Monday, November 22, 2010

Baked Spicy Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Don't judge my super-starchy meal, haha, but this was one of those throwing together what I had in the kitchen to make dinner last minute because my best friend and I were supposed to eat at her house, but she fell asleep and missed my texts... Haha. Anyhow, these tenders turned out really good - I took them from the website below and made a few adaptations to fit what I had in the pantry and I chose to bake them instead of frying them. The rest of the meal was just white rice (microwaved minute rice), canned corn, and homemade Texas toast. Easy, peasy!

Baked Spicy Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders

6 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/4 plain dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Tony Chacherie's Creole Seasoning (original recipe called for ground chipotle pepper)
1 large egg white
2 tbsp water

1. Thaw chicken tenders & pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine pecans, breadcrumbs, zest, and Tony Chacherie's into food processor (or blender) and pulse until pecans are finely ground.
3. Whisk egg white and water until combined.
4. Dip each tender into egg mixture, then dredge both sides in the pecan mixture.
5. Place the breaded tenders in baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees. Turn tenders halfway through baking.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

1 graham cracker crust - regular or chocolate
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 oz white baking chocolate, melted
3 tbsp red raspberry preserves, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blend. Stir in white chocolate. Pour into cooled crust. Dot top on cheesecake with a spoon. Cut cheese cake several times, creating marble effect. Bake for 35-40 min, or until center is almost set. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Paula Deen for Halloween!

That's right, this year for Halloween, I dressed up as my culinary idol, Paula Deen. "Stick of butta!" and all! I even baked her Monster Cookies and carried them around with me all night in that cute little basket. It was quite a night (just ask MegFran, haha), and I certainly took on another personality, although I'm not sure just how "Paula" I was, lol. It was a good time though, and this was definitely by far my favorite Halloween costume in recent years. :o)

Chocolate Tofu Pie

Happy Birthday Baby Sister! My little sister is a vegetarian and came across a Chocolate Tofu Pie recently that she fell in love with and asked my mom to recreate for her birthday dessert this year. I must admit, I was skeptical to begin with (as I am sure you are too... haha). However! It was actually really good! It did have a bit of a mild "organic" taste to it, but mostly it was just like a rich and thick chocolate fudge pie. I would recommend it if you are looking for something different or for such an occasion. :o)

1 pound silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Blend tofu in a blender until smooth.
3. Blend in cocoa, sugar, vanilla and vinegar.
4. Pour into prepared crust.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
6. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Law School Dinner Party with Vegan Menu :o)

My good friend, Cody Kees, is in law school with me, and last year, I hosted a dinner for him and my other baby 1Ls with the famous Lippert Lasagna. It was such a hit that earlier this semester he asked if I'd do it for his mentees this year, and I was happy to oblige. This was one of the largest groups I've cooked for with 14 guests, and I was also surprised when I learned that I would have vegan guests, so that threw me for a bit of a loop at first, but I did some online recipe research and found some yummy choices for our guests with special tastes. :o)

Fruit Tray with Fluff Fruit Dip
French Garlic Bread
Baby Spinach Salad
Sundried Tomato Basil Artichoke Vegan Pasta
Lemon Bundt Cake
Happy Vegan Carob Cookies

See my previous posts for recipes for my Fruit Fluff, Lasagna, French Garlic Bread, & Baby Spinach Salad.

Sundried Tomato Basil Artichoke Vegan Pasta

1/2-1 lb of pasta, depending on how much you eat (be sure to buy vegan friendly!)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 small onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes (preferably the dry kind and not the kind packed in oil)
1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts (or fresh, if you have them)
Lots of basil (either freshly chopped or dried)
Mushrooms (optional if you like them)

In a medium-sized frying pan, heat olive oil, garlic and onions until onions start to brown (about 3-4 minutes). Add peppers, basil and spinach until spinach starts to looks wilted (another 4 minutes or so). Stir in the tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms, or any other veggies that sound good at the time. Let the mixture simmer for a while until everything starts to take on each others flavors. Oh yeah--don't forget to make the pasta!! Mix the pasta into the vegetables and eat.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes

Lemon Bundt Cake

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup sugar


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in lemon peel. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes longer. Place rack on waxed paper. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over the warm cake. Cool completely before serving.

Happy Vegan Carob Cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cinnamon, to taste, optional
vegan chocolate or carob chips, put in as many as you like
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado #1; sucanat works too, but sucks up a lot of the moisture)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Very important-make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It will work if they're not at room temp but it works much better if they are. Also while your oven is pre-heating put the cookie sheets you are going to use on top of the oven so they get preheated as well.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, add together sugar and oil; mix well. Add the vanilla and then add the water; mix well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it. Add more chips if you need to.
3. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Put them in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets (top to bottom & 180 degree rotation). Bake another 4 minutes and check them. The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be. They will harden up some as they cool. I usually go in two minute increments from here until they get to where I like them.
4. Take them out when they are done and move them to wire cooling racks. If they split or come apart when you try to remove them let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to the racks.

Serves: almost 2 dozen; Preparation Time: 10 minutes; Cooking Time: 10 to 12 minutes

Granny's Pecan Pie

My Granny always made Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving, so when the Traveler decided to host a Pot-Luck Thanksgiving Dinner, I was eager to pick up the family tradition. I'm excited about sharing this classic dessert tomorrow. :o)

1 cup Karo Corn Syrup (Dark or Light or 1/2 of each kind)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) pecans (whole or chips whichever you prefer)
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust

Melt butter and add sugar, beaten eggs, karo syrup, & vanilla. Mix well with spoon and add pecans. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven on center rack for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 2 hours.

Granny used to make hers with the Dark Karo Corn Syrup. But my mom likes using 1/2 of each, but says she has done it all ways depending on what she had in the pantry. I made mine with 1/2 dark and 1/2 light.