiday and birthday.

I decided to share these memories with my son Carson and make some of our own. I convinced him and my friend Debbie to help me have a homemade Easter treat making marathon.  Here are some of the items we made.

 

Crispy Spring Pops

  • Make a double recipe of Rice Crispy Treats using Fruit Pebbles
  • Press into a buttered 13x9 pan to make them extra thick
  • Once set, cut into desired size bars
  • Push a sucker stick in the bottom
  • Dip the tip in melted white chocolate and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle wet chocolate with cupcake sprinkles
  • Let dry or freeze for quicker drying
  • Cheater Method: Buy cereal bars and cut them in half, insert stick and dip in chocolate.

Sugared Marshmallow Pops


 
  • Dip large marshmallows in water
  • Remove excess water with a paper towel
  • Roll in desired colored sugar
  • Insert sucker stick
  • Dry on a parchment line cookie sheet
  • I can't wait to try these on a s'more!

 

Macaroon Nest


 
Macaroon Kisses
1
14-ounce
can sweetened condensed milk
2
tsp.
vanilla extract
1
tsp.
almond extract
2
7-ounce
packages flake coconut (5 ½ cups)
48

solid milk chocolate stars or chocolate chips
chocolate candy eggs (these are Cadbury brand)
1
Preheat oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment and spray with cooking release spray.
2
In large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and almond extract. Stir in coconut.
3
Roll into 1 inch balls. Slightly flatten each ball and place a thumb print in the middle.
4
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately press chocolate star or 4-6 chocolate chips in the middle.  When chocolate becomes melted add chocolate candy eggs into the center.
5
Cool. Store at room temperature or freeze.

Yield: 4 dozen

Nutter Butter Chicks

 
  • Dip Nutter Butters in melted yellow chocolate candy coating, remove with a fork and drip off excess chocolate
  • Place on parchment lined cookie sheet 
  • Before chocolate dries use 2 black candy pearls for the eyes and 1 orange Tic Tac for the nose
  • Dry completely before packaging

Chicks in Grass

 
 
We used a grass piping tip to make these cute cupcakes.
The baking cups are from Marshalls.
 

I packaged everything in cello bags so it would keep and then I froze them.
I froze the cupcakes first so I could easily put them in bags without smearing the frosting. 
 
Happy Easter!
Chef Jackie


Friday, March 14, 2014

French Toast fingers

Year around we try to have Meatless Fridays.  Since I developed a seafood allergy about 4 years ago I tend to make a lot of breakfast dishes on Fridays.  Breakfast allows me to give up meat without giving up protein.  Plus it is very cost effective and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. 

Today I made French Toast Fingers.  They can be made with all different types of fillings even savory ones.  When I make them savory I use cream cheese or cheese as the filling with some small diced veggies.  I do not dip them in eggs.  I simply pan fry them in garlic butter then roll them in grated parmesan.  I serve them with a side of marinara sauce or tomato soup.

Take a look at our dinner tonight...

 
Getting started...whisk eggs and milk in a pie plate
 
 
Remove crust

 
Roll bread flat


Add you favorite filling
 

 Roll up and dip into egg batter. Pan fry in butter over medium low heat 
 

French Toast Fingers
8-10

slices white sandwich bread (the inexpensive kind) or cinnamon swirl bread
Fillings:


jelly, cream cheese, peanut butter or chocolate nut spread (Nutella)
French Toast Egg Batter:
2

eggs
2
Tbsp.
milk
1/3
cup
granulated sugar
1

heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon


Butter, pan
1
Trim the crust from the bread and flatten it out with a rolling pin or plate.
2
Spread a thin layer of filling of your choice of  leaving a 1/2 inch of bread all the way around. Roll the bread up and repeat until they're all filled.
3
In a pie plate whisk the eggs and milk until well combined.
4
In a separate shallow bowl mix the sugar with the cinnamon.
5
In a sauté pan melt a tablespoon of butter over medium low heat.
6
Dip the rolls into the egg mixture turning to coat on all sides then place them in the pan seam side down. Cook in batches until golden brown, turning them to cook and brown on all sides. If needed add additional butter to the pan.
7
Add the hot rolls from the pan to the cinnamon sugar and roll until completely covered in sugar.

Gluten free: use gluten free bread and spread with filling top with another piece of bread (like a PB and J).  Trim crust and cut into 3 fingers.  Follow the directions above for egg batter and cooking method.
Servings: 8-10


 

 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cabbage Roll Casserole with Baked Potatoes

This is a much easier way to get the great taste of cabbage rolls without all the work.  If you have cooked rice or quinoa in the freezer just toss it in and bake as directed.
 
Cabbage Roll Casserole with Baked Potatoes
1 1/2
lbs.
ground beef or venison
2
small
onions, chopped
1
cup
water
2
cups
your favorite spaghetti sauce
2
cloves
garlic, minced
1
teaspoon
dried basil
1
tsp.
dried oregano
1
tsp.
salt
1/2
tsp.
ground black pepper
1 1/2
cups
cooked rice or quinoa
4
cups
cabbage chopped
6-8

baking potatoes
1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 9x13 -inch baking dish.
2
Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain and discard any excess grease. Stir in onions, water, spaghetti sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; bring to a simmer. Add rice.
3
Spread half the chopped cabbage in prepared baking dish; cover with half the beef mixture. Repeat layers. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
4
Bake in preheat oven until cabbage is tender, about 1 hour. Serve with baked potatoes.
Baked Potatoes:
1
Clean potatoes and rub with oil, salt and pepper. Prick with a fork and bake on a oven safe dish while casserole bakes. Potatoes are done when a knife inserted can easily pierce potatoes.
Servings: 8
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Source
Author: Chef Jackie White
Source: PLC
 
Author Notes
If recipe is to large split into 2 smaller casseroles dishes and freeze one.
Extra potatoes can be made into hash browns or serve for lunch with a salad.
Vegetarian: Omit ground meat,  Make with quinoa instead of rice.  Combine 1 cup of canned garbanzo beans and 2 cups chopped zucchini and yellow squash use for the meat layers.  If desired sprinkle with goat or feta cheese after removing from the oven.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kitchen Favorites:White Dishes



I remember years ago when I was getting married some suggested to me to register for simple white plates.  Of course I didn't listen.  The funny thing is I actually bought white dishes for my wedding because the caterer said it was cheaper than renting them.  After the wedding I donated them to the historical home we rented for our nuptials.  We only had 60 guests so I definitely should have kept them.  But as a newlywed I found it hard to imagine I would ever need them.  Nearly 13 years after receiving that I advice I got my white dishes for my son's First Communion celebration.

Why I love them.  Let me count the ways:
  1. Food looks appetizing against white and is never fighting to be noticed. 
  2. When I want a different look I simply change the table linens.
  3. White can be black tie or casual.
  4. Real VS. Paper-it's good for the environment.  Guests rise to the occasion and clean up for you.  Paper gets left around.  When I use real dishes everyone brings them to the kitchen sink.  This was an unexpected benefit but the best one nevertheless!! 
  5. Meals on "real" plates feel more special.
A drum roll please...my favorite white plates are...Corelle

I remember seeing these plates for the first time and thinking how boring.  I can't believe how many people have these and love them.  I debated long and hard what white plates to get for Carson's special day.  Many of my friends weighed in and all of them (except other chefs)  said to get Corelle.  Because these were going to be used in my home I went with my friends advice.

Why they said they love them and why I do too:
  1. Lightweight and very thin
  2. Break resistant-these plates can take some abuse
  3. Easily replaceable
  4. I can fit all 50 in my dishwasher at once!!!
  5. Can add matching platters, gravy boats etc. to my dish collection at any time.
  6. 50 of each- luncheon plates, dinner plates and bowls fit easily into my cabinets. 
  7. Corelle dishware is dishwasher, oven and microwave safe.
  8. This dishware comes in many sizes.  Great for portion control.
  9. I use the pie plates for salads, pasta, hot dips and of course pies.
Take it One Prep at a Time,
Chef Jackie

 Pie Plate


My Bowls
 



100 plates and counting... 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Freezer 911-Autumn Chicken Stew

The current weather conditions in Michigan have definitely kept me inside.  What have I been doing with all of this free time?  Cooking and cleaning of course. 

About every 3 months I go through the freezer and we eat whatever "Freezer Fall-backs"  meals from last season.  I also cook meals from any frozen meat or veggies I find tucked away in my freezer.  By doing this I know I am always rotating my food and eating it instead of wasting it!  So much food gets wasted just because we don't know what we have. This also forces me to get out of a cooking rut.  It's fun to try new recipes and have an activity for my bored teenage son.  Sometimes he cooks and other times he is just the taste tester. 

This recipe used up some frozen cider I had from the fall and turkey stock I made from my Thanksgiving bird.  I also used frozen cooked chicken meat.  I had more than 4 cups so I am going to make BBQ chicken pizza for dinner tonight.  No pictures yet but I will post them when I have them.

Take it One Prep at a Time,
Chef Jackie
 
 
Autumn Chicken Stew
1

medium onion, diced
2

stalks celery, diced
1 ½
cups
apple cider
2
Tbs
butter or olive oil
6
cups
chicken stock
2
small
turnips, peeled and diced (optional)
3

parsnips, peeled and diced
1

sweet potato, peeled and diced
3

carrots, peeled and diced
1
cup
rutabaga or (1 small whole) , peeled and diced (optional)
2
cloves
garlic, minced
½
tsp
cinnamon
½
tsp
ground ginger
4
cups
cooked chicken
3-4
tablespoons
arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in a1/4 cup of water

 





















 
In a heavy bottom stockpot heat butter or oil and sauté onions and garlic until golden brown. Deglaze with apple cider. Add chicken stock and remaining vegetables.
 
 
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for an 45 minutes stirring occasionally or until vegetables are tender crisp. Add cooked chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dissolved arrowroot and bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes until stew thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Beer Cake"

 
Last year I made this cake for my husband's 50th Birthday.  It is perfect for any adult party.  Even a grooms cake at a wedding.  The possibilities are endless.  Change your beer and the cake color changes.

The bottom layer is a cake stand followed by beers and then I put a cake pan upside right and filled it with more cans of beer.  I did the same for the next layer.  The trays between the layers could be pizza circles, veggie trays or anything that provides a flat surface to place you next layer of "beer cake".

I' m a little anal so you guessed it; my cake is 50 beers exactly!

The field is 2 green bath towels (love it no waste and easy clean up!).  I cut the 50 yard line out of printer paper and wa-la the table was set.

Believe me this is one cake you don't have to worry about leftovers or clean up.

Take it One Prep at a Time,
Jackie