Dessert Emergency!

I had a meeting this week where I was asked to bring dessert for 12-14 people. I TRIED to make these, but the cookies burned to the muffin tin and ended up a crumbled mess. Of COURSE I made the filling BEFORE my cookie fail so…anyone want some lemon pudding?

At work the next day I was trying to figure out what to bring that would be fruity and light and require NO cooking and very little prep work. I bought 2 frozen pound cakes, some strawberries, blueberries, a tub of whipped cream and little plastic cups. Voila! I got so many compliments on it, it was crazy! I will definitely keep this in mind for my next “emergency!”

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Rapid Mac!

IMG_20150907_174723918Audrey’s been eating a lot of macaroni & cheese lately. And in her world of instant-gratification, 15 minutes is just too long to wait for water to boil and those little macaroni noodles to cook. I saw this little “Rapid Mac Cooker” at the store a few weeks ago but no way was I going to fall for this gimmick…until today. I bought it and what do you know, 4 minutes later we had macaroni & cheese! Same concept as cooking Easy Mac but with a whole box instead of a single-serving. So of course, the water boiled over…just like the little Easy Mac container did…so make sure you put a plate underneath so your microwave doesn’t turn into a starchy-water mess! Audrey gives it a two-thumbs-up!

New Book!

The Skinnytaste Cookbook- Light on Calories, Big on FlavorI purchased a new cookbook this week! I’ve been following this author on Facebook and receiving blog updates for the past couple of months so I figured it was time to bite the bullet. All her recipes look amazing! I made the BLT & Avocado Salad tonight which was delicious and also tried the Baked Bananas Foster a’la Mode which was pretty good, too! Can’t wait to try more!

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

When we lived in Milwaukee, we’d sometimes have dinner at my mom’s. When it was time to eat, she’d start pulling out dish after dish from her kitchen. This was usually one of those dishes. When I cooked it for dinner tonight it smelled like her house. Mike really liked it and told me he didn’t think I’d made it before. I had notes on the recipe in my cookbook though, so I must have. I told him I probably left the Chinese mushrooms out if I had made it before since I don’t like them. He however, LOVES them! I always try ONE bite of mushroom to see if maybe, just maybe, this time I’ll like them. This time wasn’t it. I know I’ve used them cut up pretty small in other recipes, but in this one, they were left in larger pieces. They come dehydrated and you have to soak them in hot water for 30 minutes to make them usable again. I added this soaking liquid to the pan when the chicken was braising instead of plain water. I think that did the trick.

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The dish is pretty easy to make: Soak 6-10 whole Chinese mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Brown 1 whole, cut-up chicken on all sides in a deep skillet with some oil, garlic and ginger. Add the Chinese mushrooms, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup (or so) water or liquid from rehydrating your dried Chinese mushrooms, 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes. Mix together 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water and add to braising liquid along with 3-4 green onions cut into 2″ lengths. Stir sauce until slightly thickened and serve.

Apples Galore!

Mike went fishing at a friend-of-a-friend’s farm pond last weekend. He didn’t bring any fish home but he DID come home with a huge paper grocery bag of apples. The farm pond owner’s wife told Mike dashed his hopes of a fresh-baked apple pie when she told him the apples were not good pie-apples and that she mostly used them for applesauce. Heeding her advice, I peeled & chopped up about a dozen apples and put them in the crock pot on low with a little water, sugar and cinnamon. Two hours later we had warm, chunky applesauce that we spooned over vanilla ice cream and ate with pie crust strips (store-bought pie crust cut into strips, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes). This tasty little topping only used up about one-quarter of the apples, though. I cut/cooked up the rest tonight and found recipes for an apple cake and apple cookies, so stay tuned!

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