Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Double Chocolate Delight Mini's

 
 
These little beauties look absolutely gorgeous on a platter.
I also wrap them individually in cellophane paper, secure with a pretty bow, place them in a basket or box and give as hostess gifts.  

  
The "OOOHHHH, and AHHHHHH'S" because they look so pretty,coupled with the "MMMMMMMMMM's" once they bite into them, makes the little fusswork involved well... worth it, EVERY TIME!!
These are super easy to make really because you start off with a cake mix!!
  
 
Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Ingredients:
CAKE
1 pkg yellow cake mix

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM
FROSTING

2 stk butter
12 oz white chocolate chips
1 c confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla

GANACHE
2 c semisweet chocolate chips (or you can use milk chocolate if you prefer)
2 c heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla  

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350. Following yellow cake mix instructions, prepare cake mix according to box directions.
Using nonstick spray, spray the bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan. Pour batter into pan, make sure all sides are even and bake for approximately 14-17. Test to see if cake is done using a cake tester or toothpick. While cake is baking, make the white chocolate buttercream frosting in a bowl. Set aside. Remove cake from oven, place on a cooling rack and let cool for 3-4 minutes.
 
 
While cake is cooking. Line your cooling rack with waxed paper. Using your wire rack as a base, invert cooling rack over the cake pan. Turn upside down and slowly remove jelly roll pan, set jelly roll pan aside. Let cool for 5-8 minutes.
Once cool, do the process again, but in reverse. Invert the jelly roll pan over the cake, and bring back into jelly roll pan.
Score cake into rectangles according to preference. I make mine into 2.5" X 3". You can make them bigger if you would like. Place in freezer to make cutting them easier while cakes are freezing. 


 Let's start on our ganache. Start by placing your chocolate chips in a bowl. In a sauce pan add your whipping cream. Scald your milk. Scalding entails bringing your cream/milk to boiling point in a saucepan. Once milk is starting to rise towards the top, turn off heat IMMEDIATELY!! *you don't want to clean up scalded milk, trust me* Once milk has scalded, pour onto your chocolate chips. Let sit 1-2 minutes. Using a whisk, whisk the cream into the chocolate chips. Once chocolate has been incorporated, add your vanilla.

  
 
Your cakes should be frozen. Bring out of freezer and cut in half using serrated knife. Place back in freezer for a few minutes, set aside.

Bring back out of freezer and add 1-1/2-2 tbsp of white chocolate buttercream frosting to middle. Cover with top by inverting the top of "top" cake to the middle. This will make for a very even cake rectangle. Set back in a the freezer for a few more minutes.

Pour ganache using your method of choice, (I used a squeeze bottle... hey I never claimed professionalism here - that being said, if you know of a better way I would love for you to let me know) ;-).  The tops should be covered and then a few drizzles of chocolate on the side.


You should have white chocolate buttercream frosting left. Place the leftover buttercream into a pastry bag or ziplock bag. Pipe rosettes using a star tip onto your cakes. Set aside.

 
As ganache is setting, using a peeler, make chocolate curls using solid milk chocolate. Starting on the edge, shave off curls and place into a mini bowl. Place 1-2 pieces of chocolate curls over the white chocolate buttercream flowers for a DRAMATIC EFFECT!! Place back into the fridge this time! Your goal is to solidify the ganache. Once the ganache has solidified, wrap in individual pieces of cellophane and finish with a pretty bow on each. Or place on a platter and get ready for some serious compliments!!


Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 29, 2012

Shredded Chicken Santa Fe Dip

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I was introduced to the Philadelphia Cooking Cream Cheese last year when I won a Kraft party from HouseParty.com.  I gotta tell you guys, this is the BEST STUFF EVER!!!  Easy as pie to make and create anything w/ the four different flavors that they have.  *no I'm not getting reimbursed for praising their products, I just really like them*.
That being said, I was all ready to make a friends of mine chicken dip when I realized I was outta this one ingredient... ever feel like, "man, I don't want to go to the store"?  Yep, that was me... so this recipe was a make on the spot, and let me tell you, IT WAS OUTTA THIS WORLD!!!  The dip was gone in I think 1.5 seconds!!!  We had friends over last nite, and they devoured it!!!  So it must be good yes?

Here we go:

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (fairly large) = to 4 cups shredded
1 container Kraft Santa Fe Cooking Cream Cheese
1 jalapeno - seeded and diced
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup green onions finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 Tbls sour cream
1 to 1-1/3 cups reserved cooked stock
10 Ritz crackers
2 cups (1pkgs) Kraft 4 Mexican Shredded cheese (or shredded cheese of your choice)

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350F.
-Remove your Philadelphia Cooking Cream Cheese Santa Fe blend from fridge and allow to come to room temp.

-Place chicken breasts in pot and add 4 cups of water.  Boil till thoroughly cooked thru, about 25-30 minutes, and very soft.  Turn off heat, remove chicken and place on a plate to cool, and reserve the alloted chicken stock water.
-Once chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred using either two forks or very clean hands.  Place on plate and set aside.
-Clean and discard seeds and membranes from jalapeno pepper and dice finely.
-Chop your parsley and your onion and set aside.






-Add the shredded chicken to a bowl.  Sprinkle your garlic salt and add your finely chopped jalapeno pepper.
-Add your herbs, onions and Santa Fe sauce.
-Add your reserved chicken stock water.
-Lastly add your sour cream and mix well.






-Sprinkle in 1-1/2 c shredded cheese.




-In a 9 x 9 dish, spray with non stick spray.  Spread Chicken mixture into pan.  Crush the Ritz crackers and sprinkle over chicken mixture, along with the last 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.



- Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes till nicely golden and crispy and the cheese has melted nicely.  Sprinkle on a few green onions... just because!! 
Get ready for  "mmmmmm's, and OMG's"!!!!  This dip is seriously ROCKIN!!!!



Proof?
Can't get my BFF's hand out of the picture!!!  LOL everytime I tried to take a pic, there she was "a dippin"!  Know what?  THAT'S THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD!
Love you Sarah! xoxoxoxoxoox

P.S. That is my "chicken souvlaki dip pictured next to it"!  HERE.





Dishin with Didi

Friday, October 26, 2012

Open Faced Garlic Pesto BCT's (bacon, cheese and tomato)

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Being a mom means that a lot of times you need "fast" on the dinner table.  With a zillion commitments to tend to, errands to run, and let's not forget the never ending laundry!!
This week has been an unbelievably busy week for me my friends.  Time was NOT MY FRIEND!!  This open face sandwich WAS!!  I am in love with this sandwich, I want to eat it again and again ... I think I'm going to ask it to marry me!! ;-)
It's very light believe it or not, just bursting with flavor, and when all the ingredients are combined leaves you "wiggling your toes with delight"!! Most of all, it's a snap to make and bring to the table.  

Let's start off with Texas frozen garlic bread, BACON (need I say more), tomatoes and the piece de resistance... PESTO!!
Oh yes, you will have a very, very happy family!  Serve with a simple salad and dinner is ready in less than 45 minutes.  Much quicker (and healthier) than a frozen dinner, yes? 

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Ingredients:
Sandwiches
8 Slices Texas Frozen Garlic Bread (toast) - still frozen
1lb bacon
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup pesto
6-8 slices Provolone cheese

Salad:
1 package of your favorite salad greens
2 pears (I used red), diced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese shavings

Vinaigrette:
1-1/2 tbls red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:
*I usually bake my bacon for easier processing and less mess, but you can certainly pan fry if you like*



Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes.  Till almost crisp, but still a little pliable.  Remove onto paper lined plate and set aside. 
Let's start on those scrumptious sandwiches!!

Lay your garlic bread on a nonstick baking sheet.  



Bake using manufacturer's baking times till they are nicely golden.
Once they are out of the oven, immediately add your pesto, about 1 tsp or so per slice.  You can certainly add more pesto if you like, but pesto as you know packs a punch, you don't want to take away from the wonderful BACON!!!



Add your sliced tomatoes.  Depending on how big they are you can use either 1 or 2 slices per sandwich.  I used 1 slices per sandwich, my tomatoes were on the large side.  Then.... PILE ON THE BACON!!!!

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1-2 slices per sandwich.  Okay, live a little, make it two per slice!!!


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Preheat oven to 375F.

Lay on your Provolone cheese.  I did not add the entire slice to the sandwich, because as you know Provolone melts BEAUTIFULLY and would melt all over the baking sheet!!  I did not want to waste a smidgen of that glorious cheese, so I improvised, and cut them diagonally, so they would melt evenly once placed in the oven.



Bake for 7-9 minutes till cheeses have melted and you cannot wait to devour them!!

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As sandwiches are baking, let's start on our salad.  Using your favorite packaged salad mix, add your pears and your shaved parmesan cheese curls.


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Look at those beautiful red pears and parmesan shavings, OH YUM!!!
Mix up your simple vinaigrette by combining your dijon mustard and red wine vinegar.  Using a small whisk, whisk in your olive oil till it emulsifies, (becomes thick).  Add in your salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over salad!!  I used Mache greens for this salad, one of our ultimate favorites!!


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The sweetness of the pears coupled with the sharpness of the Parmesan cheese and the glorious flavors of this very simple vinaigrette, well... even your finicky eaters will be loving this, I promise!! 


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Dinner, less than 45 minutes, family and budget friendly ... that will rock your world!!!


Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oatmeal Maple Chocolate Chip Cakes with Caramel Glaze

Tell me about it....

Do I have a simple delicious recipe to share with you!!
These are so good!!  I mean you have maple, chocolate chips and a caramel glaze... can it get any better?  Oh yes, we have oatmeal to make it healthy, well, a little healthy!!
You will notice there is no leavening agents in the recipe, which gives us a beautiful dense cake.  Chock full of chocolate chips, walnuts and all smothered with that heavenly caramel glaze -PERFECT!  Their individual cakes, so you really don't have to share, and you can have two pieces and not feel guilty!! Well, at least that is what I tell myself...
The Bella Spiral Cake maker was a joy to work with.  This was the first time I used it even though I had bought it a while back.  Trust me, this won't be the last time I use it.  This is the exact same model (color too) that I have; HERE.
I chose to use my maker for this recipe, but you can certainly just make it using a 9 x 9 pan, and then top with the caramel glaze.


 
 
Ready for the recipe? Here we go;

Ingredients:
 

Cake:
3/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup very hot (not boiling) water
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used dark amber real maple syrup)
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Caramel Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup heavy cream (can substitute half & half)
1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:
Add oatmeal to 1 cup of very hot water, let it steep for 5 minutes.

 
 
In a medium bowl, add your liquid ingredients.  Add in your soaked oats and mix well.
 
 

Let's add in our dry ingredients now.  Mix well. 
 

Fold in your chocolate chips and finely chopped walnuts.  Using a 1/3 cup measure, add your batter to the baby Bella maker, and cook for 11-13 minutes, check for doneness by using a toothpick or cake tester.  If you are going to bake using a 9 x 9 pan, bake for 20 - 25 minutes, again checking for doneness.
 
 
 

Place on plate and keep warm.  Let's starts on our decadent caramel glaze.

Caramel Glaze:
In a small saucepan, melt your butter.  Whisk in your brown sugar and cream.  Continue whisking until the glaze starts bubbleing.  Remove from heat, add in your vanilla.  Spoon hot caramel glaze over warm cakes.



For a special treat, serve with vanilla ice cream drizzled with more caramel glaze... or our favorite, a nice cold glass of milk!!


I know...
 

Grab your fork... 


Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kickin Bacon & Potato Logs

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Go ahead... take one!!

I created this recipe with the idea of an "inside out" potato skin!!  I wanted the FILLING of the potato skin, but I wanted it in finger food form.
You have BACON, potatoes, sharp cheddar cheese, jalapeno, RANCH dressing and spices... all encompassed by an amazing crispy won ton!!  It doesn't stop there!!  "Wait for it"... you DIP it in the ranch sour cream!!!
Yes!!  Absolute heaven in a bite, all joking aside.  This is perfect for the weekend games, get together or just an "appetizer night" for dinner accompanied by a nice salad. 
I love that they're baked and not deep fried (lots less calories we say, so we can have just ohhhh 3 or 4 more) *grin*
What I love even more, is the ease of this recipe.  You literally spend more time rendering the bacon than anything else.  From start to finish in less than 1 hour and that's including the baking time!!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Ingredients:
Logs
1 package medium size won ton wrappers
1 lb bacon, diced
2 large potatoes, skins on, pre-boiled, cooled and diced
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 green onions diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, (seeds and membranes removed), diced fine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 tbsp dry ranch dressing
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
Pinch of red pepper flakes
3 tbsp reserved bacon drippings

Basting Sauce:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp dry ranch dressing
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder

Dipping sauce:
2 cups sour cream
3 tbsp dry ranch dressing
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 green onion diced fine
2 tbsp mayonnaise

With additional ingredients:
1 cup water to wet sides of won ton wrappers


Directions:  We begin by preparing our dipping sauce first.  You want to give the dipping sauce time to chill so the flavors marry and become glad *grin* and just jump on the logs all by themselves!!
To a small bowl add; your sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, dry ranch dressing and finely chopped green onions. Mix till thoroughly incorporated, place in a pretty dipping bowl and set in refrigerator till ready to use. 

Let's start on our logs shall we? 
Begin by dicing our potatoes and green onions, add to a medium size bowl. Chop your fresh parsley add to bowl along with all your seasonings. Set aside.

Place your skillet over medium high heat, add your diced bacon and saute till crisp. When your bacon is crisp, remove using a slotted spoon and add directly to the bowl containing the potato mixture. Add your diced jalapeno pepper, shredded cheese and finally your reserved bacon drippings. Using a large fork, stir and mash all ingredients together, set aside and let's get ready to assemble!

*Can you tell I have an extreme won ton addiction... is there a therapy session for this too?  Shall I attend? *


On a flat surface, place a won ton wrapper.  Using a small pastry brush, brush outer edges of the four corners of the won ton wrapper with water, (this will ensure even sealing of the won ton wrappers). Add 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp of bacon potato mixture directly to the center of won ton wrapper. Fold one end over making sure ends are aligned. Using fingers, spread mixture through out sealed won ton wrapper if necessary to ensure all of the log has the delectable bacon filling. Pinch ends and corners to make sure it's evenly sealed and placed on pre-sprayed aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Continue with remainder of the won ton wrappers and bacon, potato mixture.
Continue filling and making won tons and place on baking sheet. About 16 per baking sheet. I usually make 2 batches, just because if you overcrowd them, they will not become crispy all the way around if they are touching, does that make sense?  Okay, so now on to the basting sauce.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Prepare your basting sauce by melting your butter. Once butter has melted, whisk in your dry ranch dressing and your garlic powder.  Baste your logs with the sauce.
 
Place in oven and bake for 16-20 till nice golden all around and the aroma wafting throughout your house will have you giddy with anticipation!!
Place on a pretty platter and serve with dipping sauce.

Yield:  34-36 appetizers



Enjoy!!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Cheese Kickin Corn Muffins


I know...

These corn muffins are super easy to fix because you start off with a cornbread mix.
Then, the wonderful addition of 3 different cheeses and a jalapeno, coupled with fresh herbs... well that makes these muffins not only "crowd pleasers" but your "upcoming signature breads" for any get together, or potlock.  Shhhh, noone ever needs to know they started off with  a mix. *hehehehe*
They are slightly sweet with a just so kick, and the cheeses... oh my goodness, just pure bliss.  You have the tangy cheddar, the spicy pepper jack, then add to it the creamy Velveeta... NIRVANA!!  Not too overpowering, just a match made in heaven!
They actually enhance and get along so well together, I think they moved themselves closer to each other in my fridge ... no I'm not joking ... *SCI-FI MOMENT, INSERT CREEPY MELODY MUSIC*.

I usually serve these bad boys when I'm making a big 'ol pot of chili or stew! There is never any left, trust me!!  There is usually "much squabble of who had the most thereof".  *MUSIC TO MY EARS*  So whip up a batch of these bad boys... watch your family and friends drool, and fight over them.  Then sit back (after you've saved yourself one that is), and smile...

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;
Ingredients
2 pkg cornbread mix (i used jiffy)
1 jalapeno, fresh diced (seeds removed)
2 eggs
2/3 c milk
2 tbsp. sugar
2-3 tbsp. fresh parsley diced
1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c velveeta cubed
Directions:
In a medium bowl add your corn mix, sugar, milk, parsley and eggs, mix till incorporated. 



Combine together the pepper jack cheese and the velveeta cheese. Add in the diced jalapeno. Set aside.




Using a 12 muffin tin, spray with non-stick spray. Fill each muffin tin, top with grated cheddar cheese.




Preheat oven to 400F. Bake muffins for 14-16 minutes or till nicely golden.






  Let sit in muffin pan for a couple of minutes, then transfer onto wire rack, or better yet, serve deliciously warm while cheese is just gooey love...  




Till next time!!
 Dishin with Didi