Friday, May 31

MAKE IT: Doggie Biscuits

Dog biscuits can often be complex, contain various odd ingredients, be time consuming, or just a pain. I wanted to include the dogs in our homemade family. But, after research I was quick to give up.

The trouble is-I have an extremely spoiled daschund, extremely spoiled. And my mother has an extremely spoiled lab mix. Seriously, spoiled. But the one thing we try to avoid is table food. With the exception of vet approved items, they do not eat table food. (Well, lets be honest I like to say they do not, but if it drops they do. And visitors, like grandfathers often break the rule.)

So I set out on a mission. Something good for the dogs. Something which could be done quickly, easily, with common ingredients. Success! After a few vet web sites, some trial and error, and doggy taste test (believe it or not) here is the prefect afternoon puppy pampering treat!

Full time: 40 minutes (includes cool time)
Makes approximately 24 3" treats.

You will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour (you could use all purpose but wheat is better for them)
1/2 cup smooth organic peanut butter
1/2 cup hot not boiling water
1 tbsp dark honey (buckwheat is what I use)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3" dog bone cookie cutter (or any cutter you want, just note it may chance yield)

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour and baking powder.

In a bowl place hot water, peanut butter, and honey.

Stir until you get an evenly smooth, sludgy mixture. (There is just no better way to describe it) it will take a few minutes to get things to work together but, you will be fine. 

Pour 1/2 of this mixture into the flour bowl and stir.

Once blended 75% of the way, it should look like this.

Add in remaining and blend 80-90%, it should like this.

Using your hand, knead a few times and it should ball up nicely.

Place ball on to a flat surface.

Roll out to 1/4" thickness.*

Lightly dust surface with flour.

Use cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can.

Remove excess.

Place biscuits on baking sheet.

Ball up excess and repeat from * until you cannot make anymore.

Once done, bake in oven 18-20 minutes or until they golden on the edges.

Move to wire rack to cool.

Let the dogs enjoy! Store in air tight container and use within 7-10 days.

Wednesday, May 29

Devils Food Cake Cookies

Quick, easy, simple, and most important tasty! A recipe every family cook needs in their quick bake recipe box. Taking partially homemade to a new level of taste bud pleasing!

Makes approx 3 dozen cookies
Full time 40 minutes (includes baking multiple batches)

You will need:

2 eggs
1 box devils food cake mix
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Let us begin:

In a mixing bowl mix together eggs, oil, and cake mix. It will become a very thick hard to stir dough.

By hand mix in white chocolate chips. Do not overwork dough.

Place bowl in freezer for 15 minutes just to slightly chill. Remember the more you handle it, the warmer it gets so this is important.

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll approximately 1 tbsp size balls and place evenly spaced on cookie sheet.

Bake in oven 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to golden.

Allow to cool 3-5 minutes on tray and then move to wire rack to cool another 3-5 minutes.

Plate up and dust across powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Monday, May 27

HOW TO: Make Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

If you are on Pintrest or have attended a gathering recently, you have probably seen these. The newest "it" food item, slowly replacing cake pops as the popular thing to have. They are quick and easy to make. They wow the crowd and you can easily make a batch in under 30 minutes.

I am only going to make half a batch for this post but, will be giving you the full recipe.

Makes 24-36 strawberries (depending on size the smaller the berries the more you will make)
Full time: 1 hour (includes 30 minutes chill time)

You will need:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened or room temperature
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup whipped topping
2 tbsp lemon juice

Let us begin:

In a bowl mix together cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice.

Gently stir in whipped topping.

Move mixture to a pastry bag, or zip top plastic bag.

Place this in the refrigerator until your done preparing the berries.

Your going to want to choose nice even shaped berries.

Cut the top if the berry off, right where the top begins to round out.

This will allow them to stand up on their base.

Carefully slice down the center part of the berry until 1/4" from the bottom. Be very careful not to slice through the base.

Rotate berry 90' and repeat.

Repeat until all berries are all cut.

Place on a serving platter or a plate that can be used to store in refrigerator until needed.

Retrieve filling from refrigerator. 

Gently insert tip into the center of berry and squeeze filling.

I like to give them a nice top off once I get to the it.

Just a hint, you may need to gently use fingers to separate the cuts from each other, the juiciness of strawberry will make them stick sometimes.

Repeat until all berries are filled or you run out of filling.

Place in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to firm up. 

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, May 25

Chinese Style Basic Fried Rice

Fried rice is a Chinese Resturant staple. Served often alongside meals or as a main course with a protein added. Adding proteins such as chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu is easy. Just finely chop 1 cup and sauté until fully cooked, then fold into the rice alongside eggs! Now you can make any fried rice you want!

Serves 4-6
Full time: 20 minutes

You will need:

1 egg
2 cups white rice, cooked (I actually use the bag-n-boil cooks in 10 minutes)
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

Let us begin:

Place cooked rice in a sauté pan and let sit a minute or two to slightly dry.

Turn heat to medium high.

Mix in green onions and carrots.

Mix in vegetable oil and soy sauce. Stirring evenly to coat the rice into a consistent color.

Allow this to cook, stirring often for 3-4 minutes until you hear a nice sizzling sound.

Reduce heat to medium and push rice to the outer edges.

Whisk egg until light and fluffy.

Pour into the whole into middle of the rice.

Stir egg and rice together to coat rice and create a slightly sticky, gooey texture.

Allow to cook until egg has fully cooked, roughly 3-5 minutes. Stirring often.

The rice is now ready to serve, plate up and serve immediately.

Here is a fun trick to really wow the crowd.

Place rice in a bowl and gently push down and level off.

Top with a plate and hold the together, flip over.

Gently tap bowl and lift straight up, you'll get a nice molded rice.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, May 23

HOW TO: Make Easy Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo is one of the easiest dishes to make. On busy weeknight chicken Alfredo can go from start to finish in under 20 minutes and taste like you spent an hour on it.

There is a tiny bit of multi tasking going on, but once you get it all together, it taste like a pro cooked it.

Here is how we are going to begin. Your going to need 1 sauté pan and two pots. One to cook pasta in, one for sauce.

Get your nicely salted water going for your pasta. 

For 1 lb. pasta: Your just going to be following the box directions. Another words, boil water, add pasta, cook, and drain. You will need to do this while working on the other elements of the dish. I won't be talking about it, so just remember to use a timer if needed.

Let us begin. Take 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs) and cube into 1/2"-1" pieces. You want a piece that will make a nice bite size.

Place chicken in a bowl. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, and 1 tsp garlic powder. 

Why not season chicken directly? Your using a very small amount of seasoning and want the subtle hint of it. The seasoning will be used to reinforce the sauce itself.

Stir around until fully and evenly blended.

Preheat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in your sauté pan.

Add chicken to heated pan and sear all sides evenly. Then lower heat to medium.

This can take a total of 15 minutes for the chicken to fully cook through depending on your bite size.

While your chicken cooks lets make sauce.

You will need:

8 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Place all of this in your sauce pot over medium/medium-high heat and stir until everything evenly melts together.

Lower sauce heat to medium low, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Once chicken is done. Add to sauce pot.

Stir to coat chicken and your ready to serve!

By now your pasta should be all ready.

Place in large serving bowl.

Add 1-2 ladles of sauce and stir just to coat pasta and prevent sticking.

Pour over remaining sauce, serve and enjoy!