Delicate Sweet Souffle

Triple Berry Souffle with powder sugar dusting

Triple Berry Souffle with powder sugar dusting

I’ll be honest I wanted to make this because I was bored and wanted the kids to stay quite for a minute. So I told them that any noise that they make and the souffles would fall and not be any good. 🙂 That last for a good 10 minutes. Well you can’t say I tried.

They were a lot fluffier but I opened the oven door before time. Don’t do that. They still tasted yummy. Looks don’t matter it is all about flavor.

Triple Berry Souffle

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for souffle dish dusting
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons triple berry jam or strawberry jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Brush 4 to 6 individual souffle dishes well with melted butter or spray with cooking spray. Put the sugar inside one dish and toss to coat, then tip the excess sugar into the next dish and repeat. Place the dishes in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Place the 1 cup of milk in a large saucepan. Scrape out the seeds from inside the vanilla then add the vanilla bean and seeds, heat just to a boil, then turn off the heat and set aside to let the vanilla bean infuse for 10 minutes. <- Be careful not to scald the milk. I did this three times.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, vanilla extract, the flour, triple berry jam and the reserved 1/3 cup milk until well combined.
  4. Remove vanilla bean. Add a little of the hot milk and whisk to combine, then add the flour mixture to the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Simmer just until thickened, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, stir, cover, and set aside 15 minutes.  Whisk in the egg yolks.
  5. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and continue whipping until stiff and glossy. Fold into the milk mixture. <- You don’t want to see any white streaks running through the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dishes, filling them 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven until puffed and light golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.*** Do not open the oven door unless absolutely necessary. Again I learned this the hard way.***

Spinach Pasta & Chicken Alfredo Dinner

A few days ago I made chicken alfredo with my homemade spinach pasta and it was a hit. And of course I was not expecting it to be such a great success I didn’t write down what I did. I do that a lot. 🙂

My husband asked for it again and this time I wrote it down. GO ME! 😀 Even my non-pasta loving child was asking for second and thirds. I think this is going to be on our menu for a while.

Spinach pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Spinach pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Alfredo has this expensive Italian sounding name but it is so easy to make, don’t be afraid. I have seen other recipes that call for cream cheese and I just couldn’t do that. To me cream cheese belongs on a bagel or for the base of a great tasting 7 layer dip. My Aunt Karen use to make this 7 layer dip all the time, and I can remember just eating the shredded cheese on top. But I digress. I wanted the sauce to be simple yet still have a ton of flavor and this is perfect.

Spinach Pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 5 oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lb spinach pasta, fettuccine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TBS parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBS garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large deep frying pan, fill about 3/4 way of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling add spinach pasta. Cook until tender: about 3-4 if using homemade pasta or 8-11 minutes using store bought pasta. <- See mine is faster cooking time 🙂
  2. Once pasta is done drain. Set to the side.
  3. Put pot back on the stove and drizzle a little olive oil in the center. Added garlic, cook until fragrant. Add chicken. Cook until done. About 10 minutes. Once done remove chicken.
  4. In the same frying add 1 cup a chicken stock and deglaze the pan. We don’t want all that yummy chicken flavor to go to waste.
  5. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour and the last 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Once combined add to frying pan. Cook over medium-low until sauce thickens.
  6. Once sauce is thick add the heavy cream and stir. Slowly add in the parmesan cheese in small batches, stirring after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add back in the chicken and let warm up in the sauce. Finally toss the pasta back into the sauce. Sprinkle in the parsley and serve.

This whole meal will take about 30 minutes to make and you only used 1 pot to make it. No, I am not kidding you. Easy to make and easy to clean up. For a busy family I don’t know what more you can ask for. This is where buying things like meat in bulk helps save money. Now let’s take a look at the break down.

$5 for the chicken + $0.45 for the chicken stock + $0.50 for the pasta + $0.05 parsley + $1.50 for the heavy cream + $0.05 for flour +$1.25 for parmesan cheese + $.05 for garlic = total $8.85. Now I feed 5 people, but since the average family is 4 we will base the serving price off of 4 people. That breaks down to $2.22 per serving. You can not go out and buy a meal for one person for that price.

Stocking up on Chicken Stock

9 jars of canned chicken stock

9 jars of canned chicken stock

We all have roasted a chicken or turkey at some point. Whether it is for a big Thanksgiving day meal or a simple Sunday dinner. But did you know that throwing away the bones you are throwing away money?! I know crazy thought but it is true. You can take those bones and turn them into chicken/turkey stock for your next soup, gravy, etc. And stretch you money even further. I know what you are thinking, you don’t have time to slave over a hot stove all day. Well guess what, you don’t have to. Follow these very simple steps and I promise you are not going to buy stock or bouillon again.

I made this batch of chicken stock from my BBQ pulled chicken we had for dinner last night. I just boiled the chicken first then separated the meat from the bones. Put the bones back in and shredded the chicken for what I want. Waste not want not.

Simple Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs
  • 16 cups water
  • 2 stalks celery
  • bundle of  parsley
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 large carrots

Directions:

  1. Combine chicken and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat. Skim off foam.DSC_0019
  2. Remove chicken from stock, reserving chicken for another use. DSC_0020After taking all the meat off the bones put all the remains back into the stock. Let simmer for 1 hour. DSC_0022Strain stock through a sieve or several layers of cheesecloth.DSC_0031
  3. You may have to do this a couple of times to get everything out.
  4. Allow stock to cool until fat solidifies. Skim off fat. <- This is important. you don’t want to can fat, it is not safe for canning. But if you are going to place it in the freezer, this step would be up to you.
  5. Heat stock to a boil. <- At this point you can either  freeze your stock or you can can it. I prefer canning. Follow the directions below for canning.

For canning the stock:

  1. Prepare pressure canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

    DSC_0036

    Heat jars and lids in the canner for 10 minutes.

  2. Ladle hot stock into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.DSC_0037
  3. Process filled jars in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

See I told you would not be in the kitchen all day making this stock. There are so many benefits to making your own stock 1) it is healthier than store bought 2) you know everything that went into making it 3) will help cut down on cooking time 4) has a much better flavor 5) you are not wasting money by buying something you can do yourself 6) it cost a fraction of the store bought. I can go on forever talking about the money you can save by canning and making things at home. 🙂

Okay let’s look at the break down of making the chicken stock:

$2 for the chicken bones + $0.15 for the carrots + $0.25 for the celery + $0.60 for the onion + $0.10 for the parsley = total is $3.10 to make one large pot stock. That break done to $0.45 for every 16 oz jar canned (about every 2 cups). Try going to the store and buying it at that price to make that much, I bet you can’t. And your homemade stock is sooo much better.

Rememeber: these are only estimates for the area that I live in. Your prices maybe be different.

Over Flowing Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cake

Chocolate Lava Cake

Rich chocolate cake with a warm chocolate melting center with fresh whip cream on top. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a sweet tooth. I get it from my dad! I love chocolate, well only if it is not ruined by nuts. I have enough nuts in my family I don’t want to eat them too. LOL 🙂

Nothing beats homemade bake goods and this is so rich with chocolate it should be sinful.  These look so hard to make but are so super easy. When looking up recipes and ideas I ran across different temperatures, times, etc. There are so many different way to make these. So I combines several and came up with this. This recipe make 5 so if you don’t want to share make them when no one is around cause they will be gone.

Over Flowing Chocolate Lava Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz  Semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS flour
  • 2 ts vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Spray down custard cups generusly with cooking spray and dust with a little cocoa powder, place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Whisk until smooth.

    Chocolate bar and butter melting in a double boiler.

    Chocolate bar and butter melting in a double boiler.

  4. Stir in sugar. Mix until well combined. Whisk in vanilla, eggs and egg yolks, combine completely. Add in flour.

    Sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour have been added to the chocolate mixture.

    Sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour have been added to the chocolate mixture.

  5. Divided chocolate mixture between the custard cups.

    Fill cups about 3/4 of the way.

    Fill cups about 3/4 of the way.

  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the sides are set and the center is still soft. The cakes will be done if the knife comes out clean from the edges and the center is still soft.
  7. Let stand for 1 minute before removing from cups.
  8. Invert cups on to plates and serve. <- whip cream, ice cream or strawberry sorbet would be great to have on the side of this little chocolate heavens. Or even a simple dusting of powdered sugar makes a great topping.

    Chocolate Lava Cake

    Chocolate Lava Cake

Easy Pasta, Many Flavors

Spinach Pasta and Chicken Alfredo

I had to been a really good girl for Santa to bring me a pasta maker from Christmas and I am so happy that he did. This is hands down the best pasta we have ever had, then again it is homemade I should have know better to doubt it. What I didn’t expect was how easy it was going to be! I have made 3 different flavors of pasta so far: classic, spinach, and roasted red peppers & garlic pasta. Each one has been so simple make. Each one only had a max of FOUR ingredients. I bet you have everything you need to make at least the classic pasta.

I have made pasta before using a rolling pin and pizza cutter. So you don’t need to have the pasta maker to make it just strong arms. So don’t think that you need the special pasta machine to make it! I am going to show you step by step how to make spinach pasta. This is my favorite pasta, especially when you top it was Alfredo and chicken. See picture above. Homemade of course, but that is for another post. 🙂

Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups of flour
  • 6 oz spinach, steamed & pureed
  • 2 eggs
  • dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Using a large pot and a steamer basket, steam spinach. About 5 minutes. Once spinach is done puree the spinach in a food processor.

    Steaming spinach

    Steaming spinach

  2. In a large bowl, place flour at the bottom and make a well. Crack two eggs into the center of the well and add a dash of salt.
    Eggs inside a flour well.

    Eggs inside a flour well.

    Slowly add the pureed spinach.

    Pureed spinach add to the flour and egg mixture.

    Pureed spinach add to the flour and egg mixture.

    Combine until a ball is formed.

  3. On a lightly floured surface kneed the pasta ball until smooth and elasticy. About 5-8 minutes.

    Spinach pasta ball ready for kneading.

    Spinach pasta ball ready for kneading.

  4. Wrap the pasta ball in plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes. <- Hint: Before placing the ball in the plastic wrap dust with flour, that way the pasta will not stick!

    Spinach pasta ball resting inside a plastic floured wrap.

    Spinach pasta ball resting inside a plastic floured wrap.

  5. Work in small batches!!!! Keep your work surface lightly floured at all times. You will be glad you did!!!You can do this part with a rolling pin and knife or use a pasta maker.
  6. Form a small circle by hand and run it through they highest setting on the pasta maker. As you are rolling it through with one hand guide it through the other end with the other hand.

    This is 1/4 of the dough cut into half and formed into little disks.

    This is 1/4 of the dough cut into half and formed into little disks.

  7. When the all of the pasta is out fold in half and dust with flour and repeat. Once the pasta has gone through the roller again fold in half, dust with flour and roll through the next setting. Keep repeating until the desire thickness is reached. <- Just remember to fold in half and dust with flour between each rolling. This helps keep the pasta from sticking to the rollers.  

    Pasta sheets going through the rollers.

    Pasta sheets going through the rollers.

  8. At this point you should have sheets of pasta. Let the sheets dry about ten minutes before cutting them. <- This makes it easier to cut!

    Sheets of pasta on a lightly floured surface air drying before turned into noodles.

    Sheets of pasta on a lightly floured surface air drying before turned into noodles.

  9. Before cutting, either with a knife, pizza cutter or the pasta roller make sure to dust the tools and pasta sheets. <- This helps keep the pasta from sticking. Now you should have a ton of little strips of pasta.

    Pasta sheets being cut into thin strips.

    Pasta sheets being cut into thin strips.

At this point you can boil some water and cook the pasta and eat right now! This should take between 4-8 minutes, depending on the thickness. Check the pasta half way, they will cook faster then store bought pasta.

Or you can dry the pasta. You have several different options for this. 1) If you have a dehydrator you can make little ‘nests’,  put in the 140 degree setting and let it sit in there for 2-4 hours. Again depending on thickness. <- Very brittle when they came out but completely dried.

Drying in the dehydrator.

Drying in the dehydrator.

2) Drape pasta over the racks in the oven. Turn the oven on to the lowest setting. Wait five minutes then turn off. The place the racks in the over and wait until dry. This takes between 1-2 hours. <- Warning: pasta may break using this method, keep a close eye on the drying.

Trying to dry the strips of pasta on cookie sheets to try to stop pasta breaking.

Trying to dry the strips of pasta on cookie sheets to try to stop pasta breaking.

3) This is by far the easiest method. Just let the pasta dry on a drying rack or lay them flat on the counter. <- If you choose to do it this way make sure it is not humid in the kitchen or outside. This will affect the drying.

I hope that the pictures helped you along the way. Once you get the basics down the different flavors you can make are endless. And at a fraction of the cost. Let’s just take a quick look at the estimated price for just the spinach pasta.

$0.30 for the spinach + 0.22 for two eggs + $0.50 for flour = $1.02 for the entire batch of homemade pasta which is about two meals worth.  You can’t buy the cheap brand of pasta for that price. The prices may vary depending on where you live.

Updated Classic Gingerbread Cookies

First post of 2014! I hope that everyone had a great holiday season and a very happy new year. I have been busy away in the kitchen as I am every holiday season. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂 It sounds strange but nothing relaxes me more, I just love being in the kitchen baking and cooking. I have some great new recipes I can not wait to share with you.

It seems during the holiday season you see lots of people with gingerbread cookies. I had made some a few weeks ago from a package that were okay but not great. This year I wanted to try making them from scratch, really just so I can say that I did. This one recipe makes over 60 cookies. For the price you pay in the store this is a steal. And to me nothing says I love you more than fresh goodies from the oven. 🙂

I have to admit though my cookie decorating skills need some work. But they did taste good!

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1) In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix
well.

2) Cover and refrigerate overnight. <- This is very important. This will help roll out the dough. 

3) On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. <- I used parchment paper to make the cookies easy to remove. High recommend. 

4) Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Options: If you want you can either frost these with royal icing or just gently dust them with powered sugar. I did the royal icing route. They taste great no matter which way you go. Enjoy.