Saturday, July 27, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry

Made this stir fry (with the sweet-and-sour chicken) for dinner tonight (we had people over). It was pretty quick, pretty cheap, and a hit. The chicken was a little too peppery and there was a bit too much sauce. I used 6 Costco chicken tenderloins - probably both of those problems would have been solved with more chicken, or I could have used less salt/pepper in the salt/pepper/corn starch step. It really was easy (hardest part was cutting the chicken and veggies), though, so I think we're going to add it into the rotation.*

*We don't really have a meal rotation. Sometime I'd like to make a chart, but I haven't yet.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

This was another recipe that I found when looking for dessert ideas. They turned out pretty well. Eric says it's one of his favorite things I've made.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars from Annie's Eats

I wasn't completely happy with the caramel layer. It has a sweetened condensed milk base, so it was easier than some other caramel recipes, but it just didn't have that rich, buttery caramel taste that I like. I might try making these again but with the caramel from the chocolate caramel tart I've made before. Also, I spent about 35-40 minutes cooking the caramel before I decided it was done. The recipe doesn't give a temperature indication, but mine got to a little over 200. (Maybe 220?) I decided to stop when it looked like the color in the picture on the recipe. My caramel was pretty firm, but Eric says not too firm.

I did each step on a different day. The shortbread and chocolate layers were super fast/easy. I used the same Ghirardelli 65% (I think 65%) bars that I use for ganache and stuff.

I was nervous about putting on too much salt, so I used our sea salt grinder and then sprinkled the finer salt lightly across the top. I wish I had used more salt because it's very tasty on these.

Banoffee Pie

A few weeks ago we needed to bring dessert to something so I found a few recipes that looked good and asked Eric which he would prefer. I can't remember what I ended up making, but today I got around to making this banoffee pie from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I guess banoffee pie is a thing...I hadn't heard of it before making this recipe.

I did make my own dulce de leche using the crockpot method she gives. I made two batches. Both times I had one jar on its side and that jar leaked. I cooked both batches on low for about 9 hours and decided they were done because they looked like they were the right color. I used a little over two jars for the pie and stirred in a teaspoon of vanilla before pouring it into the oreo crust. 

I accidentally used granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar in the cream layer. I don't know how it would have been different otherwise. 

The pie overall was a lot softer than I thought it would have been. I had the cream layer in the mixer for probably 5-6 minutes and thought it looked thick. It was in the refrigerator for probably 1.5 hours before serving. It was very tasty, though (but very very sweet). 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Banana Pudding Caramel Cream Trifles

One day this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe popped up on facebook so I decided to try it. I did each part separately so that I didn't have to cook everything at once (with the pudding and the caramel sauce (I made her homemade sauce) it was a bit of time stirring at the stove). I didn't love how the pudding turned out - I even strained it, but it was still kind of grainy or something. But the taste was fine, and the caramel sauce was awesome, and all together it was pretty good.

Chicken Sauce for Hawaiian Haystacks

I really like Hawaiian Haystacks. I had no idea they were a trend from the 80s. Anyway, the pictures on this recipe looked really good so one day I made the chicken sauce from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It was a little more involved than I thought it'd be, but it was tasty. We had this over brown rice with tomatoes, green onions (I didn't eat those), chow mein noodles, and mandarin oranges. I wish I would have included black olives and maybe pineapple instead of the oranges. It was still tasty, though. And the leftovers were great.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

One of my favorite things to eat is sweet and sour chicken (Almond Chicken) at The Mandarin in Bountiful, UT. I've never had sauce like theirs anywhere else. This recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe looked like the same sauce, and it's one of the most popular on her site, so I decided to try it. I've made it twice. The second time the corn starch/egg step went a lot better - I didn't cut the chicken as small (the first time I did bite-sized pieces, and the second time I did chunks that were probably 3/4 inch by 1 or 1 1/4 inch), and I beat the eggs with a mixer. I also stirred the chicken through the eggs instead of trying to coat each piece. Both times the chicken pieces haven't been evenly coated, so they don't look just like the chicken in her picture, but it still tastes good. Next time I want to try to remember to include some bell peppers.

I use chicken tenderloins from Costco and usually do 5 pieces and bake it in an 8 x 8 pan (p.s. I *love* that you just mix the sauce and pour it over). With that amount of chicken it would probably be nice to 1.5 times the sauce recipe (or even double it), but it's fine as it is.