Friday, June 21, 2013

Boston Cream Icebox Cake

Have you ever heard of an Icebox Cake or Refrigerator Cake or No-Bake Cake? They're different names, but are all the same. I've heard of them, but I can't say I've ever had them. One of my nieces had mentioned that she wanted to make a Refrigerator Cake one day and I finally asked her what it was. She described it as crackers layered with a filling or some sort of custard and then refrigerated overnight for the crackers to soak up the custard. I decided to pass it up because I'm not a big fan of soggy crackers. Its textural thing. But then I've been seeing different versions of them all over Pinterest and it piqued my attention. So I decided to give this recipe a shot for a No-Bake Boston Cream Pie Strata from The Kitchn.

I used my Vanilla Pudding as the filling for this Icebox Cake. This dessert came out quite good, to my surprise. And it was so easy to make. The graham crackers turned into to this moist cake. Who would've thought that I would end up loving soggy crackers??? I may try the other versions of no bake desserts. Stay tuned.....

2 sleeves of Graham Crackers
2 cups prepared vanilla pudding
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Line the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan with graham crackers, breaking them in half if necessary to fit the pan. Pour 1 cup of prepared vanilla pudding on top of the graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers and pour the remaining vanilla pudding. Place a final layer of graham crackers on top and set aside.

2) In a small saucepan, melt butter with the cocoa powder over medium-low heat and bring to a light simmer, whisking occasionally for about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioner's sugar until smooth. Add vanilla extract. While mixture is still warm, pour on top of graham crackers and smooth with a spatula or hot knife. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Creamy Jambalaya Pasta

This is another recipe I found on Pinterest. It seems as though Pinterest has taken up most of my free time. Whenever I have down time with the baby, I always pick up my handy-dandy iPhone and look at Pinterest to see what other new and interesting recipes I can find. And this recipe was just that.

I love Jambalaya and this recipe from Plain Chicken piqued my attention. I thought it resembled the Jambalaya pasta I sometimes order at restaurants. So I decided to give it a try. Its a really quick and easy recipe and it came out quite good. I lessened the salt a bit from the original recipe, because I thought it was a little too salty for my taste. I also decided to add chicken and shrimp to have a variety of textures in the dish. Its a little less milder than what they serve at the restaurants, but it was, all the same, delicious. Definitely a repeat dish I'll be making whenever I'm in a pinch to cook dinner.

1/2 lb. Farfalle pasta (or any other type of pasta)
1/4 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast
1/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
4 Tbsp. tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp. chopped parsley
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

1) Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2) In a large skillet, cook chicken breast on medium heat with a little oil until no longer pink. Add sausage and cook until browned. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3) Stir in white wine, making sure to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom. Add shrimp and continue cooking until wine has reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

4) Add Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Stir in cream and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking until cream is bubbly and has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

5) Add drained pasta and toss with parsley. Serve on a platter, garnished with grated Parmesan.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Avalanche Bars

I absolutely love Pinterest. They have such great ideas, and most importantly, such great recipes. Which is where I found this recipe for my favorite Avalanche Bars from Cookies and Cups.

Avalanche bars are supped up versions of a Rice Krispies treat. I used to buy a lot of these whenever we go Outlet shopping, because that's where we always find the candy shop that sells them. Goes to show you how often I used to go outlet shopping. I don't outlet shop as often anymore, nor do I buy these sweet treats as often. But I sure do miss them. So I was so excited to find this recipe and made them immediately. They taste exactly as I remembered them. These were so easy to make that I was able to whip these up while the baby took her nap. The best part of it was that I spent the same amount of money to make them as it costs to buy one bar at the candy shop. So there was more for me eat. Yum yum!

1 (12 oz bag) white chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 mini chocolate chips

1) Lightly grease a 9x9 pan. Set aside.

2) In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and continue to melt in 30 second increments until chocolate has melted and is smooth.

3) Stir in peanut butter until well incorporated. Add cereal and stir until well coated. Allow to slightly cool, about 15-20 minutes.

4) Add marshmallows and chocolate chips and stir until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly, pressing lightly with the back of the spoon. Do not compact too much as it will become hard once the chocolate sets. Once cooled and the chocolate has set, cut into squares.