A’Tempting’ Tuesday: Life Happens (Even While Wearing Your Tiara)!

You know, I wish I was one of those superwomen who always have everything done on time and to a T. I want my house to be clean. I want dinner to always be yummy and on the table before my smiling family gets home.

I also want to get all this done with perfect makeup, perfect hair, beautiful well-fitting clothes and maybe even some “June Clearverish” pearls (I’m not aging myself that much. I watched that show in reruns.) — and yes, all while wearing a TIARA! I deserve that much, right?

Well, unfortunately even when you wear your TIARA, life happens! Jobs get in the way, unexpected projects pop up and you occasionally get sick. All of this happened to me last week.

I had so planned to dig into a lovely cookbook I received as a gift, and share a recipe from it with you this week. My family would have loved that too … but take-out and sandwiches were pretty much on tap all last week. We can chalk this one up to the chaos I call life.

So, instead I thought I’d share an appetizer recipe with you. This might come in handy with the Super Bowl just around the corner.

I took this to a New Year’s Eve party and it was a hit! It’s made with bacon. That should sum it up.

This recipe came courtesy of one of my favorite Facebook pages — $5-10 Dollar Meals- Cheap Eats.

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Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (1 lb) package sliced bacon
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.

Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with wooden pick inserted on the diagonal, starting where bacon seam overlaps.

Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture.

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Coat a rack and broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.

Cook’s Talk:

  • These were quite yummy, but I think next time I will play with the seasoning a little bit. I might add red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit or maybe marinate the chicken in Tabasco or another hot sauce prior to wrapping in the bacon.
  • I wound up baking closer to 45 minutes as I used thicker-cut bacon.
  • Next time, I will also make MORE. They were gone in about 5 minutes.

I hope you enjoy.

Until next time …. I’m going to wear my tiara and explore my new cookbook.

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: Yummy with a Capital Y!

This dish has SHRIMP.

It has BUTTER …..

It has HEAVY CREAM (ahhhhhhh…. The angels are singing).

Need I say more?

Oh wait, it was also easy and was a nice, cheaper alternative to going out to eat.

I’ve been somewhat in a mealtime rut. I’m bored with what I have been preparing so heading to the kitchen after working all day has been no fun!! I’m constantly sharing recipes that look good on my Facebook Page (please, please, please go like me) and pinning yummy finds on Pinterest, but never doing anything with them.

So, as a New Year’s “Promise” to myself, I have decided to stop only admiring my plethora of recipes and actually try them out.

(Please note: I do not use the word “resolution.” I would automatically fail at that. I do have a list of promises and projects I’d like to do and will share those at some point.)

This week’s A‘Tempt’ was Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine and it was yummy with a capital Y. Both my husband and son loved it, which is an accomplishment in itself AND with the exception of shrimp, I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine

4 oz. fettuccine
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
16 large shrimp
1 tbsp. Cajun spice (recipe below, or use a your favorite packaged blend)
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook fettuccine according to package directions.

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Clean the shrimp and season with 1 tbsp. of Cajun spice (recipe below).

Drizzle the flour over the shrimp and toss in a bowl to make sure each shrimp is covered in flour.

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In a deep skillet, add butter and olive oil and heat over high heat. Add shrimp and cook on each side about 2 minutes until crisp.

Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, add chicken broth and heavy cream.

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Season with additional Cajun spice if preferred. Cook until sauce thickens a bit from the heavy cream, then add Parmesan cheese and whisk. Add fettuccine and shrimp to the sauce and toss.  Serve warm.

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Cajun Spice

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2 ½ tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. red chili powder
1 tbsp. ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small container with a lid.

Oh so easy!!

Cook’s Talk

  • This recipe is very forgiving; you can be flexible with the amounts. I used smaller shrimp, so wound up with probably more like 30-35 shrimp. I also used more than 4 ounces of pasta as my husband is a big eater. In turn, I increased the amount of broth and cream to accommodate the added pasta.
  • I was lazy and splurged on already peeled and cleaned shrimp!
  • I had all the ingredients for the Cajun Spice in my pantry so I didn’t use an already prepared one. We like spicy, so I added extra when I tossed in the shrimp and pasta. In fact, my hubby and son were sprinkling more on their plates.
  • If you wanted to use a prepared spice blend, I think Tony’s (which is a staple in my pantry) would work well. Just be careful, it’s salty. In fact, I think they make a salt-free version.
  • Use fresh grated Parmesan, not the powdered stuff out of the can.
  • It sounds silly with all the butter and cream here, but out of habit I used whole wheat pasta.
  • The only drawback was getting the dang melted Parmesan off my whisk! (I like to cook, not do dishes!)

This dish will be making a return to our table. My daughter has been trying her hand at more cooking and I think the ease of this would be a great one for her to try in her college apartment and impress her roommates.

Until next time, y’all enjoy….

Next Week: I’m going old school and actually using a cookbook.

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: The Good and The Bad

Fotor0114132316When I first started this blog, I pledged to myself to share the good, the bad and the ugly — whether it be cooking, crafting, organizational or life attempts.  Whatever it may be, I plan to be an open book because, well, this is a journey to where I want to be.

In today’s A’Tempting’ Tuesday installment, I have both — the good and the bad.

I love to bake.  I love to try new things.  I am always looking for new dishes and new baked goodies.  I have two that I recently tried.

Let’s start with THE BAD.

My hubby is diabetic with a sweet tooth.  I am sure it is complete holy hell for him because I bake.  A lot.  I’ve mentioned many times that baking is a great stress release for me.  I’ve been really stressed lately, so there’s been a lot of late-night baking.  I have really been making an effort to find more diabetic friendly recipes.  I’ve not come up with too many that I would call a success.  This one is no exception.

I found a … yikes, I hate to say it … BOXED chocolate cake mix that is sugar-free and not too bad.  I hate using boxed cake mixes so I cannot add insult to injury and also use an already-prepared frosting.  I found several easy recipes for sugar-free frosting that sounded promising.

Here’s the recipe I tried (I found it on All-recipes.com).

The result was pretty.  It tasted just okay and didn’t really work well with the cake.  I’d say this is one I will not try again.  The consistency was a little like a thin mousse, and way too thin to frost a cake.  It would make a better dessert  or filling, than a frosting.

Sugar-Free Frosting

1 (1.4 oz.) package sugar-free instant pudding mix (I used chocolate)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 (8 oz. package cream cheese)
1 (8 oz. ) container lite frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used sugar-free Cool Whip)

In medium bowl, combine milk and pudding mix.  Mix well and let stand until thickened.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pudding and mix well. Fold in whipped topping.

Cook’s Talk

  • As I said, this probably will not be a repeat.  But if I were to try it again, I think I’d cut the milk in half in hopes of making it more of a frosting consistency.  It might also be better in vanilla.  With the added cream cheese and whipped topping, it really wasn’t chocolate enough when paired with the chocolate cake I baked.
  • The best option would be to prepare an actual frosting, rather than use the pudding as s shortcut.  I’ve found a couple of others I will try soon.

Now, on to THE GOOD.

My children’s birthdays were last week and I decided to make cupcakes.  Cupcakes are so much fun and you can do so much with them.  I also love to find all sorts of colorful liners and creative wraps to make them unique.

I tried a recipe for cupcakes that I found on Pinterest.  They sounded good and were just so darn cute  I had to try them.  The result was a great tasting cupcake that again was “just so darn cute.”

The original recipe came from this BLOG.

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Cherry Coke Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk **see Cook’s Talk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 cup maraschino cherry syrup
24 maraschino cherries

Cola Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs cola (I wound up using 3 Tbs)

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Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a second bowl.  In a saucepan, boil the cola and cherry syrup gently for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and melt in the butter and cocoa powder.  Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the remaining liquid ingredients, beating until everything is blended.

Pour into the cupcake pans with liners and push a cherry into the center of each cupcake.  (Make sure to remove the stem).  Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven to wire rack to cool.

For the cola icing, mix the powdered sugar and cola with a spoon until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, remove them from pan, drizzle with the cola icing and let dry.  Top with cherry buttercream and a cherry.

Note:  The original post did not include a cherry buttercream recipe, so here is my take:

Cherry Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (Yes, y’all.  Real butter, not margarine)
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs juice from the maraschino cherries
2-4 Tbs heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter in stand mixer or with hand mixer. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, alternating with the cherry juice and heavy cream.  Add salt.  Continue beating for 3 minutes.   You will want a medium consistency (somewhat soft, but slightly stiff) for topping your cupcakes.  You can easily adjust this frosting if you feel its consistency is not quite right.   To thin, add more cream.  To stiffen add more powdered sugar.

I used a frosting bag and larger tip to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.

That’s it!

And, again …SO DARN CUTE!  They were a hit with my kids and the leftovers were wiped out by hubby’s coworkers in about 5 minutes.

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Cook’s Talk

  • The batter for this cupcake is really thin, but don’t worry.  It bakes just fine and results in a really moist cupcake.  Because all ovens are different, I started checking for doneness at about 12 minutes, but wound up baking for the entire 15.
  • Of course, I forgot the buttermilk at the store.  To substitute, I used 1/2 cup 2% milk (because that is what I had on hand) and added 1/2 Tbs white vinegar.  I let it sit for 5 minutes and voila … a great substitute for buttermilk that saved hubby a last-minute trip to the store.

I hope you enjoy.

Until next time….