Saturday, June 30, 2012

French Silk Pie!

As a kid I can remember my mom going to "the city" which was Grand Island, Nebraska and once in a great while "splurging" on a piece of french silk pie and bringing it home.  It was heaven, pure chocolate heaven.  It was nothing like I had ever tasted and I couldn't WAIT until I was able to drive, I was going to go to Grand Island and get my own dang piece of pie one day!  Great goals eh?  Yea well.......come on I was a city kid at heart trapped in small town America and I was bustin' out baby!

Well, when I asked my mom about a recipe for it years and years ago, she told me she didn't have one but thought it was really difficult to make so I never even looked any further.  Well now that I am an advanced wannabe (in my mind anyway) I was ready to find this recipe, divide and conquer!

That being said, I waited a long time to find a recipe with cooked eggs.  Traditionally this pie has raw eggs in it.   This is the only kind of pie I will eat.   Last week, on that fateful day  I was surfing You Tube as I normally do and there it was.   There was the video I had been waiting for, showing how to make it.   I thought there was no way it could be that easy. I mean yes, there are alot of steps and you will dirty alot of bowls and dishes, but who cares?!?!? This is...FRENCH. SILK. PIE. we are talking about! (was that really even a sentence? Nah, I didn't think so).   This is the channel in which I found it.  I emailed this user and never heard back but it wouldn't be right to not link you to his channel , croutonsandcrackerjacks

Let us delay no longer.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to let this puppy sit at least 8 hours.  Pfftt...I was like, you have GOT to be kidding me.  But I did it! 

Here is what you need to get started!
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 squares of UNSWEETENED baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick of butter softened to room temperature (NO margarine)
1 cup whipping cream (
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 pie crust, blind baked and cooled. (350-10-15 min, or until done)

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp powdered sugar
Chocolate shavings (optional)

Ok here is where I change things a little.  The order in which you prepare your steps. 

1. Prepare pie crust and let it cool.

2. Melt chocolate, 30 seconds at a time in the microwave.  Took me 3 times.  Let cool.  I didn't let me cool completely and it was still just fine.

3. Combine sugar and eggs in a saucepan.  Whisk constantly and let come up to 160 degree's.  It will cook the eggs to make them safe but not make scrambled eggs!

4.  Poor cooled melted chocolate into eggs/sugar mixture, then add in vanilla.  Combine thoroughly and let cool 1 to 2 hours.  (or for you fellow impatient folk, put that baby in an ice bath and careful stir here and there and cool it in 20-30 minutes) Just sayin...

5. While it is cooling, whip 1 cup whipping cream just beyond soft peaks or to practically stiff peaks like I did. 

6. Beat butter until it is fluffy

7. When chocolate mixture is cooled,  pour it into the butter and beat until smooth, then carefully fold it into the whipped cream and fold until totally combined!

8.  Pour into prepared pie shell and refrigerate at least 8 hours, mine was overnight and then some.  My GOD the perfection of it all.

Before serving, cover in whipped cream, spread it, pipe it, or whatever method you want to use!  You can also top that with shaved milk chocolate shavings!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  I had to wait to cut it to see if it really worked, it had to have the "French Silk Pie" texture, you know?  It does and boy is it fantastic!!

Your "there is NOTHING I can't do now"chefwannabe

Friday, June 29, 2012

Swiss Cheese Dip!

So, I was in the grocery store the other day.  Sometimes I shop that store as if it holds a single golden coin somewhere in the aisles of product.   I am obsessed with finding new things to try or to incorporate into a recipe.  I like new and exciting stuff, even if it is stuff I don't care to eat myself.

We are "picky" eaters.  I don't mean we are choosey about food, we call chips, dip, finger foods, "picky's".  My hubs is a chip and dip lovin' fool, and along with his love for all stinky feet cheese I knew it would be a hit.....

I was eyeballin' the specialty cheese case when I saw some cheese with a clearance sticker.  I was having a hard time getting to it as some managers were discussing rearranging right in the middle of the aisle. Why in billy heck they do this I have no idea.  It was annoying and each of the 3 times I tried to shoot for that piece of cheese I got, "Oh we are in the way aren't we?".  Hell yes you are, and you were in the way that last 2 times I tried as well.  Bleh.  Anyway, as I finally made my descent into the cheese case to grab that hunk of cheese a very nice woman named Fran asked me if I had ever tried the dip they make with that cheese at the holidays.  I told her I had not, and asked if she could give me the recipe.  She of course makes it with 5lb hunks of cheese so she sweetly gave me her approximated amounts for a small batch. I thanked her and went on my way, ready to make a delicious dip I would never even taste!

Now this being said, I feel like I prepared the dip wrong but I am going to share it anyway.  I feel like I should have put this entire mixture in my food processor.  My husband chimed in with, "maybe you should heat it and serve it hot".  Why do our husbands need to chime in?  HA!   In retrospect I would like to see this in the processor, but I imagine the taste is great either way, just maybe easier to get "all up on" a cracker if it was processed.

Admittedly I feel a little guilty, because this is so easy. I added to much onion for the hubs so now it is up to my sister to demolish the entire bowl.  I think it would be a nice touch to add green onion instead of chopped onion, for some color.  Here we go!

2 cups Jarlsberg Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup Hellman's (no miracle whip people)
1 tsp grated onion or 2 tsps minced onion
Pepper to taste

Shred cheese.  Add Hellman's and onion.  Mix thoroughly.  You can put this in your food processor and process until it is at your desired consistency or you can serve just as it is with crackers!

So here you go, easy, peasy, quick and cheesy!  I hope you enjoy it.  Might make a great 4th of July get together dip.  Something easy and different.  It will surely tempt the taste buds of everyone in your life who loves cheese that smells like......

Wishing you happy dipping!!  Let me know if you try it and put it in the processor or heat it!

Your "stinky feet and cheese loathing" chefwannabe

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Homemade Pizza - Chicken Alfredo Pizza Rustica

Hello my friends!!!  Summer is in full swing!  Your kids have probably been out of school a month or so.  Are you ready for school to start back up yet? Mwaaahahaha........

I LOVE cleaning out the fridge and seeing what I can make with leftovers.  I made baked chicken a few nights ago and I had some chicken leftover.  I had picked up some mushrooms at the store for my husband since he loves them.  I figured I would work them into something.  By the way, isn't it gratifying to be able to use 3 or 4 things up on a dish?  Am I the only one that feels like I am the queen of the universe when I do that? 

As we were sitting eating the chicken for dinner, he announced, "OMG, can you make me a chicken Alfredo pizza with mushrooms"?  Well of course I can darling, anything for you!!!!  Uh-huh.  

So I gathered my pizza dough making ingredients.  I have, in my opinion and a few other readers opinions, the best pizza dough recipe going.  The dough is so gorgeous you are going to want to use it for a pillow!  This pizza I call "Rustica" because it is so rustic.  Irregular shaped, ingredients of leftovers, yet hearty, heart warming eating!  Here is my recipe for Pizza Dough.  My dough makes 2 regular size pizza's, but I used the whole ball for a very large pizza!

Remember mine were leftovers so I will list what you will need:
1 large or 2 small cooked chicken breasts  (season them up any way you choose!) cut into small pieces, no shreds for this one guys!
2 cups fresh mushrooms sauteed in 1 tbsp butter and set aside
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp dried Italian Seasoning

For the sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare your crust and spread it in any old shape on a cookie sheet, pizza stone or pizza peel.  
Preheat oven to 450 degrees

To prepare your sauce, melt butter into a saucepan.  Add flour and using a whisk mix while letting the flour cook 1 minute.  Add milk while whisking, make sure it is ALMOST at a bubble so it will begin to thicken.  Don't stop whisking!  Add in parm cheese and turn it down to a simmer, let simmer 3-5 minutes until very thick.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Let cook just for a couple of minutes.

Pizza assembly....spread sauce over pizza crust, add mushrooms and cut up chicken all over the top of the pizza.  Sprinkle on Italian seasoning, and cheeses.   Bake at 450 for 20-30 minutes.  It all depends on how thick you left your crust and how you like your pizza done! 

You will come out with a gorgeously browned rustic looking pizza for your eating pleasure!  My husband highly suggests you try this one! 

PS.  I just had a thought, someone should try this on the grill.  Seriously!  If you do let me know!

Your "now adding P.S's to posts it seems" chefwannabe

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Easy Beef Stroganoff

I know you have made this 100 times.  I have.  Maybe even used 100 recipes.  Some call for mushrooms, some do not, some serve on rice or mashed potatoes, some do not.  There is an entire realm of dishes called "Beef Stroganoff".  Truth is, there are as many stories about this dish as there are recipes.  Some recipes also flour the beef, been there, done that, not my kinda deal. 

My husband loves beef stroganoff and he loves mushrooms in it.  I did not add mushrooms this time but I will add them to the recipe so you can make it "wit" or "wit out".  Oh wait, that is cheese steaks.  How is it possible I am thinking of a cheese steak, a REAL cheese steak in the middle of writing a beef stroganoff blog.  I don't know.  Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  I am convinced if it has beef, you serve it on noodles and incorporates sour cream into the sauce it has to be classified as beef stroganoff.

This recipe is so easy, and will feed a crowd.  It is nothing fancy, just fabulous.  And you know "fabulous" is one of my favorite words, mostly because the Grinch says it so well, but if I deem it fabulous, it must be at least kind of true, right?

We are beef eaters, so I used a large amount.  It really can be changed up for your taste but this is even better as leftovers so use as much as I say and don't keep the experience of eating this as leftovers from your precious families.

Here is what you need:
2 lbs of beef cut into strips or cubes.  (I am hooked on eye of round  because there is NO fat)
2 cups fresh mushrooms sliced (or 2 small cans, if you must)
1 tsp thyme
3 cups beef stock (COLD)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce (yes, and don't ask, just do)
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste, I add lots of black pepper
Egg Noodles (buttered)
Fresh parsley (optional)

In a large-ish pot add a drizzle of olive oil and add in beef, browning one layer at a time.  Remove and add more until all is done.  Toss in mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes if they are fresh and add in the beef,  if you aren't adding any or they are from a can just skip this step and add them in with the beef.  Stir in your thyme and soy sauce as well.

Steamy I know, but look beyond the fog!
Take your COLD beef stock and whisk in your cornstarch, make sure it is whisked WELL.  When beef has reheated and is sizzling, add in your beef stock, start stirring immediately as it will begin to thicken in just a couple of seconds!  Stir and cook for 3 minutes. 

Put the lid on and prepare your egg noodles according to package directions.  Just before serving, mix in sour cream.  Serve on top of your hot buttered egg noodles and garnish with parsley if you like!

I made some corn on the cob and had some fresh sliced tomatoes with this, it was SO good!

PS.  This is that dish you just can't make look so pretty in a photo.  Sorry!

Enjoy my friends!

Your "husband still isn't over having no mushrooms"chefwannabe

Monday, June 25, 2012

Roasted Red Potatoes, you know, how TORIOLOGY does it!

Good Morning foodies!  This poor blog has been a trainwreck!  I have collaborated with my newest foodie friend Victoria over at Toriology, I made my dish, *we recipe swapped*, left it in the oven 10 minutes to long because the dog ran out the front door, had it all typed up and apparently forgot to save it.  So this is going to be try number 2!!

So as Victoria puts it, she was all alone on the foodie playground, when in reality, who could resist her kindness and sweetness?  I am so thankful she is part of my foodie world *and my non foodie world*.  I love when you find that handful of people you just know you would be great friends in the flesh, if you didn't live 1500 miles away! 

So I was reading through her recipes and this one caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  First, it was going to go perfectly with my roasted chicken, and secondly, it was potatoes, WITH breadcrumbs.  I am sorry but for a carb-a-holic, this is my heaven folks.  They looked delicious, yes, please look at HER photo because her dog *if she has one* obviously didn't decide to sabatage her blog recipe!  Even though they look a little more brown than they should in my photo, they were NOT burned and tasted amazing.  The texture of them is like so amazing.  The potatoes get a little crunchy and with the addition of the bread crumbs and parm, seasonings and olive oil it makes this crunchy breading almost on the outside.  I don't know guys, just make them, just do it, because you are missing out if you don't!  They  are so versatile as well, you can use any spice you want on them so you can suit them to your families taste!
Oh and I tripled the recipe because I was serving 4 hungry adults.  And FYI the leftovers are awesome with eggs the next morning.  Just sayin....

Here is what you need to get going on these crispy, crunchy, SO flavorful gems....

4 Red Potatoes
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Bread Crumbs (I use fresh, always)
1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese

Extra seasonings which you can change out for anything you like.  I used..
1tsp each, dried parsely, rosemary and basil.  I peppered them and salted them when they came out of the oven, ya know, AFTER I got the dog back in the house.  *insert eye roll*
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Make sure to wash and slive your potatoes.  I quartered mine because they were so cute and little.  Add all of your seasonings, breadcrumbs, cheese and drizzle with your olive oil.  Toss to combine.  It will look something like this!

I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper, just because I like easy clean up.  Dump your potatoes on and do NOT cook them 10 extra minutes.  Bake them at 30-40 minutes, and halfway through give them a flip, toss or shake so they can get crispy and good on all sides! 

Like I said, these are SO good.  I can't think of much they won't compliment in a meal.  Try them, and then come back and let us know how you loved them too!

Your "potatoes with crunchy breading are ya KIDDIN' me" chefwannabe

Make sure to visit Victoria at Toriology, or LIKE her on Facebook Facebook-Toriology, or on Twitter.  Let her know chefwannabe is gonna work her way through her recipe index as soon as possible and you should too!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Asian Chili Ramen Wrapped Shrimp!

Oh YES I did!  I KNEW I could find a way to let my dirty little secret (Ramen Noodles) into the kitchen.  I knew I could get it to hold a special place in a special dish where it wouldn't be made fun of, ridiculed for its unhealthy existence and not just be referred to as a joke!  I did it!

Let me tell you first.  I do not like shrimp.  I like crab and I like lobster.  No shrimpy shrimpy, no scallops, no talapia, not oysters, clams or mussels.  So this one banked shearly on the opinion of my shrimp and all seafood loving husband. 

Do you know how hard it is to find giant shrimp in the middle of the US?  I do use a seafood store here in Omaha that I can USUALLY get what I need at.  Of course, my debit card thought it was buying a diamond but none the less I was able to find about U10 shrimp.  That means that  10 or under make a pound which translates to BIG!  They techinically are Extra Colossal, but I don't feel like that were that big.  Anyway I found them out here as far from any ocean you can get and that alone was a great feat!  I only bought 4 and wrote the recipe that way because I knew my husband would be the only one to eat them.  Make sure they are peeled and deveined, whether you have your fishmonger do it or you do it at home.  Leave the tails on for easier eating!

That being said, I really do not see why you couldn't use a much smaller shrimp and use them as an appetizer or starter if you can't find the bigger shrimp or it is just far more budget friendly.  *and trust me it IS*

This is really so easy to make and it is delicious.  It will look so impressive your friends are going to think you enrolled in culinary school when in reality you were spending time behind their backs with a package of RAMEN noodles! HAHA!

I made these spicy.  To avoid that though, use shrimp flavored ramen and omit the Sriracha!  Let's get going on these babies!

You will need:
4 colossal shrimp
1 pkg chili flavored ramen *this will easily do 8 huge shrimp*
1 tsp Sriracha *optional*
salt and pepper to taste
Peanut oil for frying

Make sure your shrimp are deveined and the tails left on.  Prepare your ramen soup according to package directions only add 1 tsp Sriracha to your boiling water and when cooked,  drain ALL water and then add in 1 tsp butter and flavor packet. 

Mix until all butter is melted and noodles are coated. Let cool completely.  Bring peanut oil to 350 degrees.  Make sure to use a paper towel and dry your shrimp off.  Salt and pepper them to taste or use Mr. Pete's Seasoning!.  Take a small amount of ramen noodles, and carefully wrap the shrimp in the noodles.  Make sure to try and end them so they stick and stay in a position over the top or underneath. 

Wrap all shrimp.  We are not striving for perfection here, as you can see, a little messy wrapping just makes the dish more interesting to look at!

Fry for approx 2 minutes on each side.  Mine were done perfectly, so make sure to watch them according what size shrimp you use. 

Drain on a paper towel and serve!  Use some wasabi, duck sauce or more sriracha for dipping!


Your "I found my inner spicy Asian"chefwannabe

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hot Dogs...Smith style. SMITH DOGS!

Aren't there just some things you can do as an adult that you couldn't as a child, that make you think, "HA HA" to your parents?  Growing up in a large family, money was always tight.  My mom would buy the cheapest hotdogs known to man.  Only God knows what was REALLY in them and if you know, please, keep it that way, I don't need to know, I can only imagine.  Anyway, she would try cooking the on the grill, boiled in water, later the microwave.  Anything to make them taste better.   She succeded.  These are no way healthy, so if that is what you are looking for, you should go to a different recipe!  These were just something my mom made to make ingredients streeeetch and do the best she could in the kitchen for a huge family!

I called her tonight telling her what I was making for dinner.  Ultimately it was only because I had some leftover hot dogs to use up and had what I needed.  She told she can't remember how this idea was born but we laughed over how we could only use 1/2  slice of bacon per hot dog back in the day.  We had to make food go as far as we could and so half a piece of bacon it was.  This was my "HA HA" moment.  As we laughed I said, "One thing WILL be different mom, I will be using an ENTIRE slice of bacon"!  We laughed some more and reminisced some more.  Funny how you remember little things like that.  I did do the cheese the same, I mean after all, I couldn't change everything!

These are so easy to make it almost seems a ridiculous post.  However, sometimes the easiest and simplest things are the best!  You can make these with uncooked hot dogs or already cooked ones.  You could change it out to sausages or my choice would be all beef hot dogs.  I just wanted to make them like my mom did for you guys.  You could change your cheese out to real cheese instead of cheese slices too!  Lets get started on this easy but tasty way to serve a hot dog!

You will need:

Hot Dogs (however many you need!) and I would cook them first to be safe
Bacon enough for 1 piece per hot dog
Cheese slices

Prepare your cookie sheet first.  Cover in foil, and if you want you can use your broiler pan because these will get put under the broiler.  It just makes cleanup easier and I am all for easier cleanup!  Now take your cheese slice(s) and cut it into strips like this.  I got 6 strips from each piece.  Cut your hot dog down the center, not all the way through but the entire length.  Tuck in a piece of cheese.  You could use cheddar or any other cheese as well!  Do this with all of the hot dogs.

The only thing left is to take a piece of bacon, and carefully wrap each hot dog in it.  Starting at one end and wrapping it so it covers the hot dog completely.  Make sure that you end on the bottom or enough on the top for the bacon to stay put!  Place on your baking sheet of choice.

Set your oven to BROIL.  Keep the door open slightly and broil for 6 minutes.  Remove and flip the hot dogs, and broil for another 4-5 minutes.  If you want crispier bacon, add 1-2 minutes per side.  Serve alone or on a bun!!!

These are so much better than I remember them as a kid.  I haven't eaten on in 20 years at least and I probably won't make a habit of making them to often, but I have to always share dishes from my childhood.  I wish they were healthier, but they aren't.   I think I could do the same thing with little smokies for parties. 

Your "they are either your hell or your dream"chefwannabe

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cody's Favorite, Enchilada Casserole!

Finally!  I am so sorry it has been so long since you were served any new food!  It has been busy and as you know if you follow my fan page, I was at my parents all weekend.  What fun!  I got my behind back in the kitchen though and have a long time favorite of my son's to share.

I used to teach music at this little country school called Valleyside.  When I would get to work in the morning the school cook who was also a parent *LOVE YA LORRAINE* would already be there.  She had this rule that since there were less than 20 kids in the school that kind of, whoever got to work first got to pick what was for lunch.  I always picked Thanksgiving dinner.  One day when I walked in, she said, "I swear Smith, I am not making Thanksgiving dinner AGAIN" and then told me someone else had requested this recipe first.  I decided to keep an open mind, I mean who doesn't love Thanksgiving dinner once a week?

I eventually started making this for my family, ya know,  when I got one.  Ha, like I went and purchased them.  Anyway, my son quickly deemed this his favorite meal.  I could tell by the way we would have to remind him to breath and slow down constantly when he ate it.  Or perhaps it was the half a pan that was gone before I even got to give myself any!  He came home from deployment last summer, and it was his first request!  So Cody, I am sharing this with the rest of my readers so they may enjoy it around their tables like we did ours!  I love you buddy!  Hooah!

This casserole is amazing.  SO easy, but so good.  It pleases everyone and can be changed up by it's toppings in so many ways!  Everyone can top it to meet their level of deliciousness!

Here is what you need to grab outta the freezer or at the store,
2 lbs ground beef
3 cans enchilada sauce
2 bags cheddar or Mexican mix cheese
10 sm-med soft shell flour tortillas
2 pkgs taco seasoning mix

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix raw hamburger and taco seasoning together and brown.  Drain hamburger.  Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and lay down 3 tortilla shells.  Two of them side by side and cut one in half and flip the straight sides to the outsides of the pan in the middle.  Or do it however you like!  If you do 3 layers you will end up with 2 shells for the very top which is fine!

Layer on ground beef, 3/4 of a can of enchilada sauce, cheese and then shells again.  Do this until your ingredients have run out.  End with 2 shells, the rest of the enchilada sauce and tons of cheese!  Like this.....

When you have completed all the steps, your enchilada casserole should look like this!!

Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  You are just melting cheese and letting everything heat through so it is one bunch of gooey goodness!!

Here it is, finished.....

Here are some ways you could change this up.  
Add a layer of:
Refried Beans
Onions browned with hamburger

Toppings are the best part, so here is what I suggest and almost always serve as toppings!
Avocados or guacamole
Sour Cream

This can be made in disposable pans and frozen for later use.  It can be made ahead and just reheated by the piece or the entire pan.  It truly pleases all, because it can be tailored by each person to their taste with the toppings!

Enjoy my friends!  

Your "spicy HOT" chefwannabe

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

French Dip Sandwiches...

Good Evening friends!  Can you believe it?  Two days, two posts.  Whaaaaaatttt?  I hope that you are all doing well, enjoying summertime, soaking up the sun as Sheryl Crow would say.

I had the pleasure of attending my niece Cynthia's college graduation party and my nephew Trevor's high school graduation on the same night.  The meat my sister served, shredded and with choices of sauces, was out of this world.  No, I am serious, it was unlike any other I have ever eaten.  When I asked her how she seasoned it, she said she used Jim Baldridge's Secret Seasoning.  Wowzer.  I immediately knew I wanted to try this, and I wanted to make a french dip out of the meat I seasoned with this seasoning.  This is a Nebraska based company, so I am completely unsure if you can buy it in any other states other than their website Jim Baldridge's Secret Seasoning.  It is an MSG, gluten and allergen free seasoning.  The flavor is that of a smokey, oh I don't know, I can't explain it, it is just that good.

This is less of a recipe and more of a method.  You can use any roast you like, you can even put it in the crock pot.  Yes, I said it, CROCK POT.  A fattier roast will do better, especially if you want to shred.  I wanted to thin slice so I chose one that has virtually no fat.  I used a very lean roast, that would only get tougher the longer I cooked it but I knew I wanted to slice it for french dips ahead of time so I didn't worry that it had no fat.

Here is what you will need for MY method:
2-3 lb beef roast (or pork for a more pulled pork effect)
1 can beef consume (yes, I DID cheat)
1 cup water
1 beef boullion cube
Aluminum foil
1 roasting bag or slow cooker liner bag
4-5 crusty long rolls
Sliced cheese of choice

Here is how I used the seasoning.  I took 2 eye of round roasts, smallish, probably 2-3 lbs in total.

I used 1/4 cup of seasoning, and patted it into the roasts and put them in a Ziploc and let them marinate in it overnight.  Actually it was a full 24 hours.  At that time, I took another 1/8-1/4 cup and massaged more into the meat.  Yes kids, I massaged it good!

I then put it into a slow cooker liner bag.  I added 1 cup of water and 1 beef bouillon cube.  Tie that puppy up, tight!  Now you are going to proceed to wrap it in 3-5 layers of foil.

Go ahead, git-r-done.  (sometime I will tell you how when I hear that phrase I shoot flames out of my.....everywhere)

Now, put it in a 9x13 pan, and cook it on 200 degree's, for about 5-7 hours.  You can go 300 for 3-4 hours.  You can also put it in your crock pot, on low for about 10-12 hours.  If you put it in the crock pot you obviously will not be able to slice it, you will need to do shredded beef sandwiches.

You can serve with BBQ sauce or whatever you choose.  Admittedly, I need nothing, the flavor is awesome all alone.

Now heat up that consume`, and add some juice from the bag your meat was in!  You can add a drop of Worcestershire sauce if you like too!  Makes amazing Au Jus!

Lucky for us, the fine folks at Jim Baldridge's Secret Seasonings have sent me a couple of bottles of their awesome spice to share with my readers.  So leave a comment below and it will be your entry to win. There will be 2 winners chosen by  Please, only one entry per person.

You have until June 20th (8pm CST)!!

Please enjoy these sandwiches, you can have cheese or no cheese!  Slice your meat THIN!  Toast your rolls they are SO much better that way!

Your "Jim Baldridge is my new best friend"chefwannabe

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I got tagged!

Bernadette over at Rants From My Crazy Kitchen tagged me to do a blog answering some questions about myself.  You all are just dying to know more about me right? (insert professional style eye roll here).  Well tough.  I am going to tell you ANYWAY!!  Thanks Bernadette this will be fun......I think!


Why did you start your blog? Did you have a specific purpose to it or was it a whim decision that ended up where it is?  It was a specific purpose, to share recipes and photos, and to have a record of my recipes for my son and family!

You’re not living the life you have now, a different one, with none of what you have now. What type of life is it? This is hard I have 2 scenario's.  1.  I would be a doctor, in a huge, busy ER, living in a huge warehouse converted to condo's.  2.  The music business.  A manager, a promoter....something swanky, full of people constantly and exciting.  

I can quote the movie ________ word for word.  Steel Magnolia's, Beaches and Bed of Roses. Ok and Superstar!

One thing you never thought you’d do in life, but have:  Love so completely.

3 facts about you that people don’t know:   I am a dog FREAK, I was hit by a train and lived, I sing

 Tom Selleck , mustache or no mustache? Why?  He is heinous either way.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories?  Watching my mom's hands when she played the piano, and my dad picking me up when he got home from work and resting my head on his chest so I could feel the vibration of his voice.

  What is one of your most embarrassing childhood memories?   I never had clothes on, I hated them and I would take them off as soon as my mom put them on.  I have VERY few photos of myself before the age of 5 where I am clothed with at least 1 piece of clothing

  I ______ and blamed it on _______.  called my dad a "dirty bastard" on my sister Patty.  I told him she made me say it.  Mwaahaahahahaha.......

 I would do anything (legal/illegal) to meet ______.  Andrea Boccelli

You’re stranded in the middle of Australia , what are the 3 items you bring with you? Cellphone, makeup, Propel water

O  M   G  I just realized something, I didn't ahve to answer THOSE questions, only the ones Bernadette came up with for me.  Oh lord............well you got more than you bargained for eh?

 1. What is one food you have never cooked/made because you are afraid to?  Squid
  2. What place would you most love to visit? Austria because of the rich musical culture.
  3. What is the best thing you have ever eaten? does something to me nothing else does!
  4. What is the best place you have visited?  Bahamas
  5. What did you hate as a child that you love now?  Seafood
  6. How many times have you moved in your life?  10
  7. What is your dream home?  a quaint house with a huge kitchen, no need for bathrooms or anything, just a HUGE kitchen. LOL
  8. Do you like the area you live in now? No comment?
  9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Minnesota or California
  10. What is your favorite TV show EVER?  All things REAL HOUSEWIVES!
  11. What is your favorite song EVER?  Here Comes The Sun - Beatles

Bacon Wrapped Roasted Chicken

Hello my beautiful foodie friends!

I am coming to you tonight from a place of sunburn.  I laid out at the lake with my sister today, and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine.  Only 2 hours out there and grrrr. So if you could see me holding completely still only moving my fingers, it is kind of funny.  My husband will have a cow and I will get the "lecture" so I tip-toed with the aloe gel into the bathroom slathered up, and came back to the computer.  All is long as you guys don't tell, I am good!

Last night I had the bacon cravin'.  And I ALWAYS want chicken.  Is anyone else as big of a chicken fanatic as I am?  I just love it.  I prefer it over any other meat.  Well, I take that back, I love a good bloody steak too.  Anyway, I digress.  It is this delicious meal that came out of my craving that I want to share with you all.  (omg, my shoulder itches, I can't itch will be excruciating!)

Also, I finally got the Northwoods Seasoning from Penzey's Spices.  One of my readers, whose name I can not recall kept asking me if I had tried it.  Well I got some and thought this was a great time to see how I liked it!  Delicious!  If you haven't tried it, you are missing out!

Here is what you need to get out of the freezer, fridge, wherever you keep it!

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (however many you need)
1lb bacon
Penzey's Northwoods Seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
salt and pepper

Veggies - you can choose any you like, I used potatoes and carrots but you can use squash, zucchini, turnips, parsnips, celery root, eggplant, etc.  Cut into SMALL pieces.  This won't cook a really long time.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Cut enough veggies for the amount of servings you need.  I used 4 potatoes and probably 6 carrots.  Cut into smallish pieces, your chicken will only bake for 40 minutes or so and you want your veggies cooked through.  Put them in the bottom of a 9x13 pan or casserole, salt and pepper and set aside.  Oh yea, add some Northwoods to them as well!  DELISH!

Take a piece of your chicken, sprinkle liberally with Northwoods seasoning or any seasoning you choose, and use 2 pieces of bacon to wrap it around the chicken.  Do this with all of your chicken and place on top of the bed of veggies!

Bake at 400 for approx 40-45 minutes or until your internal temp on the chicken is 165 degrees.  Cover for the first 20 minutes and uncover for the last.  

I know many of you love these one pot, one pan jobbers.  It would make a nice quick meal for a family on the go.  Prep veggies the night before and put in a baggie, same with chicken, through it together and in less than an hour, you have dinner!  

I hope you enjoy!!  

Your "chicken and bacon and sunburns oh my" chefwannabe

Monday, June 4, 2012

Your favorite summer drink, in a cupcake!

So, you DID listen to me and you did come over for this one eh?  Cool, glad you did.  This may seem like a regular cupcake recipe but it has a fun twist and when you see what it is, you are going to think to yourself, "COOL"!  If you have a child celebrating a birthday soon, don't order cupcakes, make these!  Let me get on to gettin' on so you can find out, I possibly hit this one out of the park.  

Well, you all know how I feel about box cake mixes.  And to be honest, I swear I was going to use a from scratch recipe today.  When at the last minute I decided to divide my batter, I decided I was going with a box.  You will see why.  I just want it to be noted, I DID plan on making cake from scratch.  Even fate thinks I am better off with the box!

Cherry limeades are possibly my second most favorite drink, especially in the summer.  My husband so kindly brought me one a week or so ago and with my unwavering love of cupcakes I thought I should probably try to put this drink, in a cupcake.  I did it, I really did it.  AND, to top it off, literally, you get a sweet little cherry, and POP ROCKS!  I wanted to be able to give you that fizzy in your mouth like a limeade that is carbonated and what better way?  It beat out the idea of just having you pour baking soda and vinegar with a shot of lime down your throat.  Better choice, don't you think?

Here is what you will need for the cake part of this recipe:

White cake mix
Cherry Flavoring
2 limes (zest AND juice)
green food coloring
red food coloring

Mix cake according to package directions EXCEPT, leave out the water it calls for.  At this point divide into 2 bowls.

Bowl 1 gets, half the amount of water called for, 3-5 drops of red food coloring and 3 tsp cherry flavor.  Mix completely.

Bowl 2 gets, zest of one lime, juice from 2 limes into a measuring cup.  Whatever the difference is between the lime juice and half of the measurement needed for water, make up with water added to your lime juice.  Also add 3-5 drops of green food coloring.

Preheat oven to the temperature on the box and line cupcake pan with liners.  (have some that are slightly attractive, unlike mine, thus the missing liner on the photos)

Add green batter to the bottoms of all the liners, about 1 1/2 tbsp, and then add the red/pink batter on top.  You want to make it so this fills the cupcake up 2/3 of the way.  I got 18 cupcakes, but I think you should easily get 20.  I overfilled a handful of them.  Bake according to package directions, they are done when a toothpick inserted, comes out clean.  Let cool completely.  While you are letting them cool, lets get started on the icing!

Lime Buttercreamcheese Frosting
4oz cream cheese at room temp
1 stick butter (room temp)
4 cups powdered sugar  (keep an extra 1/2 cup handy just in case)
green food coloring
2 limes (zest and juice)
marashino cherrys
pop rocks (cherry or strawberry)

Combine all ingredients with a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Mix until completely smooth and all food coloring is mixed in.

I used a piping back, and piped the icing on the cupcakes.  Top with a maraschino cherry, and cherry pop rocks.  If you want, RIGHT before serving you can drizzle a tiny bit of cherry juice over the top to get the rocks crackling while serving!  These are so fun!!  You will be a rock star if you serve these to a bunch of kids OR adults!

Your "buy extra pop rocks for yourself"chefwannabe