Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken with Mushroom and Lemon Sauce

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Like many of you, I've been working on those January "get healthy" goals (despite the last two posts of chocolate desserts). I'm participating in a team contest with Channel 2 and Gold's Gym-which is a good motivator. Knowing that my team is counting on me to stick to the plan makes me think twice before downing a theater size box of candy or reminds me to get off the couch and to the gym. So, in the spirit of health, I ordered a Bountiful Basket for this weekend. If you haven't given this food co-op a try, I recommend it. Its only $15 and you get a whole lot of fresh fruits and veggies. Of course, I brought it home this morning and wondered how I was going to use it all up. I came up with a chicken dish with a sauce that used no butter or cream :) It turned out very tasty!

Pan chicken with mushroom and lemon sauce

2 chicken breast cutlets
3 T. flour
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 C. sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 lemon
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped

I coated the chicken with some flour and salt and pepper and put it in a medium-hot frying pan with the oil. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side (it will be golden on the outside, but not cooked through yet), and then remove the chicken from the pan. In the pan, pour in a splash of chicken stock add the onions. Sautee for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir for about 1 minute, then add the mushrooms. Stir and add a bit more chicken stock until the mushrooms are soft.

When the mushrooms are soft, add a couple tablespoons of flour to the mix and cook on medium-low for about a minute and then pour 1 cup of the chicken stock into the pan. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 the lemon and add the chicken back into the pan. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Just before serving add the fresh parsley and the juice from the other half of the lemon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Peanut Butter Goodness-Filled Cookies

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Last week I made cupcakes with peanut butter filling. I knew when I made the recipe for the filling, that there would be leftovers, and indeed there were. So, now I'm using up the leftover filling on some cookies.

Many years ago, I came across a recipe in The Friend magazine for filled cookies. I like to call them home made Oreos. Usually I make them at Christmas and fill them with cream cheese frosting. Always a hit. I've tried the recipe with different flavors of cake mix with great success (lemon cake mix, yum). Anyway, I had a cake mix and the filling. 20 minutes later, I have some serious temptation in the kitchen.

Cookie dough:
1 pkg devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 C. vegetable oil

Preheat to 350. You'll need a sturdy mixer to get this thick dough to come together. Takes about 1-2 minutes is all. The dough dries out, so be ready to go with the filling.

Peanut Butter filling:
6 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 C. smooth peanut butter
1/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. milk

Mix until smooth and fluffy.

Now the fun part. Stuffing the cookies. Normally, I just make 1 inch balls, put them on the greased cookie sheet and flatten them slightly with a cup and bake for 8 minutes (then make sandwich cookies by adding frosting between 2 cookies). But not tonight.

Tonight, for these lovelies, I made about 1.5" balls. Then I flattened them in my palm. I added about 1 tsp of filling. Wrap the chocolate dough around (I kinda did a potsticker shape) then re-roll the whole thing into a ball shape. Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a cup.

Bake for about 9 minutes. You don't want to over-bake, otherwise you don't get the chewy/gooey texture that is so delicious. You should get about 2 doz cookies.

That's it. Valentine's Day is tomorrow and my office is going to love me (or hate me), either way, good cookies.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

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I love getting cupcakes from those adorable cupcake bakeries that are all over--and now I know why they cost $3 each. It takes a lot of love to get cupcake to look that cute, but...if you are in charge of bringing the dessert to a birthday party, these babies will make you the most popular girl in the room.

So, I started out with the blog Your Cup of Cake. Everything on the site looks yummy, so how can you go wrong. I loved that the recipe starts with a cake mix. What I wished I'd found on the blog were just some of the basic recipes so that you could mix/match your own concoction. I knew that my version would need chocolate icing instead of vanilla.

So, to begin...chocolate cupcakes. First, mix up the peanut butter filling--I knew that the recipe was going to make more filling than I needed, so I should have just made 1/2, oh well, next time. I mixed up the doctored cake mix recipe, here, and got to filling the cupcake liners. I used my cookie scoop to get the very stiff batter into the bottom of each liner. I smoothed the batter down and then used a teaspoon to put a bit of the peanut butter filling on top. Then I scooped a bit more chocolate batter on top and smoothed again. Total, the liner was 3/4 full...maybe next time I'll fill just shy of 3/4.

The frosting is a take on the chocolate butter cream recipe on Your Cup of Cake. I used 1 c. butter, 2 oz. of cream cheese (left over from the peanut butter filling), 3 C. powdered sugar and 1 T of milk and 1 tsp of vanilla. I used about 2/3 C. of cocoa powder-but it tasted pretty good without the cocoa. I whipped it up for about 6 minutes in the Kitchen Aid so it would get nice and fluffy.

After the cupcakes were cooled, I used a Wilton Star #21 tip on some of them and the Wilton Round #12 tip on the others to get piles of fluffy frosting on each treat. I topped them with some Reece's cups. Yeah, these are good.