Friday, May 20, 2011

Turkish Delights

My kids have fallen in love with the Narnia movies and my 10 year old has been begging me to make her Turkish Delights. I didn't know they were a real thing until a few weeks ago. I always assumed they were just a made up thing.

When I was a kid, I liked to watch the movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Then when my mom would make us meat pies for lunch, I would pick out the meat pieces and save them until the end and pretend like they were Turkish Delights.

I figured Turkish Delights were meat snacks. Turkish = turkey meat, right? Apparently not. I was WAY off on what they really are. They are kind of a cross between gelatin and gum drops.

I halved the recipe and still felt like there was a ton.

1 1/2 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons orange zest
3 (.25 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts, optional
confectioners' sugar for dusting

Bring 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C) on a candy thermometer. Set aside and keep hot. Stir together orange juice and orange zest, sprinkle with gelatin, and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water, then stir into hot syrup. Place over medium-low heat, and simmer, stirring gently, until thick. Remove syrup from heat, stir in orange juice mixture, vanilla, and pistachios. Grease a 8x8-inch pan and sprinkle generously with confectioners' sugar. Pour the Turkish delight into the pan, and let cool in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until set, 3 to 4 hours or overnight. When cool, sprinkle the top with another thick layer of powdered sugar. Cut into 1-inch squares, and dredge each well with confectioners' sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Recipe from Allrecipes

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Orange Chicken

I got to thinking one day, and that thinking led me to a want for orange chicken. The problem? I have never made orange chicken. I've eaten it many times, but never tried making it. It's one of those things Mom never made while I was growing up, so, I guess it kinda intimidated me. Why? I have no clue, but for some reason it did. Well, no longer am I intimidated by orange chicken!

The recipe called for cutting and coating and then cooking the chicken (you can probably even add thawing the chicken in there somewhere). Who has time for all that? Not I said me. With 5 kids running around, there are times that I barely have time to breath. The solution...... Popcorn chicken! I just throw a bag on a cookie sheet and bake it. Quick and easy.

My sweet hubby and I loved it. The kids? They ate it just fine, but were kinda upset because they wanted the sauce on the side. Sometimes sauce just isn't meant for the side. How can you have orange chicken without the orange sauce on the chicken? That makes it just chicken.

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons green onion
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 bag popcorn chicken

Pour popcorn chicken onto a baking sheet and bake according to the package directions. In a medium saucepan combine water, fresh orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and green onion and let it come to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened. Add chicken to the sauce and serve over rice.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

I guess I have been feeling like a bit rebel lately. I haven't posted for a whole 2 weeks! Yep, that is about the extent of my rebelliousness anymore.

I got a nice little text from my sister informing me that I hadn't updated for a while. So I decided to jump on and update. I thought about putting the amazing and addicting peanut butter bars on that I made last week, but I forgot to get a picture of them before they disappeared (I think there is a ghost in my house). Then I though about the awesome lemon curd I made 2 time in the last couple week (yep, it really is that good!), but once again, I forgot to get a picture. Then I though about the other yummies I made that I didn't get pictures of, like the apple milk I made for my baby. Oh, wait, I don't think that would fall into the same category.... You see, he (my baby) will be 1 in about 1 1/2 months, so I thought I should start getting him used to milk. He didn't agree with the idea. Every time I tried giving him milk, he spit it out at me and screamed in protest. I could only imagine the things he was calling me. And they were not very nice thing. Rather un nice things. Being the nice mom that I am, I decided to give him flavored milk. I tried strawberry first. Not successful. Chocolate was next. Still not successful. I sat down and started thinking. That's when the ah ha moment came. Can you see the light bulb that went off? He likes juice. I mean, he REALLY likes juice. So...... Why not mix the 2! Honestly, the thought makes me want to gag, but I figured it was worth a try. And it was a success!! Yep, the little guy loves it. 3 Parts apple juice, 1 part milk. We will work our way up to full milk. I will let you picture the apple milk all by your self. And if you feel inclined to try it..... Be my guest.

Now that I have that out of the way, on to the food I DO have a picture of.

I won a prize package a while ago (yep, I was a winner!) that had some Velveeta in it. I am not much of a Velveeta user and had no clue what to do with the 6 pounds I won. That is a LOT of Velveeta! My little (big) guy pointed out a recipe for macaroni and cheese on the back of the package and said that we needed to try it. I was quite surprise, as my kids seem to have an aversion to the words "macaroni and cheese" if it is not contained in a blue box. We decided to give it a try. The kids actually liked it (I didn't tell them it was macaroni and cheese, just that it was "lunch"). I still prefer my Pasta with Cheese Sauce, but this was super easy and wasn't too bad. If you are a Velveeta lover, this is for you!

2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
12 oz Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain well. Combine milk, Velveeta and pepper and cook over medium low heat until melted. Add in cooked macaroni and mix until well blended.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Italian Crockpot Chicken

This sauce is SO good. As in, I-could-drink-it, good. Well, almost. So good. So easy.

We usually eat it over pasta, but it is also very good over rice.

2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 (0.7 oz) pouch dry Italian dressing mix
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
4 chicken breasts, diced

Place chicken in the bottom of a crock pot. Top with soup, cream cheese, Italian seasoning and dressing mix. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Serve over pasta or rice.

Recipe from my friend Bonnie

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tropical Smoothies

I am ready for spring! I guess it technically is spring here, but the weather is not agreeing with what the calendar has to say. Try as I may, I just can't seem to make it come around. The weather sure does like to tease, though. One day it will actually feel like spring, the next we get snow. Spring weather has to come....right?

These smoothies were one of my attempts to make spring feel like spring. And it worked! At least until we looked outside.....

1 (6 oz) container pina colada yogurt
1 cup orange juice (can use up to 1/4 cup more if needed)
3 cups frozen tropical fruit (mango, peach, pineapple and strawberries)

Place juice and yogurt in blender. Add in fruit and blend until smooth. I use my Vita Mix and it takes less than 1 minute on low.

Recipe from The Royal Cook (an original)
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