Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bean Casserole

I love when I get recipe suggestions from friends and family. This one came from my mom so I knew it had to be good! This recipe is like the king of baked beans because there are lots of extra goodies in it that makes it even that much better than your standard baked beans. Serve as your main course (like I did) or as a side.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Teriyaki Drumettes

Yes, that's right...another crock pot recipe! My crock pot and I have been the best of friends lately!

This meal was quite tasty and went perfect with a big bowl of white rice; however I feel the name of the recipe is a little misleading. It reminds me more of a soy sauce chicken recipe that my father-in-law makes more so than a teriyaki recipe. The soy sauce flavor is very dominating and the gravy is runnier than you would expect for a teriyaki sauce. Even with that said, my family each gave it 2 thumbs up and gnawed the bones clean.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Curry Vegetable Dip

I may be 30-something but I'll admit...sometimes I like to play with my food too. :)

Pay particular attention to the eyes of this veggie person. It is a curry veggie dip. I was introduced to this during strudel making day and I fell in love! The best part about it? You make it by just mixing together Miracle Whip and curry powder. Don't shrug your nose until you try it. I could eat raw veggies all day long with this dip!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato 'Fries'

I love watching The Food Network Channel. "Love" may be an understatement. If my TV had only one channel and I had to choose which channel that was, I would pick the Food Network Channel in a heartbeat. I could watch it all day long! My favorites have always been Paula Dean, Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, and Alton Brown. In the past, I have always skipped past all of Ina Garden's Barefoot Contessa shows. I just never really gave her a chance. Well after falling in love with her Parmesan Roasted Broccoli recipe lately, I am now hooked on her too. In fact, I recently checked out all of her cookbooks from my local library. She uses some of the most basic {fresh} ingredients and turns them into such wonderful dishes.

These baked sweet potato "fries" were awesome! Another thing added to the list of Must Make for Thanksgiving dinner!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Culinary School - Week 8

This week in Advanced Cakes & Classical Tortes made more mini desserts and then plattered them up as you would for a dessert buffet service. We made the following items (those in bold are what I made):

1. Fresh Fruit Tarts
2. Opera Torte Squares
3. Dobos Torte Squares
4. Chocolate Mousse Cream Puffs
5. Fresh Fruit Cream Puffs
6. Mini Chocolate Flourless
7. Frozen Mousse
8. Mini Shooters (I made Red Velvet cake shooters)
9. Mini cherry pie
10. Mini Apple Pie
11. Mini key lime pie
12. Mini Lemon Meringue Pie

I also made a large cheesecake this week but we wrapped it up to freeze and will use it next week. Here are some pictures from the day. I don't have Chocolate or Sugar this class because of Thanksgiving so I will be enjoying the extra time off with my family!

Monday, November 21, 2011

How To : Make Pate a Choux

Today I'm going to show you the step-by-step process of how to make Pâte à Choux. Pâte à Choux is a twice-cooked dough that is used to make cream puffs, profiteroles, and eclairs.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Culinary School - Week 7

This week in Advanced Cakes & Tortes we made: Beignets (just a fancy word for doughnuts), Dark Chocolate Mousse, White Chocolate Mousse, Tuile cookies, and a variety of sauces and sugar pieces for garnishing. We spent a large amount of time working on plating and making our desserts look beautiful.

Here are the desserts that I plated up. From left to right: 1) Chocolate Flourless cake with chocolate ganache garnished with a fresh strawberry, sugar piece, tuile cookie, and raspberry sauce. 2) Dark Chocolate Mousse sitting on a sweet dough crust, garnished with a sugar piece, fresh strawberry, creme anglaise and strawberry sauces. 3) Apple Streudel garnished with mint leaves, fresh blueberries, sugar dome, and caramel sauce. I had piped out a pretty design with the caramel sauce but the viscosity was not thick enough so it kind of ran together.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Several weeks ago I met up with a college friend who was visiting her parents for the week. I hadn't seen her for a long time and it was so wonderful to sit and catch up. Her little boy and nephew were there too so C and K had just as fun of a time as I did! During our stay, Rachel's mom made this meal for us. It was delicious and perfect for the cold, windy, rainy day that it was. It kind of reminds me of those "walking tacos" only we ate ours in bowls.

The recipe was designed to feed a large group...aka a {fiesta} party! So you may want to cut it in half like I did!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mexican Black Beans with Pork

I've been on a crock pot kick lately! I just love being able to toss everything in, turn it on low, and have a wonderful meal ready for me at the end of a long day. Here's a nice healthy recipe for you! It's a great pork and beans recipe - very filling and great served on top of rice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The first time I've ever really even heard of Ratatouille was when I watched the Disney movie. Have you all seen it? Ratatouille is an adorable kids movie about a young rat who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. If you haven't seen it you really should.

Then last April in my Intro to Culinary class we made ratatouille. It was my first experience eating it and I fell in love. It was delicious! I am a huge fan of vegetables so this should be no surprise to those of you who know me.

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew from the Provence region of France. It is made of eggplant, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic and seasonings -- usually basil and thyme. The ingredients are cooked together until tender. Ratatouille can be served hot or cold as an appetizer or side dish. It is often accompanied by rice, potatoes, pasta or French bread. When I saw this crock pot recipe I just had to try it! I served it on top of rice noodles (it's the only pasta I had on hand), sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese, and it was delightful!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Culinary School - Week 6

Week 6 out of 11. Classes are more than half way over already. Unbelievable! I don't have any pictures to share from my Advanced Cakes & Tortes class last Monday. We made chocolate flourless cakes, chocolate ganache, apple strudel, apple streusel topping, pastry cream, white chocolate mousse, dark chocolate mousse, strawberry ice cream, raspberry ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, raspberry sauce, strawberry sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, crème anglaise sauce, and blackberry sauce. Basically we did all the prep work and all the leg work for this week's class where we will focus solely on plating some beautiful desserts. I can't wait and will have lots of pictures of all my platings for you.

In chocolate class this week we learned how to make Hand Dipped Chocolates. It was a lot of fun. I made Palet Or hand dipped chocolates. They were so rich and so wonderful! Notice in the picture how the front 2 chocolates are a lighter brown color and not as cleanly dipped? That's because my chocolate came out of temper at the very end of my dipping. Chocolate is very high maintenance, if you will and very challenging to keep in temper. Once it's out of temper it does not harden quickly and doesn't have the crispness and sharp appearance.

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls

These were good! Real good! So good that I've already added them to the menu for our upcoming family Thanksgiving dinner. These remind me of a delicious ham loaf that my mom made when I was little only these are bite size!

These are wonderful served as your main entrée or as an appetizer. I served them to my family with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. You can also impress your guests by serving them on pineapple rings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Macaroni Chili Soup

I can't think of a better way to spend a chilly Fall evening then to sit your family around the table and enjoy a nice warm bowl of chili. I am always on the lookout for a new chili recipe and this one did not disappoint. One of the things I love most about it is that it uses black beans and not the typical kidney beans you find in most chili recipes. My entire family loved this chili recipe and the leftovers were even better the next day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Caramels and Toffee

I received several requests for the caramels and toffee that we made in sugar class a few weeks ago. Someone even suggested they wanted to make some and give them out for teacher gifts this holiday season. I am posting 3 recipes below. My apologies that they are measured out by weight and not by volume but that's how we do it in culinary school (and most stores and restaurants). Enjoy!

Creamy Caramels
Source: Advanced Bread and Pastry

7.625 oz Heavy cream
7.625 oz. Half and half
1 lb. 9.625 oz. Sugar
1 oz. Salt
1 lb. 12.875 oz. Glucose (can use corn syrup instead)
2 Vanilla beans

1. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil in a stainless steel or copper pot.
2. Stir constantly and cook to the desired temperature. (Cook to 255˚F for chewy texture.)
3. After the bubbles have subsided, pour the caramel into arranged metal bars on top of a silicone mat to a depth of ½ inch. (You could also pour into an oiled pan.)
4. When it is set, cut to the desired size, and wrap each piece individually.

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Vanilla Caramels
Source: Advanced Bread and Pastry

1 lb. 3.25 oz. Heavy cream
8.75 oz. Honey
2 lb. 8.375 oz. Sugar
4 Vanilla beans
2.25 oz. Butter

1. Bring all the ingredients, except the butter, to a boil in a stainless steel or copper pot.
2. Stir constantly and cook to the desired temperature. (Cook to 255˚F for chewy texture.)
3. After reaching the chosen temperature, stir in the butter.
4. After the bubbles have subsided, pour the caramel into arranged metal bars on top of a silicone mat to a depth of ½ inch.
5. When it is set, cut to the desired size, and wrap each piece individually.

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Source: Advanced Bread and Pastry

1 lb. 5.875 oz. Sugar
3 oz. Glucose
6.5 oz. Water
12.5 oz. Butter
0.125 oz. Salt
small dash of Vanilla extract

1. Combine the sugar, glucose, and water, and cook to 275°F.
2. Stir in the butter, and continue to cook to 315°F; stir in the salt.
3. Cook the mixture until it reaches 320°F, and stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour the candy onto silicon mat.
5. If you want the toffee to be broken in pieces of similar size you will need to score then with an oiled knife while it is still warm. Otherwise you can just break it in random pieces once cooled.
6. Break along the score marks and dip in tempered chocolate to coat. (We didn't dip in chocolate during class but that sounds amazing! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Boston Cream Pie and three boys...

Some good friends of ours came into town to visit for the weekend. I wanted to make a surprise dessert to go with our dinner so I made my first attempt at Boston Cream Pie. It's Alton Brown's recipe. The directions were very easy to follow and I was already familiar with making all the different components that go into a Boston Cream Pie (yellow cake, pastry cream, and ganache).

Including our company's kids, we had a 6 1/2 year old boy, a 5 year old boy, a 4 1/2 year old boy and a 1 1/2 year old girl in our house that night. They were all super excited to finish all their dinner so they could have my "chocolate surprise" for dinner. With 3 little boys in the house, my hubby thought it was only appropriate to have a Star Wars storm trooper guard the cake until each child had finished their dinner! :)

Here's the inside of the cake. It was loved by all and quickly devoured. Even the storm trooper got a bite!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

I am always in the pumpkin mood when Fall arrives. Pumpkin this, pumpkin that...I love it all, even in my ice cream! For the pumpkin pie ice cream I used the same ice cream base that I did for the Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. This time just adding pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice instead of strawberries. It makes a wonderful fall-time dessert.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Culinary School - Week 5 (Chocolate and Sugar class only)

I'm super excited to show you what we accomplished in class today. It was Week 5 which normally marks the 1/2 way point of the semester and is when we have midterms. Lucky for me this quarter I didn't have any real midterms. (That was a nice change!)

In chocolate class we had what the Chef called a practice midterm. Just a way for him to evaluate us on our competencies so far. It made the class a lot more fun because there wasn't the normal stress that midterms usually bring with them.

We each had to do 2 types of rolled truffles, 1 molded chocolate with color, and 2 chocolate bowls (made by dipping balloons in chocolate). I had a lot of fun with it and am glad to report I got everything done and still had 45 minutes left to spare. Here are some of the chocolates that I made.

In order from top to bottom: Cayenne Peanut Butter Truffles, White Chocolate Kirch Molded Chocolates, and Black & White Sesame Truffles

Friday, November 4, 2011


For "brinner" this week I wanted to make a quiche. I followed the recipe of The Pioneer Woman and it turned out wonderful! Very tasty and the artichokes added to its unique factor. It also calls for bacon and mushrooms - two favorites of mine! This recipe uses a premade pie crust which will save you a ton of time. It was very filling for dinner and my family loved it. Thanks PW - I know I can always count on you! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Culinary School - Week 5 (Cake class only)

Are you hungry yet?

On Monday we made a ton of cookies, bars, and petit four secs. We focused on cutting/portioning the bars in uniform size, garnishing, and platter presentation. Here is what our class made as a whole: (the ones in BOLD are what I personally made):

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Culinary School - Week 4 (Chocolate and Sugar class only)

Last Saturday in Chocolate and Confectionary we learned how to color chocolate. We had to add oil-soluble colors to the cocoa butter and then stir that into tempered white chocolate. We then swabbed the plastic mold with the colored chocolate using our finger. Then we filled the mold with chocolate and different ganaches. I was assigned a Raspberry ganache with dark chocolate shell. Here's what mine ended up looking like. They were delicious!!!