Sunday, July 25, 2010

Comfort Food

Even though I didn't really grow up eating it, I think that Chicken Pot Pie is an incredible comfort food. You've got your meat, veggies, potato, and a yummy crust (whether it's made from a pie crust, a puff pastry, or biscuit topping). Perfect for a chilly evening or if you just want to whip up something quick.

I had my bake date with Nicole on Thursday (see previous post) and I knew I had off that evening so I wanted to make dinner. There were two stray chicken breasts in the freezer and two lonely ramekins that my MiMi had bought me that had yet to be used. So I started thawing the chicken breasts and washed the ramekins. Then went to work on finding a recipe.

I hadn't made pot pie since living in Florida, which coincidently was the first time I had ever made it. I used a pie crust and made it in a pie dish. I'm pretty sure it tasted good too. But I wasn't really sure a) where I got the recipe from and b) if I printed it out, where it was [more importantly, I was too lazy to look in my recipe book]. So I went to my new go-to recipe site, Tasty Kitchen. I searched through several different pot pie recipes, and decided to take the filling from one and the topping from another. They were super yummy and I will definitely use this as my new pot pie recipe.

Indvidual Chicken Pot Pies
adapted from The Dinky Kitchen

2 Cooked chicken breasts, cubed*
1 Bag frozen mixed veggies
1 Cup diced potato
3 Tablespoons butter
Quarter of small onion, diced**
1/2 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Cup Milk
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1 1/2 Cups Bisquick
3/4 Cup Milk

*To speed things up, I cubed the chicken before cooking it in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes
**We're not huge fans of onions, so I didn't measure this but just cut up enough

Preheat oven to 375. Boil potatoes for about 5 minutes then add veggies for another minute (just to heat them up). Drain, and take off heat.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat then add onion and Italian seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft. Add soup and milk and salt/pepper to taste. Stir constantly so that you do not burn the mixture. Simmer the mixture (stirring occasionally) for another 5 minutes.

Combine sauce, chicken, and veggies and stir to incorporate. Taste the sauce to make sure the seasonings are where you want them. Divide filling into two ramekins, filling almost full.

To make the crust, mix together the Bisquick and 3/4 cup milk. Divide and put on top of pot pie filling (the crust expands and soaks up some of the juices in the filling so if you want to keep that from happening don't use a lot of the Bisquick mixture).

Put ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe: Molten Lava Muffin Cakes

This past Thursday I had a bake date with my lovely friend Nicole. She wanted to make something romantic, so my initial response was "lava cakes!" I feel like they're on a lot of restaurant menus and are perfect for a couple to share. I searched Tasty Kitchen for a recipe, and found this one by dishinanddishes.

The recipe itself was very simple and required minimal ingredients/skill/equipment. Perfect for my friend Nicole, as she said she isn't the most amazing cook/baker and hasn't done a lot of baking from scratch. The instructions were easy to follow, but we found that the bake time was no bueno. We baked the cakes for 11 minutes, as per the recipe and while the recipe said that the edges would be done but the center gooey was false. The entire cake was baked through and incredibly chocolatey, even though we ate it with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and raspberries.

We do plan to make these again, but decrease the baking time in order to get a molten center.

Molten Lava Muffin Cakes
by Katie, aka Dishin & Dishes


  • 6 ounces, weight Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 6 ounces, weight Semi-sweet Chocolate
  • 1-¼ stick Butter
  • ½ cups Flour
  • 1-½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3 whole Large Eggs
  • 3 whole Egg Yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Grease 12 muffin tins. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins. Place in the oven and bake for 11 minutes. The edges should be firm, but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates. Serve with chocolate syrup or hot-fudge-drizzled plates, a scoop of ice cream and a sliced strawberry! Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's Raining in Baltimore

Today's a lazy, rainy Saturday. I have to work at 4, and of course, don't want to. Le sigh. I also don't want to study for my Project Management Midterm that is on Monday. Guess I'll get around to that tomorrow and Monday morning before the exam, haha. I still need to make my cheat sheet for the problem solving portion too. Not to mention I'm baking cupcakes for a coworker's birthday tomorrow and of course working. When's a girl got time to study? Cupcakes > studying.

Speaking of cupcakes! I need to find a good resource for creating recipes, best way to make test batches, baking in bulk, and what to charge. Anyone have any insight into any of that? My first big *paying* order is next month -- a coworker's daughter's birthday party. Luckily she knew exactly what she wanted: Strawberry Cupcakes with Turquoise Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Green Buttercream both on the cupcake and inside, and Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream. The party is beach themed, so I plan to make some fondant decorations [palm trees, flip flops, sunglasses, and/or beach balls were their ideas]. I still haven't messed around with fondant that much so I'm really going to have to practice [and soon!] I've been looking online for some fondant molds that might make all of that a little easier too.

I'm also going to be baking for Cupcake Camp DC in September! I'm really excited about this, and I think it will be a great learning experience for me. The boy is going to accompany me and I think we're going to make a weekend out of it and *finally* get to DC to sight-see [and taste cupcakes of course!] I'm still trying to finalize what I'm going to be making so that I can send in my registration form. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do a Chocolate Cupcake with a Vanilla Raspberry Buttercream. And I haven't decided if I'm going to fill the cupcakes or not. I'm also trying to decide whether or not to do a second flavor for judging. Decisions, decisions!

I really need to take a day or two and do nothing but test recipes. But I need to figure out the most economical way to do so so that I am not wasting a lot of money/product/time. I need to perfect my Strawberry Cupcake recipe [everyone at works RAVES about it, but I need to tweak it out and write down exactly how much strawberry I'm using so that I'm not guessing every time.] I also need to find a really good base recipe for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. I haven't been wowed by the ones I've made and I don't think many others have either. I also need to perfect the Margarita Cupcake. Luckily the best friend is honest and up front and told me what she didn't like about them so I pretty much know what I need to change about them. 

I really wish I didn't have class right now so that I would have more time to do more cupcake-related things. I've got so many ideas and things I need to do but no time to sit down and get to it! Obviously school is the most important thing right now but since cupcakes are what I want to do with my life, I need to set aside more time for it. Which also means getting a logo made up and really starting to get the business out there.

Well, If I'm not going to study I guess I could straighten up the office and start looking for some more cupcake resources online. Please comment if you have some good links!