3/30/11

5 Chocolate Trifle with a Cake Stand

As we said our "goodbyes" to our sweet Japanese Jr. High/High school students on the evening before they flew home, this was one of the amazing desserts that the students and their host families raved about. 

Thanks to one of our host families, he shared this recipe, and now I'm sharing it with you.

Looks good, doesn't it?

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that he did not use a trifle bowl.  He used a cake stand and cover...

that is inverted and magically transformed into a trifle bowl, punch bowl, or whatnot...

Cool, huh?

Some of my friends love my blog, but tell me I post things they would never make.  Why?  They are busy moms.  For those busy moms, this one's for you! 

First, bake a devil's food cake, or any favorite chocolate cake.  Yes, you have my permission to use a box mix.

When the cake is cooled, break half of it into the bottom of the bowl.  You may need to "smoosh" it a little to make room for the other ingredients.

Next, make some mousse.  This is brand that the recipe suggested; however, any brand that uses 2 cups of milk will work.  This is a milk chocolate flavor.

Dreamy, huh?  Oh, I meant creamy....

Spread half the mousse on top of the crumbled cake...


then spread some store-bought whipped cream on top and sprinkle some crushed Heath or Skore bars on top....


The candy bars are frozen and then beaten with a rolling pin, mallet, hammer, or whatever you happen to have handy...

Repeat the process all over again: crumbled cake, chocolate mousse, whipped cream and crushed candy bar...

and take it somewhere to be shared!

Chocolate Crunch Trifle
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)
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3/28/11

18 From Frozen to Fabulous in 12 Minutes: BBQ Chicken!


I didn't think it could be done.  Frozen chicken cooked to tender perfection in 12 minutes?

Let's put my pressure cooker to the test, shall we?

Here's two frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Thunk.  Thunk.



I wanted some flavor for this chicken, so I squirted our favorite BBQ sauce* (1/2 Bulls Eye with 1/2 honey)....just a couple of tablespoons per breast...

Update:  If you use a thick BBQ sauce, you may need to add 1/4 c. water to your chicken. I added honey to my BBQ sauce and didn't need to add water. I make plain cooked chicken ALL the time using this method with 1/4 c. chicken broth. The frozen chicken releases a LOT of liquid during cooking and this 1/4 cup liquid is just enough to get the steam started to pressurize your cooker. 



Covered my electric pressure cooker, set it on high pressure, and for 12 minutes.  (thawed boneless chicken will only take 5-6 minutes).


It took about 7 minutes for the pressure to build and then the 12 minute countdown began.
After 12 minutes, I did a quick release**, using a pair of tongs to move the pressure valve open...

**update: It is strongly advised to let your meats sit for 5-10 minutes after pressure cooking, then do a quick release. Quick releasing right after cooking can create a "vacuum" and take a lot of the moisture from your meats, causing them to be dry and tough.


Once the pressure was down (only took a couple of minutes), I could open the lid.
Let's take a peek...   Not too shabby!


Let's take them out and see if they are cooked    alllllll     the way through...


Happy dance!!

The side of the chicken that touched the bottom of pot looked even better than the top...all glazey, caramelized and yummy....


This chicken was moist, tender and it shredded easily.  I combined it with some of the 1/2 cup or so of BBQ "broth" that was left over in the pressure cooker and served it with cheese on a homestyle tortilla for a quick and easy meal.


I think we have a winner on our hands, folks!

Dust off your pressure cookers and give this one a try!



print recipe

Frozen to Fabulous Boneless BBQ Chicken
No time to thaw out your boneless chicken? Put it in your pressure cooker, frozen, and have it ready in less than 20 minutes. Use the weight of your chicken to determine the cook time and use a natural release. Frozen chicken releases some liquids, so at least 1/4 cup thin liquid is required.
Ingredients
  • 2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey, if desired
Instructions
COOKING CHART - use HIGH pressure, 1 minute per ounce •Up to 6 oz, use a 5 minute natural pressure release (NPR)*6-11 oz, use a 10 minutes NPR•11 oz or larger, use a full NPR•When cooking multiple chicken breasts, keep chicken in a single layer, with no overlapping. Use a tall trivet and/or steamer basket to separate the layers when stacking•Weigh each chicken breast and take the average weight to determine the cooking time. For example, a 10 ounce frozen chicken breast will use a 10 min cook time with a 10 minute NPR.1. Put 1/4 cup water or chicken broth in the pressure cooker.2. Place the frozen chicken in a single layer, not overlapping, if possible.3. Pour BBQ sauce and honey on top of chicken.4. Close the lid and pressure valve.5. Select HIGH pressure and the time according to the chart.6. When cook time ends, use the NPR recommended on the chart. 7. At the end of the NPR, open the pressure valve to release any remaining pressure. 8. Open the pressure cooker, remove the chicken, and enjoy! Test your chicken with an instant read digital thermometer. Internal temp of your chicken should read at least 165°F.Enjoy your chicken whole, or shred it and mix in with the remaining sauce.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2-4 servings

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3/25/11

13 Mini Crunch Doughnuts!

It began with this doughnut....

Then came along it's powdered sugar cousin...

But this doughnut, I have to say, is my all-time favorite. 

Introducing the crunch doughnut!!

It begins with a light, tender, buttery,  baked vanilla doughnut ....





Dipped on all sides in a very thin powdered sugar/water glaze...

and dunked into a crushed toasted coconut mixture...

Sweetened shredded coconut is put into a single layer, baked for 3-4 minutes in a 350°F oven.  I dumped it into my food processor...

and shredded till fine, but NOT powdery....

I may never try another doughnut recipe.

Maybe.





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3/21/11

13 Mini Vanilla Powdered Sugar Doughnuts...

This is my husband's favorite cake doughnut.  I have to be extra careful eating them because I tend to "inhale" the powdered sugar!  *cough*   *cough*

I used the recipe from Baking Bites's Sugar Doughnut Muffins, adapting it to use butter, buttermilk and baking soda instead of baking powder.  The baking time and temperature were adjusted.  I also omitted the ground nutmeg, as I wanted a pure butter/vanill-y type cake doughnut.

Buttermilk makes everything better.  If you don't have this fabulous powdered stuff, feel free to use the real liquid stuff or sub with sour milk (1 T.+ enough milk to make 1 cup).





I have discovered that using shortening releases the doughnuts much better than my canola oil spray.  I love using this silicone brush!  Feel free to use a mini muffin pan....




Tovolo makes this nifty Cake Pen (Here, too) that works fabulously with the mini-doughnut pan.  Other readers have suggested a ketchup bottle, cake decorating bag with large tip, or even a Ziploc baggie with the corner cut off.




The mini doughnuts only take 8-9 minutes to bake....touch tops to see if they are dry and "spring" back when lightly touched...







After removing the doughnuts and letting them cool, I tossed them in a covered container of powdered sugar...

Tapped the excess and put them on a rack and then decided to "double dip" them again in more powdered sugar!




Took a bite, being extra careful to hold my breath...




So moist, so tender....melted right in my mouth!  Be still my beating heart...
and don't inhale!

*Note:  these doughnuts are best eaten right away.  And I mean right away.  This is what happens when covered doughnuts are stored in an air tight container.  The moisture from the doughnuts seem to have absorbed most of the powdered sugar.  Not to worry, I dipped them again.  These doughnuts freeze well plain, with no glaze or powdered sugar.  Just thaw out, dip, and enjoy!


Vanilla Mini Doughnuts
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)

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3/18/11

4 OXO Good Grips Mandoline Slicer

I received a gift card to Target last Christmas and this is what I got.  I have several OXO tools and I love them.  I have used this mandoline for several things:

Slicing thin onions.  Super fast, super easy, and best of all?  No tears.


I can slice potatoes super thin, too!  Great for a potato au gratin.






Want matchstick carrots?


Here's a tip for slicing carrots (works well for food processors, too!):  Spray the plastic part(s) with oil where the carrots will come in contact.  This will keep them from getting stained that orange color.


I love the slicer guard.  Just poke the veggie....



Begin slicing...



Slice all the way to the end....no cuts on your fingers!  Yay!  It slices all the way with very little waste.



This comes apart easily for washing...and folds flat for compact storage.


The blades store very nicely in the underside...


This doesn't replace my food processor for shredding and chopping, but I love how I can slice with this!  This is a mid-price range slicer and for $40, I think it is reasonable.  This is great for small jobs, as it does require some muscle work.  Save the larger jobs for the food processor.

You can find this at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams Sonoma, and Amazon.



I was not compensated for this post.  Opinions expressed are always mine!
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