Tag Archives: Cooking

Riced Cauliflower?

chickenfriedricedcauliflowerI’ll admit. I’m a skeptic. Okay, I was a skeptic. However, there’s a possibility I’ve been converted. Here’s the deal, I had roommate who was doing the whole Keto thing. I’m not discussing the pros or cons of the Keto diet. I’m here to talk about Cauliflower. Not my favorite vegetable. Not my least favorite vegetable either. Cauliflower is the one I’m never excited to see in my steamed veggies at a restaurant, but I don’t not eat it. I can’t say I’ve been on board with this whole riced cauliflower, cauliflower pizza crust, mashed cauliflower craze I’ve seen all over my social media. However, I tried the riced cauliflower, and I…didn’t hate it.  Okay, fine, I went back for seconds.

I made chicken fried rice with frozen riced cauliflower. It tasted like…chicken fried rice, and it was quicker and easier to cook. I’m still unsure about the cauliflower pizza crust or the mashed cauliflower, but I may be less hesitant about trying it.

If you’d like to try chicken friend riced cauliflower, do it! The recipe is below.

Ingredients:

1 package riced cauliflower with peas and carrots (you can get plain and add frozen stir fry vegetables, frozen mixed vegetables…whatever you think would be tasty)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 Tablespoons butter

1 egg

Soy sauce to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt your butter. I like to use real butter, because you can brown it and add a bit of a nutty flavor. Dice chicken and cook in hot buttery skillet until done. While the chicken is cooking, thaw the riced cauliflower and spread on a paper towel to drain. Remove chicken and pat the cauliflower to remove as much moisture as possible. (if you don’t do this, it gets chewy) Gracefully dump the cauliflower in the same skillet you cooked the chicken in. Don’t worry about any butter or pieces of chicken left in the skillet. This is what gives it extra flavor! Add your frozen vegetables and heat the veggies through before adding the chicken back into the skillet. Make a hole in the center of the skillet by pushing the rest of ingredients to the side. Crack an egg in the center of the hole you just made and scramble it. Once the egg is cooked, slowly mix the rest of your ingredients in. Start with the bits nearest to the egg, and work your way to the edge to make sure the egg is evenly distributed. Add a bit of soy sauce to taste, and voila! Chicken Fried Riced Cauliflower!

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Tasty Goodness Part 1: Three Recipes, One Filling

So, I kind of Geek Out over cooking too.  Maybe not kind of…I love cooking and baking.  There’s something about feeding people who is incredibly beautiful and satisfying.  I try to feed my friends and family on a regular basis, and no time more than during the holidays.  This year I’ve gotten several requests for recipes, so I thought I’d share them here in a series of posts.  (Don’t worry, if you’re not into cooking, the regular geeky stuff will be coming back very soon!)

My love of cooking started early.  I am surrounded by great cooks.  My mother is a fantastic cook, and my Dad used to enter barbecue competitions with his friends and makes the best breakfast I’ve ever had!  Don’t even get me started on Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.  For me, cooking is kind of therapeutic.  As a sales person, some days my work is filled with a lot of activity and hard work, but nothing comes of it.  It can get a bit frustrating.  There is always something (hopefully delicious) to show for your work in the kitchen.

In my kitchen, cooking is kind of fast and loose, and I don’t really follow recipes (there is a lot of “until it looks right” in my family’s cooking).  I’m going to do my best for you though.  In fact there’s a story that gets regularly circulated about my Aunt or Mom or Grandma Joye (see how closely I listen sometimes?) following my Great-Grandma Kanelakos around with measuring cups and spoons to make her dump the handfuls, pinches, and all into the measuring cups/spoons so they could get a reasonably accurate measurement.  Future generations needed to know how to make her delicious food. (“half an eggshell” of something isn’t…exact). My family didn’t raise any bad cooks, so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to observe some experts.  I’ve definitely enjoyed the results!

To kick off the cooking series, I’m going to hand you the keys to one of the most versatile dessert recipes I’ve ever found.  This is my secret weapon for pot lucks, parties, and…well, anytime you need a fast easy dessert.  However, I like you. I’ll share my secret this time.  I use this filling to make Cherry Cheesecake Pie, Snicker Salad, and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries.  I wish I had pictures to share because the results are gorgeous, but…well, we ate them before I remembered pictures. (Sorry…for the not photographing, not for the eating.  Who can be sorry about eating?  It was all so good!)  To give you an idea, in the last two months I’ve made four (4) Cherry Cheesecake Pies, one (1) Snicker Salad, and two (2) pints of Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries (drizzled with chocolate, of course!)…and it was all so very tasty.  Thank goodness for the holiday season, because there were a lot of people around to eat all of this.

Filling

  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 8oz of cool whip
  • ¼ to ½ Cup of granulated sugar (you have to taste test.  Aw, shucks!)
  • Mix softened cream cheese with the sugar until creamy.  Fold in the Cool Whip.

Cherry Cheesecake Pie

  • 2 graham cracker pie crusts
  • 2 cans of Duncan Hines Wilderness or Country Cherries

The filling recipe makes two regular sized pies. Spread 1/2 of the filling in the pie crust (make sure there is enough room at the top for cherries) and top with the cherries.

This is definitely a family favorite, two get made for Thanksgiving each year, and there are rarely leftovers.  When I asked my Dad what Christmas treat he would like the last two years.  He wanted this Cherry Cheesecake Pie.  However, there are only six of us…we don’t need two pies.  Now, I make one and give one away.  They look like they’ve taken a really long time.  The bright ruby cherries on top of the creamy filling looks elegant, and if you use a store-bought pie crust, it comes with its own lid.  Just flip the plastic cover of the pie crust upside down.  Voila!  Instant portability, and no need to have pie pans returned.  This pie has made an excellent surprise gift for friends, and it is so pretty that even if it gets tipped sideways in the bag that you’re carting the food around in, it can be…fixed to still be decent looking. (That happens to everyone, right?)

Snicker Salad

 

Snickers

Snickers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

  • Filling (see recipe above)
  • 8-12 Snickers bars diced (You can substitute just about any candy bar for Snickers.  We had to think of ideas for a peanut allergic co-worker.  Well, peanut butter filled might not be good, but a Milky Way or even Heath bar could be really good.)
  • 3-4 green apples diced

Fold the Snickers and apples into the filling.  

I have no idea where my mom found the idea for this lovely “salad”, but I think my cousin’s wife would disown me if I didn’t bring it to Thanksgiving dinner!  You can also make the recipe and take half the filling and turn it into a pie and the other half becomes Snicker Salad.  Just add Snickers and apples until it looks “right”.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

  • Filling (see recipe above)
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)
  • Graham Crackers (optional)

 

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Semi-sweet chocolate chips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Core the strawberries (I use a paring knife to make sure there is plenty of room for filling). Use a frosting bag with a large tip or a frosting gun to fill the strawberries.  I received this Easy Accent Decorator from Pampered Chef last year as a gift, and it works amazing for this.  

If you like chocolate, and who doesn’t, you can melt the milk chocolate chips with a little butter in the microwave to drizzle over the berries.  After the strawberries have been filled, put the berries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.  In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips 30 seconds, remove from the microwave and stir well.  Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until all the chips are melted.  Drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries, and place them in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.

If you’re not a big chocolate fan (Personally, I don’t get it, but I’ve heard there are a few out there) You can crush some graham crackers and dip the filled end of the strawberry in the crushed graham crackers for that crust-like feeling.

I’d seen the Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries on Pinterest, and thought that was an amazing idea.  However, I didn’t make them myself until a friend hosted a Pampered Chef party.  They had used ready-made cheesecake in their berries, and I kept thinking that this filling would be so great for this!  (It is.)  They made theirs dipped in graham cracker crumbs and I thought, man a chocolate covered strawberry filled with this would be awesome.  (They are.)I made the chocolate drizzled version for a co-worker’s going away party and they were a huge hit.  I only had to taste test six of them before I deemed them ready for my colleagues. (What a tough job!)

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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TARDIS, Dalek, Stars, and…Presents: Happy 50th Anniversary and Birthday Party!

IMG_0628 (1)Hello Sweeties!  Well, I’ve done it!  I’ve thrown my first Doctor Who party.  When I was planning, I worried about it feeling like a 10 year old’s party…with adult beverages.  One of these days, I’ll learn not to worry so much.  It didn’t feel childish at all…I left off the coloring pages and props…maybe that made a difference?  All in all, if there weren’t an abundance of Doctor Who references from everything the food to “props”, it would have just been a lovely…blue and silver party…with stars.  

For this party, just blue and silver wouldn’t cut it.  This is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who for crying out loud!  It was also my birthday party, so there was no halfway.  The TARDIS made an appearance…or three, and a Dalek tried to “Exterminate!” the bread. My friends and family definitely Exterminated all the food.  (One day I will remember that there are never leftovers, but there is always enough.)  I should just stop stressing out about it.  

If you’re thinking of your own Doctor Who themed party, I’ve included recipes or links for the food, directions or links on how to make the decorations, and…anything else I can think of.  For those few people attending who were not Whovians, I made sure that everything had a little sign to indicate how it related to the show.  I mean otherwise, it is just a lasagna with a face!  I used Pinterest a lot to get ideas several months ago, but, when it came down to it, I didn’t do anything the exact way the directions suggested.  If you want to see some other ideas, check out my Theme Parties board.

20131123_172836Lost Moon of Poosh (a moon made of cheese!) I just bought a tasty cheese ball and some crackers.

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Bow Ties are Cool Pasta

Chop at least 4 garlic cloves and brown in a little olive oil, 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes into the pan with the garlic and cooked until the tomatoes release their juices (I usually cut 1/3 or so of the tomatoes in half to help this), top with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella pearls.  Pour this light tomato sauce over al dente pasta. (Bow Ties in this case)

 

Moisturize Me Lasagna

IMG_5225 (1)

Brown 1lb lean ground beef & mix with favorite marinara (I have a good recipe, but I used store-bought because of time issues.)  Spread a bit of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish to prevent sticking and layer lasagna noodles on top. (I use oven ready noodles because of time, and they are so much easier than traditional noodles!)  Top noodles with meat sauce and layer a few good spoonfuls of good ricotta cheese on top of that.  Repeat noodles, sauce, ricotta until you reach the top of the dish.  Then top with sauce and shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  To make Cassandra’s face, slice a radish, top the radish with sliced black olives, and cut lips out of a red bell pepper. (Please put Cassandra’s face on after cooking…otherwise it isn’t pretty.)

Celery is for Wearing, Not Eating Salad

20131123_172857This is just a bagged salad with sliced celery (tops with leaves just…somewhere), red pepper, radishes, tomatoes, and black olives (left over from Cassandra’s face)

Dalek Garlic Bread

windupdalek

 Just garlic bread with a Dalek wind-up toy next to it…to “Exterminate!” the bread.  I’m sure I could have made it look like a Dalek, but…time.  

 

 

Sonic Screwdrivers 9th, 10th & 11th Doctors

IMG_2042The blue sonic screwdrivers were by and large the most popular of the evening.  Very tasty, and the citrus soda made them “sparkle”.

9th and 10th Doctors’ Sonic Screwdriver

1 shot vanilla vodka (I actually used Pearl’s Wedding Cake Vodka…because it is so very very tasty!)

1 shot blue curacao

citrus soda (something clear like 7-up, Sprite, or Sierra Mist is better)

(9th & 10th Doctors) were a huge hit.  

11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver

2 shots blue raspberry vodka

Orange Juice

A slice of lime

The 11th Doctor’s green sonic screwdriver was very tasty also, but it didn’t have as many takers.  I think that a splash of citrus soda would be great here too.  You know…sparkly.  

Still Not Ginger, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Cookies (with edible ball bearings)

 

IMG_5225 (1)Otherwise known as how many Doctor Who things can I fit into one dish!  I love this sugar cookie and icing recipe!  It is pretty much the best one I’ve come across.  Perfect for using cookie cutters too, and the icing makes the cookies stackable without getting too hard. (Why did no one take a picture of my lovely cookies?  Oh right, they were too busy eating them!)  A triceratops cookie cutter and gray sugar pearls made this…perfect.

TARDIS Cake!

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Huge thank you to my friend for the birthday cake.  It is wonderful!  My favorite is yellow cake with Chocolate Frosting, and that is just what I received!  She drew a much better icing TARDIS than I would have been able to.

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Adipose Marshmallows  (used as drink stirrers)

These are super easy.  Jumbo marshmallow, and you can attach the regular size ‘mallows either with icing as glue or with toothpicks (1.  Cut the toothpicks in half, it works better. 2. Warn people there are toothpicks….I know, but the last thing you want is for someone to swallow half a toothpick.)  The faces were drawn on with black gel icing.  I used a toothpick to get a fine enough line.

TARDISmug

There were bunches of other items pertaining to the life of  The Doctor strewn about.   I got a TARDIS mug for my birthday that made an appearance along with an astronaut stress toy and a high-heeled shoe.  Can you tell I like River Song?

What did we do?

tardistoy

Doctor Who…stuff was playing in the background for…everything.  The week leading up to the party BBC America had a schedule full of Doctor Who specials, and I made sure they were all DVR’d and queued up for the party.  Since there was a marathon on, we just ended up watching that.  So, The End of Time Part 2 led us into the broadcast at 7:00pm CST.  Yes, we had emotional trauma for fans just before the big event.

 

 

IMG_6331 There was the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who edition of Monopoly available for playing, but, as usual, we were too busy talking and laughing to pull out the games! We saved that for the guests who stayed the night.  Coffee and being thrashed at Doctor Who Monopoly…always a great way to begin the day!  I have to give serious kudos to the winner.  There were no hotels left to purchase…he bought them all.  An unlucky trip around the board was going to cost you at least $4,000 Monopoly money.  I would earn just enough income to pay rent after I mortgaged…everything.  Then I’d pay off the mortgage and earn enough income to pay rent the next time I landed on….anything!

sonicscrewdriverkeychain

Decorations turned out great!  There was banner hanging from the mantle that said “Hello Sweetie”.  I just used TARDIS blue card stock to give the printed letters some substance.  IMG_5373A star mobile that hung from the light fixture above the dining table.  3 Chic Geeks gave me the idea, but I had to go and add glitter and stars of different sizes.  It was lots of fun, but I will never get all the glitter out of my…entire house.  The “Bad Wolf” graffiti was a big hit too.  My wonderfully evil self really wanted to print a poster sized weeping angel to hang behind the door in the bathroom…because it is scary!  However, I refrained…or I ran out of time…whichever…maybe next time.  All the tableware was blue and silver and the table and book case were scattered with silver star confetti.  I also couldn’t resist some star garland on a wire to weave about…anyplace flat.

A couple of people asked me what I was going to do with all the decorations I made.  Well, I’m keeping them, of course!  I received a Whovian Cookbook for my birthday….oh, I think I see more Doctor Who parties in my future.

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I watched The Day of the Doctor during the simulcast that afternoon.  

1) I know me.  There was no way that I would be able to sit still and not be checking on my guests constantly while the show was one.  However, I wasn’t missing a second of it either!  

2) I couldn’t wait that long!  

Since I cannot travel in time, my DVR worked just fine for this lovely occasion.  It also helped that BBC America rebroadcast it in the evening.  My guests ended up not needing much attention during the show, they were a bit occupied with what happened on-screen.  This did give me a chance to watch for all the little tidbits the creators like to throw in there for our viewing pleasure.  The hardest part was keeping my mouth shut. (Always a challenge!)  No spoilers!

All in all it was a pretty laid back kind of evening (with decorations).  Once again, I have to give huge kudos to my friends who are “Fantastic” all on their own.  There was virtually no clean up for me,  they jumped in with a “Geronimo” and had most of the work done for me.  All I had left to do was slip into my TARDIS pajamas and head off to dream of the next theme party I can concoct….Sherlock anyone?

Allons-y!

Jessica