Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers February Challenge Chocolate Valentino *Flourless Chocolate Cake*

Here it is the end of another month, February, where has it gone? The kids seem to keep us very busy and the end of every month just creeps up on me. The end of the month means lots of things, for me, it means it is time to BAKE! The Daring Bakers challenges are one of the few things that I actually make sure that there is time to do.

For this month, The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I originally wanted to make this recipe for the hubby for Valentine's Day, but didn't get around to it since we were on a long weekend in Northern Michigan visiting the Hubby's Father, my F-I-L or otherwise known as the "World's Smartest Man"! Since the "World's Smartest Man" doesn't care for chocolate, I didn't bother bringing the ingredients to make this recipe. So, with that said, I stopped at the Butcher Shoppe here in my town and picked up some Chicken Cordon Bleu and decided to surprise the hubby with a nice dinner and dessert.

This recipe comes together so quickly that it is going to be my go to recipe for a quick and delicious dessert. All you need is 12 ounces of chocolate, 1 stick (+ 2 TBLS) unsalted butter and 4 eggs. I had to roughly chuck the chocolate and use a double boiler to melt the butter and chocolate together and then let it cool. While I was letting it cool, I proceeded to whipping 4 egg whites until stiff peaks were formed. I transferred those to another bowl and then beat the egg yolks. I added the egg yolks to the chocolate/butter mixture and then folded in the egg whites. I quickly buttered my 8 inch round spring form pan and gently transferred the mixture to the pan. I baked for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I set to cool on a wire rack and then took the sides off of my spring form pan. AND THAT WAS IT!!! It was like magic!

This cake is so rich that I served it with some vanilla ice cream. Ice cream was store bought, I did intend to make it, but with going on vacation early Saturday morning, I had to cheat and by some at the store!

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While the chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 140F.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos/Quesadillas!!!

Growing up I swear that I lived with the 3 amigos. It seemed like at least once a week we HAD to have tacos, nachos or some type of mexican/spanish type dish. With this said, I think that the reason I don't LOVE Mexican food is because I had so much of it growing up! Well, guess what food is my hubby's favorite? Yep, taco's. So, I have been on the search to find the tacos/quesadillas recipe that makes me WANT to eat them. I follow so many blogs and see so many different ideas on home decorating, recipes and child care that I knew I would someday find a recipe that I really enjoyed.

On the blog Prudence Pennywise, Prudy shared one of her family favorites for making chicken tacos/quesadillas. This recipe uses chicken, tomatoes, brown sugar and some crushed red pepper---very tasty 4 ingredients! I have altered the recipe a bit to fit our family's taste! I have doubles the recipe and omitted some of the brown sugar. You can find Prudy's original recipe here: Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Here is my version of the recipe:
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans (14 ounce) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Coat inside of crock pot with no stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb some of liquid after it is shredded, just drain off what is left) Serve in tacos.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mexican Bubble Pizza

A few weeks ago I found a few new recipes that I thought I would try on my often finicky darlings. I found this recipe on the Pillsbury website and decided it was worth trying out. Well, fortunate for me this turned out to be such a success with the kiddos that they wanted me to make it a second night in a row! This is so easy and can be dressed up to your taste. The kids just had more cheese and some salsa on theirs. We had the works on ours and it was GREAT!
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup water
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can Pillsbury Grands! Corn Biscuits
or 1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury Grands! Buttermilk Biscuits
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Old El Paso Thick 'n Chunky Salsa
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained
1 8 oz. container sour cream
3 green onions, sliced, if desired
Heat oven to 375°F. Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Add taco seasoning mix, water and soup; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces. Add pieces to ground beef mixture; stir gently. Spoon mixture into ungreased 13x9-inch pan.
Bake at 375°F. for 18 to 23 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven; bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. To serve, cut pizza into 8 squares. Top each serving with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, olives, sour cream and onions.
The original recipe can be found here: Mexican Bubble Pizza Let me know if you made the recipe and how your family liked it!