Sunday, April 18, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pasta

Since I can pretty much guarantee that Rory will eat almost anything slathered in BBQ sauce...(minus eggs and maybe cookies, cause that's just gross)...I knew this dish would be a hit with him. I just wasn't expecting it to be such a hit with the Sadester. She gobbled her portion up and was begging for more, before we had even taken a bite or two of it. No. Joke.'s a kid favorite as well as a hubby least in our house. I loved it too, by the way.

The best thing? One. Skillet. For the whole meal! Hooray for less dishes!

BBQ Chicken Pasta
from My Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
1 red onion, diced (I left these out since Rory is not a fan)
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces penne pasta
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat (you could also use a large pot if you don’t have a skillet this big). When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed, the pasta is tender and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in the reserved chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.
Serve immediately and garnish with additional red or green onions and shredded cheese.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

sugar cookies and royal icing

Sugar Cookies
 adapted from Annie's Eats

 2 cups butter, softened
 2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
2 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. salt
5 c. sifted flour

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Mix well. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Roll to ¼” thickness in between sheets of parchment paper (sprinkle flour on both sides of the dough and paper), then chill dough in fridge until firm. Cut with cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheets. Repeat with remainder of dough once or twice, rolling in between parchment paper and chilling. Each time you roll it out they get tougher from adding flour while rolling.
Bake at 375° for 8-10 min.  Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool, I usually bake them a day before I decorate. Makes about 40 cookies, depending on the size of your cutter design.

Royal Icing
from Annie's Eats 
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container.  This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.  (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick.  Add a little more liquid and try again.)  Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie.  Let stand so the icing will set.  Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container.  Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl.  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie.  If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along.  Allow to set.
Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.  Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid.  Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

easy chocolate truffles

Easy Chocolate Truffles 

What You Need

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3 cups  powdered sugar
1-1/2 pkg. (12 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
1-1/2 tsp.  vanilla
Suggested coatings, such as ground PLANTERS Walnuts, unsweetened cocoa, powdered sugar and/or BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut

Make It

BEAT cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add sugar, mixing until well blended.
ADD melted chocolate and vanilla; mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chilled.
SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Roll in walnuts, cocoa, powdered sugar or coconut. Store in refrigerator.