Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chocolate Waffles

I will forever be in debt to my fabulous mother-in-law, not only for raising such a wonderful son, but for giving me one of my favorite easy dessert recipes! Just to clarify...these are DESSERT, not breakfast. These Chocolate Waffles are SO good, and so versatile. We have topped them with so many things, including a smear of peanut butter and vanilla ice cream, bananas and ice cream, mint ice cream, just plain vanilla...they are good with so many things! The best thing is that they are made from ingredients that I always keep around the house. These are great to make if you're in a time crunch and don't have a half hour to bake a cake or a pan of brownies. All you have to do is make the batter, and then when you're ready to serve dessert, you just put some batter in your hot waffle iron and Make 'em, you'll be so glad you did!!

½ C Butter, at room temperature
¾ C Sugar
2 Eggs
1 C Milk
1 ¼ C Flour
4-5 Heaping Tbs. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat waffle iron. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs with a mixer for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Pour ¼ to 1/3 cup batter into hot waffle iron (depending on the size of your waffle iron). Cook chocolate waffle for slightly less time than a regular waffle. Chocolate waffles do not get crispy like regular waffles, so don’t over cook! Remove from iron and immediatly top with your favorite ice cream and toppings. Serves 6.

Oh my...look how that ice cream just melts on those hot waffles. Need I say more?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Frosted Flake French Toast with Buttermilk Syrup

I woke up this beautiful snowy Valentines Day to the sounds of my wonderful husband making breakfast for me! Back in December, we took a trip to Vegas and we ate breakfast at a little cafe inside the hotel where we were staying. My husband ordered this French Toast that was rolled in Frosted Flakes. My first thought was...gross. But, it was SO good. So, on V-day he re-created this gem, and I was SO excited! (I should let him cook more often, he really is brilliant!) The combination of the frosted flakes and the buttermilk syrup was really sweet. So, an addition of some slightly tart strawberries was perfect. You must try!

4-5 slices of French Bread, or any other bread you like
2 Cups Frosted Flakes cereal, crushed
2 Eggs
1/4 C Milk
1/4 C Buttermilk
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
A Dash or Pinch (just a tiny bit) Nutmeg

Whisk together the milk, buttermilk and eggs until smooth. Add the salt, vanilla, and spices until everything is incorporated. Heat a frying pan to medium low heat. Add a small pat of butter (maybe a teaspoon or so per slice of bread). Once butter is melted, dip bread, one side at a time into egg mixture, and then into frosted flakes. Make sure both sides are covered in cereal. Put bread into the heated pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. (Some people like their french toast a little soggy in the middle, some like it really set up, so cook it how you like it!) Top with sliced strawberries or other fruit and drizzle with buttermilk syrup (recipe to follow). (I say "drizzle" because it's really sweet, and you might be sorry if you dump it on!) Makes about two adult sized servings.

Buttermilk Syrup
(compliments of my husband's co-worker Ashly...thanks Ashly!)
1 cube butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Karo Syrup (lite corn syrup)
Add this all together and stir. Use a bigger pot than needed because when you add the baking soda it boils up high. Heat everything on low heat, stirring constantly until ingredients dissolve and sauce thickens. When sauce has thickened, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir and remove from heat.
(note from me: I didn't make the syrup, but I imagine if you cook it for a few minutes longer, it will be a bit more caramely...yum!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken

I love this recipe because it's easy. It only has 6 ingredients! You make it in the crock pot, and it's just SO good. I have had this recipe forever, and I can't remember where I got it, but it works great for Sunday dinner, and is forgiving enough to take to a neighbor when they are in need of a meal. Last time I made it, I served it with a green salad, and this bread, which made such a fabulous meal.

1- 1 1/2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Tenders
1/4 C (half of a stick) Butter
1 package Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix (just the dry mix, not all mixed up into dressing)

Place the chicken into a 3-4 Quart slow cooker. Cut up your 1/2 stick of butter and toss it over the chicken. Sprinkle all ingredients with the dressing mix. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2-3 hours, or until the chicken is done and will shred easily with a fork. Ok...I know that these instructions sounds weird because you don't add all of the sauce ingredients and stuff, but it works just fine, don't worry. This semi-plain chicken doesn't take as long to cook as a full slow cooker would, so just keep an eye on it to make sure that your chicken doesn't get too done and start to dry out. The cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot cooks.

After shredding your chicken (I just stick two forks right into my crock pot and shred it.) add:

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese, softened (I've used lite, and it works fine)
1 Cup of milk

Stir and let everything cook on low for another hour. Serve over rice or egg noodles. Serves about 4 adults. Warning: This is addicting and the leftovers are even better!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oreo Mint Truffles

I wanted to post something that would be fun to make for Valentines Day. These are so simple! I made them at Christmas time, and everyone loved them. Nobody could figure out what was in the middle! I would suggest making these the day before or on the day that you will serve them, just so that they are fresh and the middle doesn't get too gooey.

1 Package Oreo Cookies
8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
10 oz Package Andes Creme De Menth pieces (found next to the chocolate chips, or substitute of package of regular Andes Mints if you can't find these)

Line 2 cookie sheets with waxed paper or parchment. Crush the Oreo Cookies in a food processor or blender. The idea is that you want very small crumbs. If you want to, you can reserve a few tablespoons of crumbs to garnish your truffles with. Place crumbs and cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Using your hand mixer or stand mixer, mix the cheese and crumbs just until they are incorporated.

I made some truffles small, and some larger, and I liked the larger truffles better, but the size is up to you! I used my small cookie scoop, which is about a tablespoon, and popped each out into my hand, and rolled them into a ball. If the Oreo mixture is really sticky, you can try putting some powdered sugar on your hands or try chilling the Oreo mixture for a few minutes. Place the little balls on one of the parchment covered cookie sheets, and put them into the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Chilling them helps them to stay together when you dip them. But, you also don't want them too cold, or it might make your chocolate covering crack. If they crack, just drizzle them with some white or red chocolate and eat them anyway!

Once your little Oreo balls are chilled, melt the mint chocolate pieces. You could also use a regular chocolate coating chocolate instead of the Andes mints. If you like dark, use dark, if you like milk, use milk. If you're daring, use white! Place the mints or coating into a small bowl and pop them into the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Put them back into the microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring well between each, until your chocolate is smooth.

Remove the Oreo balls from the freezer and begin dipping. Start out doing about three at a time. I suggest doing three at a time because you want them to still look wet when you put them back into the freezer to set up. If you do too many at once, the first few will start looking dry. Putting them into the freezer while still wet gives them a nice shine. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it faster, and dip more at a time.

Before they dry, sprinkle each with the crumbs you set aside or some unsweetened cocoa powder (this might taste best with the non-minty chocolate coatings), or drizzle with a contrasting color of melted chocolate. You could even get some red chocolate and draw a heart on top! Oh, cute! (Hint: Go to your local craft store or candy supply, and get a little squeeze bottle. If you can find a ketchup or mustard squeeze bottle with a small tip, that would work too. Melt your contrasting color of chocolate, and pour it into the bottle. This makes a great little tool for drizzling!) Place the truffles into the freezer for 2-3 minutes or until the chocolate is completely set. Repeat until all truffles are dipped. At this point, you can pop them inside some little candy cups and place them in a cute box (or cellophane bag!)...and there you have it...the perfect valentine!!