Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time for a Change

I have officially decided to move my blog to its new home over at wordpress. They have many more features that I like and I just need something new to occupy my time. :)

This site will remain up for you to be able to visit all my past posts, but I may try to move all of them as well to the new site. We'll see how ambitious I really am!

Please change your bookmarks to...

www.itallstartedwithmacandcheese.wordpress.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Blog turns 1 (and Chocolate Cake of course)

Apparently I have been blogging for a year this week! Time flies when you are having fun, baking, and gaining weight. To mark this blogiversary I decided I would try to make my very first tiered cake. I wanted to try to mimic a bakery in Greensboro that I like because on some of their cakes they have a beautiful chocolate ganache finish. Mine didn't turn out as pretty but good enough for a first try!

The cake I used I got from a Today show segment a while back, but can't find the origin of the recipe. It makes a 3 layer 10 inch cake, but I used one batch to make 2 6in and 2 8in layers. It's a good cake but wasn't as moist as I wanted this time...oh well. I will keep searching for that perfect cake recipe!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coffee Cake


One of my friends at the office had a birthday this weekend and I wanted to do something a little different for her bday cake. I figure everyone is always trying to wait to an appropriate time to dive into my treats (but I find nothing wrong with dessert for breakfast) so this time I made a coffee cake so anyone can eat it right away. I really did some experimenting by combining 3 or so different recipes into one. My trusty taste tester Kris approved so hopefully everyone at the office will too.

This turned out to be an extremely moist cake so give it a try sometime!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chocolate Pie


The queen of chocolate pie making in our family is my Aunt Edna. Now for some reason I always seem to miss out on the family meal where she provides this pie, but I hear it is delicious. Aunt Edna makes her pie the old fashioned way with a regular pie crust and topped with meringue. Meringue is not my favorite thing, but it is starting to grow on me.

Since tomorrow is my birthday I decided it was ok to treat myself to a sinful dessert. I searched online for different recipes and didn't find any that looked fabulous so I decided to piece together my own. Using Aunt Edna's pie filling recipe, I paired it with an oreo crust and whipped cream...after all it is MY birthday.

This is a simple recipe and I made it even easier by making the filling in the microwave instead of stovetop. I also used skim milk (insert gasp here) and it thickened up just fine. This justifies eating two pieces today right??

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chili


I should've posted this recipe before the super bowl and big blizzard we just experienced, but better late than never right? Anytime there is a chill in the air coupled with a rainy day I automatically crave chili. I know everyone has their own version of chili and you can debate forever whose is best. I think this is a great starter recipe for you to make your own adjustments to if desired. This recipe comes from my friend Taemi, who also gave me the chicken brining instructions...I told you she was a great cook. I love having a recipe to follow as chili was one of those non-recipe recipes in my house growing up.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Meme's Famous Rolls

I've been meaning to write this post forever and kept putting it off, mainly because I lost the photos and it wouldn't be good without pictures - luckily I found them just this week. I just wish I had done this sooner so my wonderful grandmother could read it herself, but I know she is watching me write it now. :)

My grandmother Meme made the best dinner rolls ever. I can remember my dad videotaping her making the rolls during one of our summer trips to KY. We came home and he tried almost every day to recreate her rolls. They turned out horrible to start and he eventually asked her what he was doing wrong...turns out he forgot to tape the part where she added the sugar! One day he finally got it right and we had delicious rolls, and after that he never made them again.

This past summer I had the opportunity to make the rolls with my grandmother and watch the magic happen. I took care to measure out the flour (since of course she doesn't measure) but I somehow didn't translate that measurement to paper. I tried to make these by myself on Thanksgiving, but they didn't turn out very well. I even had to make two batches because Kris ruined the first ones before they could even rise (he put them on top of the oven vent so the dough started to cook - silly boy). I guess practice will have to make perfect, but I am really trying to stay on a diet so making rolls is not the best idea.

You need to plan ahead if you want these rolls for dinner - they need time to rise and Meme said that they are better the more times you are able to punch them down and let them rise. Just like Nana's macaroni and cheese, maybe one day I will get these rolls right and carry on the tradition.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roast Chicken and Stuffing


I decided this past weekend that I would try to make a traditional roast chicken for our Sunday dinner. I added stuffing to the meal since enjoyed my Thanksgiving version so much that I thought I would try to make it once more. My mom was always whipping up delicious comfort food meals like this so I thought it was about time I do so as well. I can remember the best roast chicken meal she ever made was when I returned home from a weekend camp in high school (camp Wewa for any of your peer counseling classmates out there). I don't know if it was so good because I was sleep deprived and hungry, or if it really was something she did in the actual cooking of the food. Either way, it was one of the best dinners I ever ate.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

White Chicken

This recipe is another one from my mother-in-law Jerrie. It is one of her favorite dishes and now one of mine as well. After baking for an hour and a half, the chicken is pull apart tender and coupled with a delicious sour cream sauce. With sour cream ranking as my #1 favorite condiment, I typically double the sauce so there is extra to go around.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies


I love chocolate chip cookies! My earliest memories of baking are of making chocolate chip cookies with my mom and brother. I can remember making them without a mixer, creaming the butter and sugar by hand with a spatula. Not sure why we did it the old fashioned way, but it was fun! My dad would always sneak up and steal big bite of dough and then take claim over licking the bowl, which he still does to this day. Thomas would always place an order for chocolate chip cookies minus the chocolate chips which I must admit are delicious (and no that doesn't make them sugar cookies). We experimented with every recipe out there, from using crisco to butter to margarine, and tried them chewy, crispy and all textures in between.

Trying to please everyone is always hard, but I think this recipe is close to being a perfect chocolate chip cookie. It is a little more work than your typical Tollhouse cookie recipe as it requires 2 different flours, but well worth the try! It is crispy, chewy, chocolaty, salty goodness! I took this recipe from smittenkitchen.com but have made a few adjustments of my own. Here is the link to that cookie blog post:
http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/leites-connusmate-chocolate-chip-cookie/

The kicker to this recipe though is that it calls for you to make the dough 24-36 hours in advance so the dough can rest. Therefore it is important for you to learn how to figure out your inner cookie cravings at least one day before it hits! (good luck with that)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 c light brown sugar
1 c plus 2 T granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla
2 c minus 2 T cake flour**
1 2/3 c all purpose flour (she called for bread flour, but I have no use for bread flour)
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t coarse salt (I cut back to about 1 1/4 the second time I made the cookies)
Chocolate chips - the recipe calls for chocolate disks or feves with at least 60% cocoa content, but who has the time to shop for fancy chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salts together in a bowl and set aside.
2. Cream together butter and sugars in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a regular hand mixer).
Cream until very light, about 5 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Add vanilla.
4. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and then refrigerate the dough.
6. When it comes time for baking, preheat oven to 350.
7. I try to let the dough come back to room temperature or just slightly chilled in order to make scooping easier, but the original recipe did not specify what to do. Use your own judgment here.
8. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, until edges become golden brown. Let cool a few minutes so you get the best of the crispy/chewy texture. Enjoy!!

**If you don't have cake flour, here is how you make it:
1. Measure out 1 cup of flour. Remove 2 T of flour from the cup. Put flour in a sifter set over a bowl. Add 2 T of cornstarch to sifter. Follow this pattern until you have enough flour for your recipe.
2. Sift flour and cornstarch together. Repeat sifting 5 times. Voila..you have cake flour.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Panko Chicken


I heard about panko on the Food Network (Japanese bread crumbs) and have always wanted to try it. While home in early December I ran to the local Publix and they had a yummy sample of chicken breast using panko. This recipe is as easy as they come and very delicious for a simple meal. It is a perfect weeknight dinner that can be prepped in about 5 minutes! I can't wait to try something new with my remaining panko crumbs.

Panko Chicken

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb chicken breast (I used 4 breasts because they fit nicely in my casserole dish)
1 can cream of chicken soup (I prefer the 98% fat free)
1/2 c light mayo
1 1/2 c panko crumbs
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
3T softened butter (I omitted)
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in baking dish.
3. Combine soup with mayo (I actually skipped the mayo but I bet it would make it have a little more flavor). Spread mixture evenly over chicken breasts.
4. Combine panko and cheese and stir with softened butter, mixing until crumbly.
5. Top chicken with panko mixture.
6. Cover dish with foil and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 10-15 minutes until top is golden brown. Depending on how thick your chicken breasts are you may need more or less time.