Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mini Chocolate Cream Pies

So I had some leftover chocolate icing, mini tart shells and cool whip and not being one to waste leftovers a fabulous idea came to me...couldn't I just make tarts out of these and wouldn't they taste just like a chocolate cream pie??? Low and worked!  These tasted amazing... so good and easy in fact that I ate every last one!  Here is another easy semi-homemade actually more like mostly-store-bought-just-put-it-together recipe.

Mini Chocolate Cream Pies

1 pie crust
1 can chocolate frosting
1 tub whipped topping or whipped cream

Unroll pie crust and using a small biscuit cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough.  You want to basically cover the bottom and barely the sides for the cups of a small muffin tin.  Press dough into the bottom of the muffin cups and prick with a fork a few times so they do not puff up.
Bake about 10-15 minutes and let cool.
Melt frosting in the microwave so that it is easy to stir.
Drop frosting by the 1/2 teaspoon full to fill the cooled tart shells.
Place a large dollop of whipped topping on the chocolate after it cools.

This recipe will probably make about 24 cups with extra frosting and cream.

These things are delicious and super easy to make... people will think you went to a lot of trouble to make those little pies...muahahaha!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Weeknight Chicken Dinner

Someone who reads my blog made a comment to me that I only make fancy stuff that she will probably never try and requested some regular dishes that she could make at home.

Here is the thing... I like the challenge of a complicated recipe and tasty combinations, but I don't make the fancy recipes all the time.  Do I make them? Yes. Do I eat them? Yes. Do I make them multiple times a month, most likely not, except maybe for the Cookies and Cream Popcorn!  Most of the recipes that I post here are good ones that I like and I use when baking, usually for special occasions or when I get bored, but they are not my basic nightly go-to things.

Most nights I make regular food, usually of the semi-homemade variety.  I enjoy cooking, baking especially, but most of the time I am tired from work, busy with coaching or just don't feel like taking a ton of time to make something fancy.  While I may not make an elaborate meal each night for dinner, like the cheese and crackers with some olives I found in the back of the fridge...those were okay to eat, right?  I do try and take the time to sit down minus the television/phone/or book I may be attached to, plate my food and sit at the dinner table to eat.  It is the ten or twenty minutes I take to wind down and just relax, often with a glass of wine in hand and a good meal on the table.

So here is my dinner from tonight.  Nothing fancy, in fact more of a semi-homemade dinner with a few extra touches.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Garlic Green beans, Cornbread Stuffing and a Mustard Wine Sauce
(while the title is fancy, the prep is not...promise!)

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Mustard Wine Sauce

1 pre-marinated lemon pepper chicken breast
1/4 c. white wine (and a bit more for your glass)
1 tbs milk
1 tsp dejion mustard

The chicken was a pre-marinated, individually packaged chicken breast that I had previously taken from the freezer and thawed.
Slice the chicken breast in half so that you end up with two thin chicken breast pieces, this helps with the cooking time and helps avoid dry chicken.
Place chicken in a pan over medium heat with about a teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom.
Cook on one side until edges are no longer pink. About 10 minutes.
Turn chicken and then place lid on the pan and cook until center is no longer pink. About 10 minutes.
(I am not great at cooking chicken on the stove top and it ends up looking like it was attacked by an ax murderer because of all the times I cut to check the inside to see if it is done!)

Remove chicken from pan and allow to sit.  At this point you should have a great layer of brown chicken bits in the bottom of the pan, add the wine and deglaze the pan (scrape the brown stuff off the bottom after the wine is added so that the flavors join.
Next add the milk and mustard and stir to incorporate.  Turn the heat to low and let the sauce cook down until it is thickened.  Just be sure that you do not let it cook down so much that it sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Pour over chicken.

Corn Bread Stuffing

Start water boiling for a box of cornbread stuffing mix.  Yep, in a moment of hunger I picked up a box on sale at the grocery store!
Follow the directions on the box to prepare.

Garlic Green Beans

1 bag frozen french cut green beans
1 clove garlic
1-2 tbs butter
salt to taste

Boil or steam a bag of frozen french cut green beans until tender.
Remove from heat and drain beans before adding additional ingredients.
Add 1 clove of garlic finely minced or grated.
Add butter and salt.
Stir to incorporate butter and garlic.