Categories
Keto Recipes

KETO Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken, Grilled Veggies, & Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”

 

I would have to rate this meal as one of my all time favorites!!! Total food nirvana. The flavors are spot on, go so well together, and the coconut cauliflower rice is beyond delicious. The best part of it are all the tasty left overs! I’m salivating thinking about it. Grilling the teriyaki marinated chicken and vegetables brings another flavor dimension, brings out the caramelized sweetness of the veggies, and just overall elevates the whole dish. Fire up the grill, and dive in! Aloha flavor town!

I prefer to marinade (recipe below) the meat for at least a day or two, up to 5 days, and minimum a couple hours. When I am ready to grill up this meal, I will first set out the marinated meat on the counter to come up to room temperature while I prep the veggies and coconut rice. If you have a propane grill, don’t turn on the grill to preheat it until you are basically ready to throw everything on. 

If you have a charcoal grill, you will want to  light the briquettes and wait to throw on the meat and veggies until the coals are white and settled into a constant temp. Plan on a good 20-30 min for this. Don’t throw on the meat right after they turn white because the coals will still be cooler inside, just brown the outside of the meat rather than cooking it through evenly; the quick cooking bell peppers work well at this stage.

While the grill is heating up, I get the grated cauliflower with all the ingredients cooking on the stove, and stir as I am in and out flipping on the grill. 

Veggies to grill: Use sturdy veggies that won’t fall apart to grill without a basket, which I do not have and do not want to monkey with because that just means something else to clean and I love grilling for the lack of pans to clean.

For this meal I choose zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and red onion. You also want to cut them in large enough pieces to easily flip on the grill. You also want to cut veggies of the same kind as close to uniform in size to ensure even grilling time, and large enough not to fall through the grate. I usually cut a medium sized zucchini into quarter size spears the long way. For the yellow squash I cut the skinny part off and in half, then the thicker part into quarter spears length wise. I use a metal skewer for the red onion; I cut the onion in half, the half in quarters, the skewer the sections to keep from falling apart and falling through the grates. For the bell peppers, I start by cutting the bottom off as one section, then with the stem on the bottom I cut the 3 or 4 walls as the remaining sections, discarding the seeds, ribs, and stem. My favorite bell peppers to grill are the red, orange, and yellow peppers because I find them sweeter.

Prepping the meat: I always butterfly the chicken to make sure the chicken through evenly, and it cooks faster as well–4 min on each side for a grill heated to 400 degree fahrenheit. You can also use beef in this meal, which is also so delicious. My favorite cut of beef for this is flank steak. I still do 4 min on each side, then place it on the shelf of my grill for indirect heat while I cook the veggies for the same temp; if using coals move directly off the coals to the indirect heat.

Grilling veggies: After cutting the veggies to grill size, I coat with oil and kosher salt. My favorite oil is avocado oil, but any oil with a higher heat smoke point. The zucchini, yellow squash, and red onion take the longest to grill, and I flip to cook on all sides. The bell peppers I only cook on both sides, start with the skin side down, and only cook about 3 min on the first side to make sure they don’t get too blackened; after flipping they will cook quickly.

Grilling the meat: I always cook the meat first, and put in a 9x13 pan covered in foil to rest–they will continue to cook a bit resting–and start the veggies. As the veggies finish, I have another 9x13 pan ready to put them in and cover with foil which I find they continue to steam. The larger veggies also make easier serving, and can be cut to bite size by each person unless you have kids that need assistance.

KETO Hawaiian Teriyaki Marinade

Are you missing the flavors of Hawaii but are on the KETO diet or you want a low carb alternative to a Hawaiian Teriyaki marinade? Then this recipe is perfect for you. You won’t miss the pineapple with the extract, which also cuts the sugars. The flavors are the perfect Hawaiian-Asian fusion paired perfectly with grilled veggies and coconut KETO rice (recipe below). This marinade is great for any pound of meat you prefer; multiply amounts for more than one pound of meat as needed. 

1 c soy sauce

 2 T garlic, minced

1 T fresh ginger, minced

2 T fish sauce 

1/2 c serve brown sugar, or other sugar substitute

2 limes, juiced or 2 T lime juice

1 tsp pineapple extract (optional)

1/2 c oil, I prefer avocado oil 

NOTE: Marinade meat for at least a couple hours, and up to 5 days in the fridge. This recipe is for 1 lb of meat. 

1) Add all ingredients to a a bowl or zip lock bag large enough to fit the meat. 
2) Set for a couple hours, and turn the meat to ensure even coverage. If grilling or cooking within a couple hours, bring the meat up to room temperature on the counter.  
3) Grill or cook. Let the meat rest before cutting. Svādiṣṭa KETO! That’s delicious in Hindi.

 

KETO Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”

If you love tangy sweet broccoli salad, you will love this keto version which does not skimp on flavor and will keep you burning fat!

4 c grated cauliflower*

*frozen grated cauliflower, or fresh grated cauliflower, approximately 1 head

1 can coconut milk

pink Himalayan salt to taste

 

1) In a dutch over or large pan, add the cauliflower and coconut mile. Cook over medium heat stirring intermittently until desired tenderness is achieved. 

2) Season with the salt to taste as needed. 

 

Try these other KETO, Low Carb, and Sugar-Free recipes.

Keto Beef Broccoli & Keto Cauliflower “Rice”

Categories
Keto Recipes

KETO Indian Butter Chicken & Saffron Turmeric Cauliflower “Rice”

 

Can I just try to tell you how much I LOVE Indian food and starting KETO I was soooo worried about all the food I wouldn’t be able to have I had no idea the variety of food I would be able to have. AND how delicious and satisfying everything would be. I am NOT missing all the foods I was so scared I would AND I’m losing fat eating amazing food. I have been able adjust my fav regular recipes to KETO once I had enough knowledge under my belt. I was making this dish while my husband was out running errands, and he came in and was like “it smells so good, what is it?” You have to understand my husband is not KETO and prefers to get his own meals. He tried my Indian Butter Chicken on the stove and LOVED it! AND let’s talk about the Saffron Turmeric Cauli Rice! SO delicious. Seriously, I do not miss basmatti rice, or any rice like I thought I would on the KETO diet…never mind when I started I had no idea it would become a KETO Lifestyle. I had no idea that losing weight would feel so good, and be able to eat such good food! Seriously still blows me away from all I the false weight loss info that had been crammed down my throat since I was a kid.

The key to this recipe, IMO, is to make sure slow you brown the onions for about 20 min on med-low heat in butter. Browning the onions brings out their sweetness, and are just so delicious. I usually just prep the cauliflower rice and stir the onions throughout the browning process. One change I prefer that is different from most Butter Chicken recipes is that I do not add sour cream. I don’t think it needs it. Seriously delicious. 

Oh, one more thing before I share my recipe…I am not a fan of spicy food so please add cayenne pepper or anything else to achieve the heat you prefer. 

KETO Indian Butter Chicken

The aroma alone of this dish is out of this world. You will never need Indian take away, or ever need to miss out on excellent Indian food eating KETO with this recipe. Serve with Saffron Turmeric Cauliflower Rice (recipe below) and a veggie on the side like steamed buttered broccoli for a complete healthy keto meal. Add this recipe to your keto lifestyle.

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in cubes

2 T curry seasoning*

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1 tsp garlic powder

 1 T lemon juice

onion, sliced 

2 T butter

1-2 T garlic, to taste

1 T tomato paste

1 c heavy whipping cream

cilantro

*NOTE: Curry seasonings is a blend of cumin, turmeric, coriander, chile, mustard, cardamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper, saffron. My pick is by The Spice Hunter which is salt free. If you do not have this, then use about 2 tsp garam masala**, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp chili powder.

**Garam Masala is another seasoning mix, so if you don’t have this you can add 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp cloves, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg to the other spices listed in the above NOTE.

1) In a bowl or plastic bag, add the diced, chicken, curry seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice to marinade the chicken. Preferably marinade for at least two hours, but it is still delicious and flavorful if you let it marinade while slicing and browning the onions. 
2) In a dutch oven or large saute pan, add the butter and sliced onions. Brown the onions on med-low heat for at least 20 min. This brings out the sweetness of the onions. Stir intermittently, and prep and cook the cauliflower rice (recipe below).   
3) Once the onions are browned, add the spice marinaded chicken and garlic.  Cook the chicken through on medium heat. 
4) Add the tomato paste, and stir until completely incorporated. 

5) Add the cream, stir, and cook until slightly reduced but do not boil. If needed, turn down the heat to simmer.  Serve with cauliflower rice, garnish with chopped cilantro, and enjoy! Svādiṣṭa KETO! That’s delicious in Hindi.

 

KETO Saffron Turmeric Cauliflower “Rice”

If you love tangy sweet broccoli salad, you will love this keto version which does not skimp on flavor and will keep you burning fat!

4 c grated cauliflower*

4 T butter

1 tsp onion powder

*frozen grated cauliflower, or fresh grated cauliflower

a cube chicken bouillon, crushed

1 T turmeric

2 pinches saffron threads (optional)

4 T water

salt to taste, if needed

 

1) Melt the butter in a large saute pan or dutch oven on medium heat. Add the onion powder, chicken bouillon, turmeric, saffron, and water. Stir until combined. 

2) Add the grated cauliflower. Stir until evenly coated with butter mix. Saute until tender. Strain any excess moisture. Serve with your favorite dish. Enjoy!

 

Keto Lasagna

Keto Hawaiian Teriyaki Grilled Chicken, Grilled Veggies & Keto Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”

Keto Mexican Beef Bowl & Keto Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Keto Peanut Butter Gelato

Keto Chicken Cordon Bleu & Keto Broccoli Salad

Keto Beef Stroganoff

Keto Pancakes

Keto Pizza & Keto Homemade Pizza Sauce

Keto Broccoli Beef & Keto Cauliflower Rice

Keto Hawaiian Teriyaki Grilled Chicken, Grilled Veggies & Keto Coconut Cauliflower “Rice”

Categories
Keto Recipes

Keto Lasagna

 

One of my biggest fears starting a KETO lifestyle was giving up breads and pasta. I was so uneducated on KETO when I first started, all I knew is that it was high fat low carb and I kept seeing it with connected to IF (intermittent fasting) specifically for women over 40. I had seen many people lose and keep off a ton of fat. I had the biggest weight loss goal of my life, was in my early forties, and nothing was working. I was desperate, and I am not talking DHOBH! I started researching all I could find on KETO and IF. I learned exactly WHY all my efforts were actually making me sicker and fatter! DING DING! It made sense. The science behind it and the role hormones have in losing weight opened my whole world of feeling like I could actually lose weight and reach my goals! Then I was on the hunt for what to eat. About two months after I starting eating a KETO lifestyle and I was loving the cauliflower crust pizza which satisfied any desire for pasta, it suddenly hit me. I could made KETO LASAGNA with thin cauliflower pizza crust as the lasagna noodles! It worked out perfectly! AND it freezes so well!!!

I  literally was so thrilled how it turned out! The KETO lasagna was so freaking delicious! I had zucchini and yellow squash that I layered on top of the ricotta. I was planning to add chopped spinach to the ricotta, but completely forgot in my whole creative process making it, not sure how it would turn out. You do NOT need to add the zucchini, yellow squash, or the spinach. I absolutely LOVE the texture it adds as well as knowing I can squeeze in more veggies. I also used my homemade marinara sauce and it was yummy!

If you do not have a family that will be eating this as a meal(my husband is NOT interested in eating KETO so I am on my own with this one and we do not have kids at this point), I recommend freezing individually portioned slices of lasagna, which I am actually so excited to have in my freezer to pop in the fridge when I am off to work to have for my OMAD meal when I get home, and just throw together a big leafy green salad with NO COOKING required. 

I ended up making two 9x13 pans of this over two days of prep. I basically doubled the recipe, but that was a lot of cooking I have to admit. I used two heads of cauliflower to make the crusts/noodles, that I baked in jelly roll pans. I cut them to the 9x13 pan size for one big KETO lasagna “noodle” which was nice instead of monkeying with a load of individual noodles. I had some left over pieces that I froze for dipping in marinara sauce as needed. 

Keto Marinara Sauce

This sauce is so delicious, easy, and versatile it’s not worth trying to find a bottled version that won’t kick you out of keto. Make a big batch, portion, and store for future meals with no cooking or clean up. Use it as pizza sauce, dipping sauce, marinara for keto “noodles.” You can easily add ground meat to make an Italian meat sauce.

2 T olive oil or butter

1 chopped onion

2-4 T minced garlic

4 T-1/4 c Italian seasonings

4 cans tomato paste

4 can-fulls of water (use the empty tomato paste cans to measure-if you want a thinner sauce, add another can or two)

2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

2 T to 1/4 c sugar substitute 

1) Heat your skillet on medium heat, and add your oil or melt the butter.
2) Once hot, add your onion and garlic. Saute until transparent.
3) Stir in the Italian seasoning, then the tomato paste, and water. Stir until incorporated. Turn down to low to simmer.
4) Add the salt and sugar substitute to taste. Granulated erythritol is a great option. If you use other sugar substitutes, look at the substitution amounts so you do not add too much, or start small and go by taste. The sugar substitute cuts the acidic taste of the sauce.
5) Use right away hot as pizza sauce, marinara sauce, or store in a glass jar or air tight. Portion out and freeze for future meals in freezer bags. It usually tastes so much better after being chilled for a day, and all the flavors come together. Enjoy!

NOTE: You can replace the 4 tomato paste cans with 2 cans of tomato paste and 2 cans of tomato sauce, just reduce the water by half. I also  like adding a couple cans of diced tomatoes to add a more rustic texture and count the liquid from those cans as the water needed for the tomato paste. This can easily made into a meat sauce by browning up a pound or two of ground beef, or a ground beef and ground pork one to one mix. 

 

Keto Cauliflower Crust Pizza Lasagna “Noodles”

With less than 4 g of carbs per serving, a cauliflower pizza crust baked in a jelly roll pan, made extra thin, and cut to fit your lasagna pan make for the perfect KETO lasagna “noodle”. Layer with zucchini to add another dimension of texture, flavor, and packing more veggies to your meals. Chopped spinach added to the ricotta layer also ups the nutritional value of this meal. Don’t forget that the cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable also packed with nutrients and fiber.  This is a great freezer meal ready to feast on when you do not want to cook. This is so delicious and satisfying, you won’t believe it is KETO!

4 c grated cauliflower

4 eggs

 

4 c grated mozzarella cheese

2 T Italian seasonings, optional

 

1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. 

2) Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. 

3) To grate the cauliflower quickly and easily, use a food processor with a grating attachment. Then mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

4) Press the mix on the parchment paper to the desired thickness and shape. 

5) Bake for 25 min until browning on the top.  

6) Top with sauce, topping, and more cheese. 

7) Bake for another 10-15 min until the cheese is bubbly and browned. 

8) Let sit for 5 min. Cut and serve. 

Enjoy and get creative!

Keto Lasagna Layering and Baking

3-5 Keto cauliflower pizza crust rectangular “noodles” (recipe above)
Provolone cheese slices
Ricotta Mix:
4 c ricotta
4 eggs
1/4 c grated parmasan
1 c chopped spinach

Browned Italian Meat:
2 lbs ground beef, or a miz of 1 ob ea ground beef and ground pork (increase to 3 lbs if using 4 or 5 “noodle” layers
2 T garlic salt or garlic powder
2 T dried minced onions
2 tsp salt (optional if using garlic salt)
One recipe marinara sauce (recipe above)
Shredded mozarella

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
2) Trim cooled cauliflower pizza crust “noodles” (recipe above) to the size of your lasagna pans. You will need 3, 4 or 5 rectangle “noodles” depending on how tall your lasagna pan is. If your pan is 2 in deep, I would only use 3 rectangle noodles. If your pan is 3 inches deep, you can go to 4 or 5 depending on how much you layer in between.
3) Layer marinara on the bottom of the lasagna pan (9x13 pan). About 1 cup.
4) Add one rectangle lasagna “noodle.”
5) Layer provolone slices.
6) Layer the ricotta mix. Half the ricotta mix of using 3 keto “noodles”. A third if you are using 4; a qurter is using 5.
7) If you decide to layer zucchini and/or yellow squash (I use both if I have them on hand).
8) Add a layer of the browned meat (half if using 3 “noodles”), and top with 2-3 c marinara.
9) Sprinkle a thin layer of grated mozzarella.
10) Add another rectangle keto “noodle” and repeat the layers in order: provolone, ricotta mix, zucchini/yellow squash, browned meat,  marinara, grated mozzarella cheese.
11) For the last keto rectangle “noodle” layer, only top with marinara,
12) Bake for 50 min.
13) Sprinkle on a final layer of mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 20 min.
14) Remove from the oven and let sit for 20-30 min to set up before slicing. Serve and Enjoy!
NOTE: You may freeze this dish. I recommend cooking first, and freezing in individual slices/servings by wrapping in plastic wrap or foil, and placing in a large freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge. You can freeze a whole pan, just know that is takes longer to thaw, and heat up.

Categories
Keto Recipes

Keto Beef Stroganoff

 

Who doesn’t miss comfort foods when you are trying to lose weight? I know I do!!! Thankfully you do NOT have to miss out on KETO. I LOVE Beef Stroganoff, and the wheels just started turning to make a keto friendly version of this delicious comfort food. I mean what more do you want? Eat delicious, satisfying meals to burn massive amounts of fat! Yes please! You will love this meal. Before you know it, you won’t be missing the noddles! My biggest fear starting KETO was breads and pasta. I can tell you 6 weeks in, I do not miss it at all! Steam up a head of cauliflower, which is packed with vitamins and fibre, scoop on the Beef Stroganoff, and dig in. It may not be the most photogenic dish on the planet, but it is oh SO YUMMY! Only 4g carbs per serving. Win win!!!

The one thing that was stumping me from converting all my favorite culinary creations to KETO friendly was finding a way to thicken sauces without adding a crazy amount of carbs. I knew I needed a KETO alternative to cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soups which are a main ingredient to many of my favorite dishes. I have since learned that making a cream sauce using a thickener like cornstarch or zanthan gum opened a whole new world of KETO meals for me. 

I know you are wondering how on earth cornstarch could be KETO friendly. Know that there are about 7g of carbs in a tablespoon of cornstarch, and you can use half the amount you would have used flour to thicken a sauce. Xanthan gum is made from vegetable fibers that absorb liquids to thicken a sauce, and have 6-9g of carbs per tablespoon depending on the brand. I did order xanthan gum to try it out, and it is safe to say I will be using cornstarch from now on because it is more cost effective, and thickens just as well. 

Keto Beef Stroganoff  

Wondering how you will be able to give up your favorite comfort foods to lose weight? Well you don’t on the KETO diet! You get to eat very satisfying and delicious meals while converting your body to burn its own fat! AND you will have more energy, sleep better, think clearly, and not get gnarly cranky on a low calorie diet that only reduces your metabolism. KETO actually raises your metabolism too! So many health benefits, so now all you have to do is learn to cook KETO meals. If you love Beef Stroganoff, you will love this recipe. You won’t miss the noodles either. Steam up a head of cauliflower, dish up some sauce, and dig in! So yummy!

2 T butter

1/2 diced onion

2 T or 2 cloves minced garlic

1 lb ground beef

1 c beef stock, or bullion 

1 package sliced mushrooms

4 oz cream cheese (optional to lighten it up)

1 c heavy whipping cream

2 tsp pink Himalayan salt, or to taste

2 tsp cornstarch or xanthan gum

1 c sour cream

1 head cauliflower, cleaned and steamed

1) In a sauté pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to sauté.

2) Add the ground beef to brown with the onion and garlic. Cook through.   

3) Add the beef stock and mushrooms. Cover until the mushrooms are cooked through. Stir intermittently.

4) Add the cream cheese (optional and you can leave out for a lighter dish), heaven whipping cream, and salt to season. Stir until evenly combined. Taste at this point to make sure the seasoning is on point. If the sauce is not rich enough, add more beef bullion or more salt. I personally like adding more bullion.

5) If using cornstarch, add to 1/4 c water to make a slurry before adding to the sauce; stir until thickened. If you are using xanthan gum, just sprinkle on top and stir in. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until desired thickness. If the sauce if not thick enough, add more cornstarch or xantham gum in the same manner.

6) Serve on top of the steamed cauliflower, and enjoy! 

NOTE: TO freeze this dish, follow the directions but omit all dairy which does not freeze well; once thawed, add the dairy to your dish.

 

Categories
Keto Recipes

Got-To Keto Avocado Ranch Dressing

 

Avocado’s healthy fats are pretty widely known, but do you know about the healthy fats in Sardines? Can’t fathom eating sardines? I know I couldn’t, but knowing their nutritional value, I wanted to find a way I could add them to my meals.  I love a good avocado ranch salad dressing, and figured it would be worth getting the best of both worlds with this dressing inspired by fresh Caesar salad dressing and a healthy keto diet…and it is so versatile you can use it for a burger sauce, and a Keto BBQ Ranch dressing. So yummy. 

I added a sugar free ketchup to this dressing which made an out-of-this-world delicious burger sauce for my Keto In-N-Out-Style Protein-Style Burger with all the benefits you get from eating avocados and sardines.

This dressing on a bed of spinach, cucumbers, tomato, and parmesan cheese is the perfect compliment to a perfectly pan seared filet of wild salmon and al dente asparagus. A ridiculously delicious and satisfying healthy keto meal wiht spot on fat-protein-carb ratios to promote fat burning.

It is also perfect with a sugar free BBQ sauce to make a Keto BBQ ranch salad with a bed of spinach, parmesan croutons for a great crunch, succulent grilled lime chicken, fresh tomato, creamy avocado, shredded jack cheese,  and diced red onion. This is one delicious complete meal healthy keto salad! You gotta try it. 

How healthy are sardines?

 First off, knowing how important Omega-3 fatty acids are may help motivate you to add more sources regularly in your diet. It’s important to get the right amount of fats for all your cellular membranes,  your brain, nervous systeoum, chemical reactions, stress and sex hormones, bile, fat soluble vitamins, eyes…the list goes on and on. Omega-3 Fatty acids can help fight anxiety and depression. They are also vital fats to transition from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner on a healthy Keto Diet. For example, MTC’s are great for immediate and short term ketosis, but Omega-3’s provide the longer term bell curve ketosis.  GIven the importance of Omega-3’s for your body and becoming fat adapted through ketosis, sardines are a rich source worth finding ways you will be able to add them to your meals.

Literally, if eaten whole, sardines contain just about every nutrient your body needs. Knowing this fact still doesn’t make it palatable for me personally to eat these bad boys whole. A classic Caesar salad dressing that uses anchovy paste inspired me to make a dressing using sardines to boost my nutrients in my Keto meals. 

Keto Avocado Ranch Dressing

Avocado is such an important source of healthy fats, have you considered how nutrient dense sardines are? Consumed whole, they are packed with literally all the nutrients your body needs. The only issue may be how to work them into your nutrition if eating them straight is not appealing. This Avocado Ranch Dressing is inspired by a classic Caesar dressing, only adding sardines to take advantage of their jam packed nutritional value. This is also very versatile and can add sugar-free ketchup for a tasty burger sauce, or a sugar free BBQ sauce to finish off a yummy BBQ Chicken Salad. The sky is the limit!

1/2 onion or 1 shallot 

1-2 T minced garlic

2 avocados

canned wild caught sardines in olive oil (depending on your palate, you can use a whole can, half of a can, 2-3 sardines, play with the amount that works for you)

1 c full fat mayo (1/2 c each mayo & sour cream

 

1/4 c milk or milk substitute

1-2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

2-4 T buttermilk powder (4 is my preference)

1/2 c fresh parsley or 1/4 c dry

1 T fresh dill or 2 tsp dry dill

1 T fresh chives or 2 tsp dry chives

1/4 c ACV (apple cider vinegar)

1) Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Adjust ingredients to taste. Start with a smaller amount of an ingredient, and increase as you test it–I love a full flavored, tangy, creamy dressing. 

2) Blend or process until smooth and everything is incorporated. 

3) Store in a glass canning jar or other air tight container. Chill in the fridge. 

Enjoy and get creative!

Categories
Cookies Holidays Recipes

Floral Easter Egg Sugar Cookies using Cream Cheese Buttercream

 

I am a fan of delicious sugar cookies with yummy buttercream, and what better time of year to have an excuse to not only bake but decorate THE best sugar cookies you have ever tasted than Easter! BUT it cannot be a sugar cookie that tastes like sweet cardboard–if you don’t know what I mean, oh you are in desperate need to make these cookies and have a side-by-side taste test with an ordinary sugar cookie recipe. Easter and spring go hand in hand for me, so after making such cute spring colored floral cakes like this one, it was a no-brainer to decorate Easter egg cookies in the same way!

 

I’ve wanted to try my hand at royal icing decorated cookies…but, I have always hesitated and I am not one to hesitate because I am scared of “failing”…if I hesitate, it’s because something just doesn’t jive…something just doesn’t fit…something is off…and then it hit me. I don’t make anything I personally will NOT absolutely go to food nirvana for. Royal icing just doesn’t tantalize my taste buds. I’m not into cookies that just look cute, I want to go to dessert 7th heaven so the calories, and what I gotta do to burn them off, is worth it!

Once you have a sugar cookie recipe that knocks people’s socks off–and trust me, you will get loads of people asking for the recipe, because the secret ingredient will set these sugar cookies light years apart of all the rest–the fun becomes how many different ways can you decorate them with buttercream. I feel like buttercream gets a bad rap with regards to sugar cookie decorating since all the gorgeous royal icing decorated cookies hit Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, they are stunning! 

You will savor every last morsel of these cookies, and the only thing you will be sad about, is when the last one gets eaten up!

How cute did these turn out! I used this cream cheese frosting (found at the bottom of the page), and the same piping tips as I used on this cake, as well as the same sprinkles. The cookie recipe is below. How are you planning to decorate your Easter sugar cookies?

The Last Sugar Cookie Recipe You Will Ever Need

Are you tired of boring, almost bland sugar cookies? Don’t even enjoy sugar cookies because they are almost like sweet cardboard? NOT these sugar cookies! There’s a slight tang from cream cheese, flavors pop with vanilla and almond extract, sweet and salty bring the best balance, and the secret ingredient: BROWNED BUTTER.  You cannot go wrong with these cookies. I like mine with a crisp edge, and an aldente but not quite soft texture. 

3/4 c. browned butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1/2 c. cream cheese (1/2 of a 8 oz pkg)

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. almond extract

2 tsp. salt

4 c. flour (reserve one cup as needed)

1) In a sauce pan on med heat, brown your butter. Watch the butter as it starts to froth up, and stir as needed. You will notice the froth will go down, and then start frothing again. By the 2nd froth/bubbling I have found this is about the time you want to stop browning the butter. Take the butter off the stove as you smell the nutty richness. Chill the browned butter until solid.

2) Let the browned butter and the cream cheese come up to room temperature. 

3) Cream the browned butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer, or using a hand held mixer in a large bowl. You will see the color turn light and the mix becomes fluffy. 

4) Add the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Scrap down the sides with a silicone spatula. 

5) Add 3 cups of flour and mix. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments as needed. You know the dough is ready when it comes to a ball and is clean away from the side of the bowl. Depending on the humidity and elevation, you will need to be vigilant in how much flour you add, and may not need the extra full cup. The dough is pretty stiff, but not crumbly to where the flour is not incorporated. 

6) Split the dough into two equal parts. Wrap each dough section in cling wrap. Flatten into a rectangle, and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, overnight if necessary. An alternative step at this point(or just intentionally make a double or triple batch), if you choose to make frozen dough disks (I use an ice cream scoop and flatten the round dough to a puck shape, line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper, freeze on a cookie sheet, then place the pucks in a freezer safe ziploc bag to keep frozen sugar cookie dough on hand for in a pinch cookie hankerings–you can bake frozen, just watch the cookies because they may need extra time being baked from a frozen state).

7) When you are ready to roll out, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to let the dough warm up a bit on the counter, especially if it has been chilling overnight. 

8) Lightly flour the surface, then roll out your dough to 3/8 inch for thick cookies. If you prefer thinner cookies, adjust the bake time down. Cut out your dough, and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Space them at least a half inch apart. The cookies should not spread. If you want to sprinkle sanding sugar on the cookies and not frost them, do so before baking them. These are great cookies to eat without frosting, but I have an even better recipe for sugar cookies if you just want sanding sugar on them, but these work as well. 

9) Bake for 9-11 min. If your cookies are thinner or small cut out, watch them at 7-9 min. A perfectly baked cookie will show golden patches on the bottom, but not dark brown or worse.  Rest on the cookie sheet until cooled enough to move the parchment without damaging the cookies, and cool on a counter off the hot cookie sheet, or in a airtight container. If your first batch of cookies does not have the wonderfully crackled look on top, knead the rest of the dough before rolling out and baking. 

10) Completely cool before frosting. Check out my Cooked Frosting, which I think beats any butter cream frosting on these cookies hands down!

Check out these holiday sugar cookies I have made with this recipe. I love to use my Cooked Frosting as well as my cream cheese buttercream on these. I also love to stripe fruit fillings to add another dimension of flavor and color. I love how all of these cookies turned out! Not only are they adorable, but they are so delicious! I hope I can convince you how cute buttercream decorated cookies are.

Categories
Cookies Home Recipes

Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies

 

After my last minute rush to get a Valentine’s dessert thrown together with leftover frosting, cookies, and raspberry filling, I stumbled on a NEW dessert that is so ridiculously AMAZING I don’t know how this desert hasn’t come to light yet! Cheesecake Sugar Cookies flavored with fruit fillings!!! I like to have holiday themes for each month and because it is March, I decided to go with a Key Lime flavor for my cakes and desserts. My new custom recipes this month included a  Blueberry Key Lime Cake, a Key LIme Tunnel cake, and a Key Lime Dressing for a spinach salad…AND last but definitely not least, my Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies. If you like Key Lime, you will LOVE these recipes! I am talking complete FOOD NIRVANA!

 

These cookies are so easy to put together, especially with a batch of my Key Lime fruit filling on hand, which is used in all the previously mentioned Key LIme recipes. I love having versatile recipes, and multiple uses with flavors I adore. And how cute are they as little Shamrocks! The piping was also very easy, and I didn’t even use a tip; I just used the open end of the piping bag. I started in the center of each shamrock, and piped two loops in each leaf, and ended at the stem (all in one continuous motion). 

 

In fact, I had a batch of my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe at the bottom), and I just mixed in enough of my Key Lime Fruit Filling to get that oh so delicious tangy key lime cheesecake flavor. I made sure to NOT add too much fruit filling so the frosting was still a good piping consistency. I also added a drop of green and a drop of yellow food coloring to get a beautiful chartreuse green hue. I brought my first batch of these cookies to test out the recipe with my co-workers where I teach high school math, and they RAVED about them! I knew I wasn’t looney for thinking they were so good. Now I had confirmation of how dang delicious they were. Everyone was saying how perfectly tangy they were, and there was no doubt they were Key Lime Cheesecake. They also said the cookie was the perfect size to have a yummy dessert, but not over do it…and not get all the calories from a slice of Key Lime Pie!!!

Because I use a St. Patrick’s day rainbow and shamrock “Lucky” theme for March, I wanted a way to incorporate that with this recipe. So I busted out the larger shamrock cookie cutter and my rainbow sprinkles to get these stinkin’ cute shamrock cookies! I also love the added crunch from the sprinkles!!! You can see that one of the larger cookies I used the same green frosting as the smaller cookies, one was just my cream cheese frosting, and one I lined the piping bag with 3 stripes of the key lime fruit filling (recipe at the bottom) to get a variegated frosted cookie. I love the variations, and all are so yummy!

This is my go to sugar cookie recipe, and you will get rave reviews! To make these Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies, you need:

1 recipe of sugar cookies, cut out, baked, and completely cooled.

1 recipe of my cream cheese frosting (found at the bottom of the page)

1/4-1/2 c of my Key Lime Fruit Filling recipe.

Mix in the key lime fruit filling to taste, then pipe or frost your cookies. Store frosted cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and they will last up to 3 weeks. They also freeze well in an airtight container for up to 3 months. These storing guidelines also work for leftover frosting. I also use this Key Lime Cheesecake Frosting on cakes, and this cake was particularly delicious!

Key Lime Fruit Filling
Do you LOVE Key Lime but you don’t love the time it takes to make a key lime curd? Then you will adore this recipe! This fruit filling recipe is so versitile, you will loose count how many diffierent ways you can use it. I mostly use it to fill cakes, flavor frosting, and even in a vinaigrette recipe for a spinach salad. 
2 c fresh Key Lime Juice (or 1 1/2 c lime juice plus 1/2 lemon juice)

 

1/2 c sugar

T corn starch, mixed in 1/2 c cold water

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat.

2) Bring the juice mix to a boil.

3) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.

4) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled. 

 

NOTE: I use this to flavor frosting, fill cakes, vinaigrette dressing, and many other key lime recipes.

To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.

 

Categories
Cakes Home Recipes

Raising Sweet Awareness: A Blueberry Key Lime Cake for cancer

 

I custom made this cake to honor and raise awareness of some thing my husband and I have been dealing with for the past year. This month marks the year anniversary that we found out about my husband’s terminal cancer, Pancreatic NET’s or Pancreatic Neuroendochrine Tumor Cancer. Of course, I can remember like it was yesterday being told he had Pancreatic cancer, and literally I couldn’t process anything beyond that because all I could think of is that he’d be gone in 6-9 months because that is all I knew of Pancreatic Cancers from a childhood friend’s older brother who I remembered had died in less than a year of finding out about his cancer and anything attached to Pancreatic Cancer to that point was basically a quick and awful death. Finally when I was able to process above my tears and crying to hear what the hospital therapist was telling me that he was gonna get the best care and it was slow growing and not the one I was thinking of…it felt like an alternate reality that was crushing my world. My likes to tell people it is the Pancreatic Cancer that Steve Job’s had, not the one Patrick Swayze had.

 

What I know now compared to then is immense, and I don’t think you can gain a true understanding the first time you are told these kind of world turning news. There’s a whole life to find new footing, then shift to new gears, and figure out the new “norm”, all while mourning the things you hoped for that would change, and the changes along the way you don’t expect. It is a fine balance because you also need to remember to not get consumed by it, keep your own awareness of it because everything will now be measured and done with a respect of the new limitations. I speak of this as the spouse, the caretaker of the one who has this cancer. I cannot for a moment say I know what he goes through. I get an insight here and there…

The ribbons that inspired this custom cake are: 1) Purple Ribbon for Pancreatic Cancer, 2) Zebra-print Ribbon for NET’s or Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer, and 3) Lavender Ribbon for Caretakers. There are many origins for NET’s, and my husband’s happened to be in his Pancreas, which is shut down and he is insulin dependent for the rest of his life and takes 4 shots a day of both long acting and short acting insulin–just the experience we have had adjusting to that gives me so much empathy for those suffering with diabetes, childhood and adult, and that alone is not fun. The Zebra-print Ribbon brings awareness to rare diseases and the awareness month is February, but I felt it was more appropriate for our personal journey to share it in our year anniversary of the beginning of this journey. The lavender was to honor all those who have cared for me and David, specifically at the hospital as this is where we got to share this cake today; but also to raise awareness of the toll that a caregiver goes through and that the caregiver also needs support.

I’ve never been keen on the color lavender, but now it holds a special place in my heart. Granted, I admit I didn’t go as true lavender with the frosting as I could have, but now this color is very personal to me. If you are a caregiver, or ever have been a caregiver no matter the capacity, it truly is very difficult. I could not do this in a professional capacity, so my thanks goes out to all who dedicate their lives to the well being of others. This color is so personal to me because of journey as a caretaker through this. You get not just the whole spectrum of emotions, but a whole depth and breadth you didn’t even conceive before the new “norm” you constantly have to adjust to.

There is so much you do not know when cancer enters your intimate life, and combine that with unconsious expectations you may have from treatments, or thinking life will go back to the way it was after a “treatment”, or not understanding the reality of “chemo-brain”, or the toll it takes on yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. I remember the results from the first round of chemo lasting from March-August 2018. Nothing had changed. NOTHING HAD CHANGED? We went through 6 months of torture for NOTHING TO CHANGE?!!?!!!? What took me a while to digest and understand, what that this was a good result. The cancer had NOT gone aggressive, which is a possibility starting treatments. AND what I didn’t grasp from the beginning is that this treatment was not to eradicate the cancer, like I was expecting, but to manage it and see how it reacts. What I didn’t understand is that this was terminal in that there is NO KNOWN TREATMENT to eliminate this cancer from my husband’s body. There was only treatments to manage the tumors, and keep them from interfering with LIFE DEPENDENT PROCESSES. Oh, wow. Ok, so now I had to throw out the word REMISSION, and come to terms with and redefine my understanding of TERMINAL cancer. 

I want to come back for a moment to “chemo-brain.” Your loved one’s body is being ravaged by poison when going through chemo, and so many horrible side-effects…it literally messes with their brain! Not just memory, because there is legit memory loss, but personality. I never saw such anger, rage, callousness in my husband as I did during that first chemo. It got to the point I didn’t think we would last, and that I was just there to help him through this–that is how bad it was. 

It wasn’t until I spoke with my mom who had been taking care of my brother and his cancer for 10 years, that she helped me to understand the reality of this phenomena. IN fact, she had attended support groups as she was going through the roughest times caring for my brother. The impact “chemo brain” can have on a patient is pretty dramatic, and it isn’t the imagination of the caretaker. It truly is difficulty on all accounts and on all involved. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and compassion, because empathy is nigh impossible is you aren’t the one going through the treatments…and vice versa for the caregiver.

My not understanding this “chemo brain” definitely played a toll on my relationship with my brother at the time I wanted to be closest to him knowing about his terminal cancer, and he was the most caustic and mean to the point we stopped talking for years. I wish for all family and friends’ of loved ones who go through this to gain an awareness of “chemo brain,” the toll caregivers go through, and the support they also need. My heart goes out to any and all impacted by a terminal cancer, or any cancer and treatment that goes with it.

Time to change gears and talk FLAVORS!!! In my brainstorming phase of this cake, I first thought of blueberry because that is a flavor my husband has been especially keen on. Later, I found out the colors of the ribbons associated with the message of awareness I wanted to promote revealed the purple and lavender that was perfectly aligned with the blueberry I was planning. Also, I had recently made Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies in the shapes of shamrocks for fun March themes of St. Patrick’s Day. Blueberry and key lime are ridiculously good together and so it just seemed to work out as if it was meant to be! I am OBSESSED with how GORGEOUS the pale lime goes with the purples, and how you see the natural fruit which just adds to the design and elegance IMO. The sprinkles pop on the pale green key lime frosting. I only used a drop of green coloring for the lime filling to flavor and color the frosting. The blueberry did all the work coloring the dark  lush fruit filling and lavender frosting. I used the key lime frosting from the cookies, and then mixed the blueberry filling (recipe below) I made with my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe at the bottom), some fun sprinkles, and voila the masterpiece to voice my message of Pancreatic NET’s and Caregiver Awareness was born! It was also a perfect way to say thank you for all the people who have cared for my husband this past year at the hospital. And it was a hit! 2nd and 3rd helpings…meanwhile these red velvet cupcakes sat sadly overlooked that someone had brought. I’m sorry, but not all cake is created, or made, equal! Proof is in the pudding, or in this case in the first bite! It is sooo delicious!!! I wish there was such a thing as smell-o-vision or taste-o-vision! The scent of the key lime and blueberry is so divine! No sickeningly sweet tasteless cake here!

Blueberry Key Lime Cake

Would you imagine for a moment, a cake so moist, so flavorful, there is no way you thought it came from a box? This cake sure is, BUT it will surprise to find out this recipe uses a box cake mix. The thing is, the BOX cake mixes are so nice to get on sale, AND they already deliver the dry ingredients you need in the perfect ratios saving time and potentially money…now it is just a mater of CUSTOMIZING that box cake mix to a cake that will rival the best bakery out there. After making this cake, with the blueberry and key lime fruit fillings, along with the Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese frosting, you will have a flavor masterpiece that will blow the minds of everyone who has a taste…and I dare anyone to just have “a bite”!

1 white box cake mix

4 eggs

1 1/2 packages white chocolate instant pudding

1 c sour cream

 

1 c milk

1/2 c melted butter

1 to 1 1/2 c white chocolate chips, optional

3/4 to 1 c Blueberry Fruit Filling, recipe follows

1) Pre-heat the over to 365 degrees F if above 3000 ft elevation, or 350 degrees F if lower than 3000 ft elevation.

2) Prepare your layer cake pans AND bunt cake with my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix(recipe at the bottom of the post) mix or grease your pan with lard (or butter) and dust with flour, and a parchment liner on the bottom(optional but i do not risk all my efforts to possibly having the cake stick to the pan).  **Even if you have a non-stick pan, it is worth greasing your pans with lard/butter and dusting with flour, or just having a batch of the Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (see recipe in post).

3) Mix all the ingredients except the white chocolate chips and fruit filling in a stand mixer, or a large bowl and hand mixer until smooth. It will be thick. Do not over mix

4) Stir in the white chocolate chips and mix by hand with a spatula or spoon. 

5) Divide your batter between your prepared cake pans. If you want to marble your cake with the fruit filling: A) use half the batter, B) dollop 2-4 T of fruit filling in 3-5 spoonful drops, C) use a butter knife to swirl, but not fully mix the fruit filling, D) add the remaining batter and repeat dollops of fruit filling and swirls with a butter knife half way down, and E) level your batter in the pan (knock the cake pan on the counter top to get rid of air bubbles) before baking. 

*For a 3″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 3 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 2 1/4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a 3″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 5 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a bunt cake, use the number of cups your bunt cake pan is sized by. If you overfill your bunt cake pan, it will overflow in the oven and create a huge mess to clean up…and ani’t no one got time for that! Don’t forget to grease and flour your bunt cake pan. 

NOTE: The picture below left shows my dollops of Razzleberry Fruit Filling before I take a butter knife and swirl to get the marble effect with the cake layers I used in this cake. The pic below right shows what my marbled batter looks like before I put it in the oven.  I actually used a layered method for this cake to get the fruit stripes, however, I did not get pictures of it.  To get a layered look, spread out the fruit filling instead of marbeling the dollops as pictured below; then layer more batter, spread it out, more filling, and repeat until you get the desired amount of batter/fruit-filling in the pan before baking. 

Blueberry Fruit Filling

3 c fresh or frozen blueberries 

1/2 c lemon juice

 

1 c sugar

4 T corn starch, mixed in 1 c cold water

 

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat. 
2) Mash all the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice with a potato masher. As the mix heats up and starts to boil, the berries will give off more of their juices and the sugar will dissolve. 
3) After the mix has had a chance to heat through, the berries give off their juices, and the sugar is dissolved, pour the mix into a blender. Blend until smooth and even. 
4) Pour back into the sauce pan, and bring to a boil on medium heat.
5) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.
6) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled. 
7) To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.

Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix

In a 1:1:1 ratio, mix flour, lard or shortening, and vegetable oil. Mix until evenly incorporated, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For example, I use 1 cup of each ingredient to mix up and have on hand to prepare all my cake pans before adding batter, and then baking. Cakes will come out clean and easily, with no sticking. I coat my pans with this mix using a silicone baster brush. I also add a cut parchment paper to the bottom of any flat bottomed cake pan I use.

Categories
Home Main Course Recipes

Simply Delicious Chicken Madeira (Better than Cheesecake Factory in your own home)

 

Is it no surprise that Chicken Madeira is one of the top, if not the top, ordered entrée at The Cheesecake Factory. It seriously is so delicious. So flavorful, and so succulent. I love to go out with the girls, or on a date with my husband, but is it me or is the price tag and the hassle getting to be too much that it takes away from the experience? I hate going away from dinner, thinking, man that was good, but was it THAT GOOD when thinking of how much we just dropped for a dinner out, vying for a parking spot, waiting to be seated, and then getting hit with a big check at the end. It got to the point I thought there has to be a way to make it at home…

 

The loveliest part, it really is a SIMPLE recipe with SIMPLE ingredients. Like, almost ridiculously simple. Like, I’ve made it way too many times, more than I’d like to admit, simple. 

The hardest thing about this dish was finding out the Madeira wine is sold in the cooking wine section at the grocery store I went to. You see, I do not drink alcohol, so any recipe that asks for it I am clueless where to find it…in fact overwhelmed if I try on my own. Luckily, I found a helpful employee who didn’t just point, but explained it was with the cooking wines and proceeded to show me. I also learned how to flambé to cook off the alcohol, rather than just wait for it to simmer off. Oh man, that is a blast! I just recommend you either do it with 1/4 c at a time, have nothing above your stove top, or let it simmer a little before you light it. The first time I did it, I had been simmering the wine with the mushroom for a couple minutes, then it occurred to me to try to flambé with my candle lighter, and it was perfect. The second time, I lit the entire amount of wine in the pan on the stove which was under our new convection oven/microwave and gorgeous blue and orange flames spewed up! It was awesome, caught both my husband and myself off guard, and luckily the cover was close by to shield our new appliance! Man that was a rush! We laughed and laughed about it. I don’t recommend that route.

One thing I made sure to do with this recipe is to have plenty of sauce. I LOVE sopping up the sauce with bread or using it as gravy on creamy Yukon Gold potatoes that are either steam cooked, or made into garlic mashed potatoes; however, the garlic mashed potatoes I made are so good I prefer to eat them on their own. The other thing you want to be aware of for this recipe, the relatively quick step of butterflying the chicken, and tenderizing the chicken thin reduces the cooking time on each side, as well as provides a good portion control if you only want to eat half of a chicken breast and it still looks like a big portion. I pound the butterflied chicken to an even thin thickness with two layers of plastic wrap and my meat tenderizer. It is a great way to let off some stress! Haha! If you don’t have a meat tenderizer mallet, use can that have some weight to it and a flat side. Do what you gotta do. The video below shows how I butterfly and tenderize the chicken.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it really cooked this fast! DOn’t forget to check out the flambé. I get a kick out of doing it every time I get to flambé…I even love saying “flambé.” Yes I’m a total nerd, and you totally hear a blip of a conversation between my husband and I while I am cooking. I get a kick out of that too. The lazy, sentimental, humorous side of me didn’t want to edit that out! I hope you get a little smile or chuckle out of it. In the video to the left, I am only cooking half of a recipe due to the size of my pan for the video. 

 

Simply Delicious Chicken Madeira 

Do love Chicken Madeira? Would you love it even more if it was simple to make in the comfort of your own home? What if you spent did not have to spend the time and money to hassle with parking, fight the crowds, and plunk down a heck of a lot more than this meal would cost you to make? Did I mention it was tastier too? You will LOVE this recipe. You can customize it to your specific taste. Maybe you wish you had more asparagus, less mushrooms, no mushrooms, more sauce…it is up to you. You can even make a lighter version skipping the butter and using olive oil, or doing a half-n-half butter and olive oil. I have to say, however, the velvety sauce you and flavor your get from the butter, it is worth it. I love having left overs!

2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied, and pounded thin

3 T butter (reserve 1 T for the end)

salt & pepper, to taste

1-2 c mushrooms

1 1/2 c Madeira cooking wine

 

1/2 bunch of asparagus

1 1/2 c beef stock (or 1 T Better Than Bouillon and 1 1/2 c water)

3/4 c mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 T corn starch

3/4 c cold water

 

1) Season both sides of the butterflies pounded chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
2) Heat 2 T of butter in a pan on med heat and cook the chicken golden brown, about 3-4 min. on each side. Remove to a plate, and set aside.
3) Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining butter until they are browned and give off their liquid.
4) Add the Madeira wine, bring to a boil and cook off the alcohol for about 4 min. Or flambé the alcohol, 1/4 c at a time in the pan to avoid a huge flame; I also flambé the entire amount after letting it simmer for a minute or 2. To flambé, I recommend using a lighter with a long shaft to keep you from getting burned.
5) Add the beef stock or the Better Than Bouillon mixed in the water, and boil for another 3 min.
6) Add the asparagus to the pan, and cook covered for 5 minutes. This steams the asparagus. 
7) Remove the asparagus to a plate, and stir the corn starch slurry (corn starch mixed in the cold water). Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. 
8) Add the chicken back in the pan, place the asparagus on top, and sprinkle on the mozerella cheese. Cover until the cheese is melted. If you have an oven safe pan, broil the pan until the cheese is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

Note: I used golden Yukon potatoes that I pierce, cover with water in a microwave safe bowl or large measuring cup, and microwave for 16 minutes while making the Chicken Madeira to serve on the side. They come out steamed to perfection, and so creamy.

Also, if you prefer NOT to use the cooing wine, you can omit it and double the beef broth. However, I do not recommend doing this, because you will loose the flavor, and you cook out all the alcohol. 

 

Categories
Cookies Frosting Recipes

Raspberry Cheesecake Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

 

If you love raspberry cheesecake, you will absolutely die having one of these Raspberry Cheesecake Sugar Cookie Cutouts! I sure did!!! Wow, these were so good, and frankly it was a fluke how I came up with these. I needed a dessert on the fly for my Valentine’s dinner I was having at home for my sweetheart, but I needed everything to come together FAST! We both just had a long day at work, and it had already been a long couple weeks, so we were tired. There was no way we were going to fight the crowds to enjoy a romantic dinner, and I LOVE pulling out the “fancy” linens and tablewares. I had a few heart cut-out sugar cookies from the Valentine’s cookies I made left over, but not frosted–BTW these are THE BEST sugar cookies you will ever have…no sweet cardboard here! I had leftover raspberry filling and my Perfect Ration Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting from a Dark Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Valentine’s cake I made,  and it hit me! Decorate them just like the other cookies I did but with what I have one hand, and use the gold and white sprinkles with the red sanding sugar and red heart sprinkles I had. Voila! What They looked stunning!

 

So with that, the Citrus Spinach Salad and Citrus Vinaigrette with all the salad toppings minus the Lime Grilled Chicken , and the Chicken Marsala with my fresh Silky Smooth Spinach Pasta, we were just about set! I just had my husband grab a dollar loaf of french bread on the way home. In almost an instant, we had fabulous Valentine’s dinner at home! Then I remembered I had leftover butter balls I made for an event, the stuff for my alcohol-free Sparkling White Grape Juice, left over strawberry filling I blended up to make Sour Non-Alchoholic Strawberry Daiquiris, lemons to slice for the water goblets, and boom, our dinner was just elevated to a 5-Star dining event without the high price and reservations, but full of fresh ingredients and the most flavorful meal we’ve had on a Valentine’s to date. Man, I have my work cut out for me to top this next year!

What I wasn’t expecting, was how freaking good those cookies I threw together were! Oh wow! I was in Raspberry Cheesecake Nirvana and I was eating a cookie!!! You don’t even know the pure blissful food-gasmic noises I was making eating that cookie. I wanted to eat my husband’s, but it look all my love and restraint I could muster to NOT eat his too! AND he is a slow, I mean S-L-O-W eater! Dang that was torture. The only solace I had was that I had enough cookies, filling, and frosting to have another tomorrow night along with our leftover from this dinner. Did I mention how much I LOVE leftover? I mean all the flavor, if not more, without the cooking and minimal cleanup!!! Win win win!!!

This was the Dark Chocolate Ganache Raspberry cake I made for a husband surprising his wife with on Valentine’s. It was so beautiful and the fresh raspberry filling I used in the dark chocolate cake layers, as well as to decorate and flavor the outside was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Decadent, rich, with the tang of cream cheese frosting, and the bright fresh sweet and sour of the raspberry was the perfect romantic combination to heighten all your senses. P.S. Did you know that besides sex, while eating we use all of our senses? How sensuous is that! No wonder food goes hand in hand with Valentine’s Day and any romantic date!

I had to show you the cookies I had all the leftover cutouts from, and my inspiration to decorate my Raspberry Cheesecake cookies. These are still my favorite, but you have to understand, I have a dickens of a time picking absolute favorites; to me everything depends on nuances and differences. These cookies for example, I couldn’t say which I my absolute favorite because they are both so dang good–one just happens to be more of a buttercream frosting, I call Cooked Frosting, and the other creamcheese, using my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting, both using different berries that are both so ridiculously good. So don’t ask me for all time favorites, unless you want a complete list with differing qualifications and my own custom sub-categories! Haha! Yes, I am THAT complicated when it comes too what I consider to be “favorites” and I have a ton of them!

Raspberry Cheesecake Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Have you ever thought what a Raspberry Cheesecake would taste like in a cookie form? These are it! Seemingly simple, the flavor will surprise you how good they are, and the all natural color you get from the raspberry fruit filling is only surpasses by its flavor.  Jazz them up with sanding sugar and sprinkles, and you have a masterpiece to indulge in by sight, smell, and taste. 

1 batch The Last Sugar Cookie Cutout Recipe You will Ever Need

1 piping bag (tips are optional for this look)

sanding sugar and sprinkles (optional)

 

1 recipe Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting

1 recipe Raspberry Fruit Filling (below)

 

1) Let your cookies completely cool before frosting to avoid melted frosting. 

2) If you have chilled your frosting, let it come to room temperature, then beat with a stand mixer or hand mixer to regain creamy fluffiness.

3) Completely chill your Raspberry Cake Filling before using. 

4) Stripe your piping bag with the raspberry filling, twice, one on opposite sides of the bag. Sometimes it works better for me to fill the piping bag with cream cheese frosting before striping with the filling. 

5) I do not use a piping tip to achieve this look. Start the top, and pipe a round bubble of frosting, and as easing off your piping pressure, pull back and create a smooth shell shape. Continue in rows with the contours of the cookie cutout. 

6) OPTIONAL: Top with spangles and sanding sugar of your choice. 

Raspberry Fruit Filling

1 1/2 c fresh or frozen raspberries 

1/4 c lemon juice

 

1/2 c sugar

2 T corn starch, mixed in 1/2 c cold water

 

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat. 
2) Mash all the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice with a potato masher. As the mix heats up and starts to boil, the berries will give off more of their juices and the sugar will dissolve. 
3) After the mix has had a chance to heat through, the berries give off their juices, and the sugar is dissolved, pour the mix into a blender. Blend until smooth and even. 
4) Strain the juice back into the rinsed pan through a metal sieve using a metal spoon to circulate the seeds to get all the juice through. Discard the seeds.
5) Bring the seedless raspberry mix to a boil.
6) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.
7) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled.