Friday, January 23, 2015

PEANUT BUTTER ECLAIR CAKE

The Éclair Cake idea has been around for years. It is a magical dessert that starts with pudding mix and graham crackers, and when it sits in the fridge overnight, something magical happens. The graham cracker layer "softens" and sort of turns into a "cake" layer (people are shocked when they find out its just graham crackers). The whole thing is delicious and I've made it a billion times.  But todays post is a new and simple twist to the Éclair Cake: peanut butter!!

Yes, peanut butter is mixed into the pudding and it takes this simple dessert in a whole different direction. The next time I make this variation, I will use chocolate graham crackers (I only had regular ones this time)....you've gotta give this one a try.  




(2) 3½ ounce instant vanilla pudding
1 cup creamy style peanut butter
8 ounce Cool Whip thawed
3 cups of milk

1 pound of graham crackers

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

6 tablespoons butter (melted)
6 tablespoons boiling water
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9x13 dish (breaking to fit if necessary). With an electric mixer, beat the instant pudding, peanut butter with 3 cups milk until very smooth (about 2 minutes) then fold in the Cool Whip. Immediately pour half of this mixture over the 1st layer of graham crackers, spreading it out evenly.

Put another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding and then another layer of pudding mixture. Top second layer of pudding with a final layer of graham crackers.

Cover the dish tightly, with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour before you frost it.

After an hour of chilling, whisk together the melted butter, boiling water, cocoa and vanilla until well blended. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Immediately pour the frosting over the chilled pudding dessert and gently smooth it out.

Place dessert (uncovered) in fridge for an hour or so (until the frosting feels dry to the touch),then stretch plastic wrap over the pan(stretching it tightly so that it doesn't sag and touch the frosting)or just snap a lid onto the dish.
 Refrigerate overnight (important).


NOTE: After this "cake" has been in the fridge, overnight, it is easy to cut into squares to serve because the graham crackers are soft.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

REDUCED CALORIE SWEET & SOUR PORK

We love sweet and sour pork and chicken (this recipe would work for either), but once you bread and DEEP FRY the meat, you are talking about A TON OF CALORIES. Well, this quick and easy little recipe does away with all of that breading AND all of that DEEP FRYING and it is STILL delicious !!!


MARINADE
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
black pepper to taste

Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut  1 1/2 pounds of pork (or chicken) tenderloin into bite size pieces and put in the marinade. Stir to coat all of the pieces, then let sit for 20 minutes.

SAUCE
1 cup chicken broth (not bullion,it's too salty)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
SLIGHTLY rounded teaspoons of corn starch
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of black pepper

Cook all of the sauce ingredients together until it thickens, then turn the heat down to a VERY LOW SIMMER and let it barely bubble while you brown the meat.

In a large skillet (I use my electric fry pan), heat up a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of butter until HOT (I turn my electric skillet all the way up). Add the marinated meat and spread it out so that none of the pieces are on top of each other. Let the meat brown (about 3-4 minutes?), then stir and put a lid on the pan so that everything gets cooked through (you want to get some nice brown crusty color on the edges of the pieces).

Once the meat is 99% done (keep lifting the lid to check for doneness), add the cooked sauce to the meat and keep stirring until everything is well coated. Reduce the heat and cook it all together for about 2 more minutes (watch carefully so the sauce doesn't burn).

Serve over hot rice.  Couldn't be easier!!  

Picky-picky husband is VERY SHY of spicy food, so 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne is just perfect for him. If you like extra heat, just add a little more cayenne when you cook the sauce.

ENJOY !!! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

SWEET BACON-CHICKEN BUNDLES

We discovered these delicious little bundles over the holidays. They are quick to fix and are absolutely perfect for potlucks, buffets, or a quick supper. They are totally addicting, so make lots of them!!



SWEET BACON-CHICKEN BUNDLES
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (we like thighs better)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
bacon (regular, not thick)


 Preheat oven to 375° and bake the bacon for 10 minutes only. After 10 minutes, drain the bacon and set aside. You will need one half slice of bacon for each chicken bundle.

 
Cut the raw chicken into 1" cubes, then wrap half of (a partially cooked) slice of bacon around each cube of raw chicken, and secure it with a toothpick. Next, mix the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin and salt together and roll the bacon-chicken in this mixture. Make sure you get it into all the folds of the bacon.

Place the bundles on a baking screen or cooling rack that you've liberally sprayed with vegetable spray. Set the sprayed rack on a rimmed baking sheet that you have lined with foil (important for easier clean up). If you have any sugar left over, spoon a teaspoon or so on top of each bundle.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Delicious hot or room temperature. If you like a little heat along with your sweet, add some cayenne to the sugar mixture.

 
ENJOY !!!