Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easter Ham!

Good afternoon!  I don’t have much time because I have to go get Addy from the bus stop in a few minutes…..How awesome is it that all kids get bussed to school in the Reno area?  I love the schools here.  I can’t say enough good things about Addy’s school.  The casinos funnel money into education here, so I’ve been told.  Well, keep it comin’ casinos…..

When Addy started kindergarten in CA, I had to pay over $400 before she even started in “donations” and “fees”.  For a public school.  And I didn’t even come close to paying the “suggested” amount.  When she started first grade in Reno, I brought my check book to registration, expecting to be robbed blind again.  They asked me for a donation of $12 to cover something for computers.  And they were super apologetic for even asking.  See?  It rules here.

Back to food….Like I said on Tuesday, Easter is quickly approaching.  It is one week from this Sunday, for those without a calendar.  Today I am going to show you a really yummy glaze for ham.  Everyone has ham on Easter, right?  I know I like to have ham on Easter.  One of those giant spiral sliced hams with a glaze/coating so sweet it is almost like a candy coating.  I will show you how to make just such glaze.

For this glaze, I used one small shallot, butter, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear Spread.  This glaze gets its sweetness from the Ginger Pear spread and the brown sugar, obviously.  It is also tangy and savory from the mustard and vinegar.  These items meld together to make the yummiest glaze.  You will want to drink it.  Like a ham glaze milk shake.

I used a nine pound spiral sliced sugar cured ham.  It’s like half a pig.

My ham came with a little foil pack of glaze.  I threw that away.

I started by putting my ham in a baking dish, fat side up.  This way the fat will melt downwards and cover the ham in delicious pork fat.

I covered mine tightly in foil and baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour.

To start the glaze, I melted some butter in a sauce pan and added my chopped shallot.  I softened the shallot over medium heat.  This took about 4 minutes. 

Oh yeah, I also added some salt and pepper.

Next, I added the mustard and vinegar and stirred.

I also stirred in the brown sugar.  And remember, this is all over medium heat.

Finally, I added the Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear spread.  I let this simmer for about 15 minutes, over medium heat.  This glaze smells so crazy good.  You will smell the ginger, the vinegar, the shallot….all of it, and it is amazing!

After the ham has cooked for one hour, I took it out of the oven and got rid of the foil.  I poured the glaze all over the ham.  I popped this back in the oven for another 10 minutes, but this time at 450 degrees.  The high heat will caramelize the sugary stuff and give you that yummy “candy” coating.

When I took the ham out of the oven, I spooned the glaze all over the ham again.  I let this sit for about 15 minutes to cool off.

Holy crap, (I know, highly inappropriate for an Easter ham post) this ham is good.  You won’t miss the pack of glaze, and you also won’t need to make a trip to the Honey Ham store.  This ham will solve all your problems.

I served this ham with a little extra glaze spooned over the top.  I hope you make this ham for your Easter celebrations…….

Ginger Pear Ham Glaze

2 tablespoons butter

1 small shallot, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup Dijon Mustard

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Jar (9 oz.) Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear Spread

One 8-10 pound spiral sliced ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place ham, fat side up, in a baking pan.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

In a sauce pan, melt butter.  Sauté shallot until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, over medium heat, for 15 minutes.

Take ham out of oven.  Remove foil and discard.  Pour glaze over ham and bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.  Spoon glaze back over ham and let ham sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Pie for Easter

Hi guys!  I don’t know if you all know this….but Easter is sneaking up on us….fast.  It is already is less than two weeks!  Yikes!  Today I will be showing you a recipe for a yummy Strawberry Lemon Pie.  And I am going to get right to it because I need to finish cleaning my house.  The local news is coming tomorrow morning to interview me about my “local business.”  I am super excited, but making my house look like I don’t belong on “Hoarders” is never fun.  Have you ever looked under your couch?  Did you throw up in your mouth a little bit or am I the only one?

Back to the pie…I love strawberries and lemon together, don’t you?  I think they are a perfect mix of sweet and sour.  And this pie screams “spring!” to me.  The best part about this pie….it’s easy.  And….I am going to give you an option to make it less fat/calories.  I, of course, did not choose that option, but I will show it to you anyway.

For this recipe, I chose to use a store bought pie crust.  You know, the one that comes in the freezer section already perfectly shaped?  Yep, that one.  You could totally make your own pie crust if you are extra ambitious.

I “blind-baked” this pie crust, which basically just means that I baked it first with nothing in it.

I don’t use dried beans or rice to weigh it down.  I actually just poke holes all over it with a fork to keep it from poofing up.  I baked this at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes.  Your package should tell you how to blind bake your pie crust.

After it bakes, it is important that you let the crust cool all the way before you try to fill it.  This pie is served cold anyway, so go ahead and pop that bad boy in the fridge.

Like I said, this pie is super easy.  The “easy” filling consists of lemon curd, strawberries, lemon pudding mix, whole milk, heavy cream and powdered sugar.

I layer this pie.  The first layer is lemon curd.  You can make your own if you want.  It is actually pretty easy.  Here is a recipe: http://gourmetrooster.blogspot.com/2011/11/its-holidayseat-some-gingerbread.html.  The next layer is sliced strawberries, and the top layer is a lemon cream made with whipped cream and lemon pudding.  Yum!  It is light and delicious.  You have to make this pie.

Once my pie crust was cool, I spread some lemon curd down on the bottom.  I love lemon curd.  It is really easy to find in your grocery store.  I used a brand called “Sticky Fingers”.  It is my favorite, and I am quite the curd connoisseur.

Next, I laid down a layer of sliced strawberries.  I covered the whole bottom so that no curd showed at all.

Little tip: after you slice your strawberries, lay them out on a piece of paper towel to make sure they are super dry.  You don’t want any strawberry juice to leach out into the pie.

After I got the strawberries in place, I popped this pie in the fridge while I made the rest of the filling.

I started by whipping up some heavy cream with powdered sugar.

I whipped the cream to soft peaks.  Don’t take it too far.  It won’t get fluffier if that is what you are thinking.  It will turn into butter.

Here is the way to lighten this up……Use non-fat Whipped Topping (Cool Whip) instead of heavy whipping cream.  You can skip this step and just go straight to the puddin’ making.

Did you notice that my pictures are going from light to dark and then light again?  I swear I wasn’t cooking in a rave with a cool strobe light.  I don’t know what happened.  I am a bit slow in the photography department.

Anyhoo, I whisked up my box of pudding with only half of the amount of milk that the box called for.  This will make a thick, rich pudding.  Also, you could use low fat milk for this instead of whole milk.  Or even skim.  They make that kind of milk….so I’ve been told.

You can also use sugar free pudding mix;)

Dark again!  Oops.

I finished the filling by folding the pudding mixture into the whipped cream (or Whipped Topping if you are skinny).  Folding is actually very easy.  You draw your spatula down the center and turn half of the filling over the rest.  Then, you spin your bowl a quarter of the way around and do it again, gently.  You keep going like that until the pudding and whipped cream are mixed, but still fluffy.

The pudding/whipped cream combo makes a light, but still thick and rich filling.  It is genius.

I spread the filling over the strawberries.  It is a lot of filling!  Then, I popped the pie into the freezer to firm it up.  If you are planning on serving it that day, freeze it and let it sit out for 30 minutes before you serve it.  If you are serving it the next day, just pop it in the fridge.  It just needs to get cold to firm up.

Isn’t it pretty?  I topped mine with some extra strawberries just for color.

This pie is so yummy!  And refreshing.  The lemon curd is sour, but the sweetness of the strawberries balances it out.  Then, the filling is light and airy and just plain good.  This is a perfect Easter or spring pie.  I hope you try it!

Wish me luck on the interview tomorrow.  Here’s hoping I don’t reveal what a dork I actually am.

Strawberry and Lemon Pie

1 pie crust-bottom shell only

8 ounces lemon curd

½ pound strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 pack instant lemon pudding

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Prick pie crust all over with a fork to keep it from rising and bubbling.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

Once pie crust is cooled, spread lemon curd all over the bottom.  Top the curd with sliced strawberries.  Place pie in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Whip cream with powdered sugar, with a hand mixer until soft peaks are formed. In a separate bowl, whisk together pudding mix with milk until smooth.  Fold pudding into whipped cream with a rubber spatula.  Spread filling on top of strawberries.  Place pie in fridge for at least 6 hours.

Serves 8

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicken in a Tequila Cream Sauce

Hi everyone!  It’s almost the weekend!  Yeah!!  I need the weekend.  This has been a long week.  A loooooong week.  How has your week been?

Do you ever cook something to make yourself feel better?  Does “comfort food” really comfort you?  Sometimes, when I am having a crappy week, or Chris is…I will make something for dinner that I know we love.  Something that will for sure make us feel a little bit better.  Last night was one of those nights when I knew I needed to make something to give us something to look forward to.  Something to speed the week along.  I made a recipe that I created a few years ago, Chicken in a Tequila Cream Sauce.  It is yummy pieces of fried chicken smothered in a sauce made of butter, cream, lime juice and tequila.  It is so, so good!

I’m going to be honest here.  My kids will not eat the sauce that goes on this chicken.  I know, I know….I always try to give you “family friendly” recipes that your whole family will love.  I don’t want to cook two separate meals, and I know you sure as hell don’t want to.  But sometimes, you need to cook to please yourself and not your kids.  Give your kids the chicken without the sauce.  They will be fine.

First off, please don’t look at the price tag on this chicken.  I am so pissed at myself that I spent this much on chicken.  It was just one of those days….I was in a hurry, so I grabbed some “thin sliced” chicken breasts from the grocery store without looking at the price, thinking…chicken is chicken.  How much could it be?  Apparently, it can be $11.23.  Jeesh.  All because I wanted it “thin”.  Next time, I will pound out regular chicken breasts, which is what you should do.

I pound my chicken flat by putting it in a heavy plastic zip top bag and pounding it with my rolling pin.  I prefer the chicken to be thin for this recipe.  If it isn’t, it is too hard to fry on the stovetop evenly.

I shallow fry my chicken in butter and oil.  The butter for flavor and the oil because it has a higher smoke point.  The oil basically keeps the butter from burning.

I coat my chicken in seasoned flour before I fry it.  I put onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper into my flour.

I dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture.  I don’t use an egg wash or a batter or anything like that.  Really, this recipe is pretty easy.

This is a “shallow” fry as opposed to a deep fry.  The chicken will fry in about ¼ inch of fat.

I cooked the chicken, about 5 minutes per side, until it was golden brown and cooked through.  Since I cooked the chicken in batches, I kept the cooked breasts warm in the oven.

To make the sauce for this chicken, which is by far the best part, I used white tequila, heavy cream, more butter, and a few limes.

You can use any kind of tequila you want.  Or any kind that you already have.  Except you mom.  Yours is from 1962 and couldn’t possibly still be good.

Let’s make the sauce….

I use the same pan that I cooked my chicken in.  I dumped out the majority of the oil and butter.  I kept just a smidge only because I didn’t want to lose the chicken crusties that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.  You want that…..that is flavor!

I put in more butter.  Did I mention this isn’t healthy?

Next, in went the tequila and lime juice.  I let this boil for about 3 minutes.  I wanted to cook off the alcohol and let the sauce reduce a bit.

Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan….the tequila will “deglaze” the pan and lift up the brown stuff from the bottom of the pan.

Finally, I stirred in the cream and checked the sauce to see if it needed any salt or pepper.  I let this sauce boil again for a few minutes just to thicken.

Done.  Super easy and pretty fast.

I serve my chicken over rice and topped with diced tomatoes, green onions and chopped avocado.

I can’t even begin to tell you how good this is.  It’s like a margarita and chicken got married and had a yummy baby called Chicken in a Tequila Cream Sauce.  Long name.  Delicious baby.

Maybe your kids will like the sauce.  I know you will.  This recipe is a must try.  You won’t regret it.  Unless you buy $11 chicken.  Then you might regret it….a bit.

I will see you all next week.  I am getting ready to share some great Easter/Spring recipes!!  I will be testing all weekend!  So when I see you next week there is a strong chance that I will be 5 pounds heavier.....

Chicken in a Tequila Cream Sauce

1 and ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thin sliced or pounded thin

3 Tablespoons oil

¼ cup plus 3 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 ½  teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

½ cup tequila

¼ cup lime juice

¼ cup heavy cream

Tomatoes, green onion and avocado for garnish

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter into 3 tablespoons oil.

In a shallow pan, mix together flour with onion powder, chili powder, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour mixture.  Shake off excess.

Fry chicken breasts, over medium-high heat, in oil/butter for about 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through.  Keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Discard majority of fat from pan.  Add remaining butter to pan.  Stir in tequila and lime juice, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Let sauce boil for 3 minutes over medium high heat.  Stir in heavy cream and remaining salt and pepper.  Let boil an additional 3 minutes.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve over rice.  Garnish with tomatoes, avocado and green onions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Upside Down Peachy Cinnamon Rolls

Hi guys!  Super quick post for me today…..

I have been sitting on this recipe since Valentine’s Day, waiting for the day that I needed a fast post.  Really, this is barely even a recipe.  It is basically a way to “fancy” up a canned product, and turn it into something else entirely.  And, it takes about 10 minutes.  Are you sick of trying to guess what it is?......

That, my friends, is an “Upside Down Peachy Cinnamon Roll”.  I put butter, brown sugar and Gourmet Rooster County Fair Peach Spread into the bottom of a muffin tin, and top that with a canned cinnamon roll.  They get baked, and when they are done….I flip them out and ta-da….a perfectly baked cinnamon roll topped with yummy peachy-ness and caramel!  I also jazz up the frosting a bit too.  I will show you exactly how I did it….but quickly…because I have to pick up Addy from school soon.  Then we have baseball practice, homework, dinner, etc. 

Is it summer yet?  Seriously, is school out yet?

Like I said, I used a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, butter, brown sugar and Gourmet Rooster County Fair Peach Spread.

I suppose you could use any kind of fruit spread.  But come on….Gourmet Rooster is preferable.  Mamma needs a new pair of shoes.

I melted the butter and put about a teaspoon into each well.  Don’t you judge me on the condition of my muffin tin;)

Then, I added a scant teaspoon of brown sugar to the melted butter.

I also put about a teaspoon of the peach spread on top of that.  I kept everything to “teaspoons” to keep it easy.

I put a cinnamon roll on top of all that jazz.  Then, I baked these according to the package instructions.

Yum!  But before I flip these guys out….let me show you how to spice up the frosting.

I normally skip the frosting that comes with these cinnamon rolls because it tastes like the can it came in.  But when you add brown sugar and butter to it…..it ain’t half bad;)  I added about a tablespoon of melted butter and a tablespoon of the brown sugar.  I mixed this all up until it was smooth.  The good news is, you end up with even more frosting!  So, each roll gets more!!

What wouldn’t be good with melted butter and brown sugar stirred into it??

When you flip these babies out…you will have to spoon some of the peachy goodness out of the bottom and back over the top of the cinnamon roll.  Be sure to scrape it all out!

Chris said these were, by far, the best cinnamon rolls he had ever had.  He was shocked to find out they came out of a can.  He asked me if I made them from scratch.  Yeah, I snuck out of bed at 4am to get the yeast going…..let the rolls rise, kneaded the dough, and baked them all by 8am.  Because that’s the kind of wife and mom I am;)

You will love these cinnamon rolls….I promise!  They really don’t taste canned.  They are flaky, sweet, buttery and all together delicious!

I will see you all on Thursday, and I promise….I will have more time to spend with you.

Upside Down Peachy Cinnamon Rolls

1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls, plus frosting (usually contains 8 rolls)

3 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons butter

3 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons Gourmet Rooster County Fair Peach Spread

Pre-heat oven according to package directions.

Melt butter.  Put 1 teaspoon into the bottom of each 8 wells in a muffin tin.  Top butter with a teaspoon of brown sugar.  Add 1 teaspoon of peach spread as well.  Place a cinnamon roll into each well.  Bake according to package directions.

Invert cinnamon rolls while still warm.

For frosting:

Stir remaining melted butter and brown sugar into frosting.  Pour over each cinnamon roll.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Irish Coffee Cupcakes in a Jar!

Hi guys!  Do you have something green to wear on Saturday?  Do you have your corned beef?  Green beer?  Good, then you are all set.  I think you just need a yummy St. Patty’s Day dessert.  I’ve got one for you….Two actually.  The first is from last year.  It is a recipe for a flourless espresso chocolate cake with an Irish Cream glaze.  Here is the blog post: http://gourmetrooster.blogspot.com/2011/03/leprechaun-brought-irish-whiskey.html.  This year, I am going to show you something that is similar….but much easier, and much more kid friendly.  I will show you how to make Irish Coffee Cupcakes.  The cupcakes are a delicious mocha flavor (made from a mix!) and the frosting is a creamy Irish Cream buttercream.  You will be surprised to see what I use in the frosting to get the Irish Cream flavor without any booze.  I will also show you a super cute way to package the cupcakes.

Sneak peak:

Let’s get to it.

For the cupcakes, I used a chocolate cake mix.  You can use milk chocolate, chocolate fudge, etc.  It doesn’t matter.  I also used eggs and oil like the box told me to do.  Instead of water, I used espresso made with instant espresso and water.

Instant espresso is easy to find in any grocery store, but you could totally substitute really strong coffee.  Like triple strength coffee.  It should be almost the texture of sludge. 

I dissolved a full quarter cup of the espresso powder into 1 and ¼ cup hot water.

I dumped all the ingredients into a large bowl and mixed it with a hand mixer, again….just like the box told me to do.

Smooth, yummy batter.  The espresso goes so well with chocolate, and it isn’t over powering.  Paisley licked the beaters and didn’t complain about the presence of espresso.  She did, however, run around in circles for a full 45 minutes after though.

I didn’t bake these in cupcake liners.  Instead, I sprayed each well with cooking spray.  I want these to come out easily when they are baked.

I baked these according to the box directions…about 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

While I waited for the cupcakes to cool, I made the frosting.  Again, super easy and fast.

For the frosting, I used a stick of softened butter, powdered sugar, and Bailey’s Irish Cream coffee creamer.  Weird, right?  But think about it….it has the flavor that I am looking for, and it is rich, smooth and creamy.  It is perfect to make frosting with!

FYI- real Irish Cream is a cream liquor, based on whiskey, cream, and sometimes coffee.

I beat together all three ingredients with a hand mixer.  Paisley licked the beaters for this too.  She liked it….and she is 4.  So that tells you that the Irish Cream flavor is not too strong.  It is a mellow flavor that works perfectly with these cupcakes.

When the cupcakes were cool, I sliced them in half, horizontally.  I will be using little  8 ounce Mason jars to package my cupcakes. 

I put the bottom slice in the bottom of the jar.  Then, I piped in frosting.  Spooning it in works well too.  Then, I put another flat piece of cupcake in.  I topped that with more frosting, and finally, the top slice of a cupcake….and more frosting.

If you are doing the math, it will take 3 cupcakes to fill 2 jars.

See how cute it looks already?

I tied some green ribbon onto my jars and called them done.  This whole process didn’t take that long at all.  It is such a cute alternative to regular cupcakes, and such a great idea for a gift!  Who wouldn’t want to get an Irish Coffee Cupcake in a jar?  I certainly hope my kid’s teachers want one…..because they are getting one tomorrow;)

To actually give them as a gift, I put the lids on.  I also tied a plastic spoon onto each jar.  You have to eat these with a spoon.  There is no getting them out of the jar, otherwise.

I hope you try this recipe.  If you like Irish Coffee, you will love these cupcakes.  I always think that frosting is the best part of any cupcake, and these little babies have a ton of frosting!

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day….and don’t drink too much green beer!

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

One box chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

¼ cup espresso powder dissolved in 1 ¼ cup hot water


1 (1/2 cup) stick butter, softened

1 ¾ lbs. powdered sugar

¾ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream Coffee Creamer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

Blend all cake ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer.  Beat for 2 minutes, scraping sides with a spatula.

Fill muffin tin wells ¾ the way full.  Bake for about 18 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cook.

While the cupcakes cool, beat together softened butter, powdered sugar and coffee creamer together in a large bowl (with a hand mixer).

Frost when cupcakes are completely cooled.

Makes 18 cupcakes or 12 jarred cupcakes.