For my birthday dinner Mr. Picky decided to take me to the Melting Pot, and what a great choice it was! It wasn’t just dinner it was a whole experiece! This is a chain restaurant all over the US, they even have locations in Mexico and Canada so if you have one nearby I definitely recommend! Here’s why:

Birthday dinner :)

Let’s start with the decor!

It’s a pretty romantic atmosphere, very dark with lights on each table so it’s a great place for a date! The booths are quite comfortable, but the tables were what really impressed me! It’s a granite table top with a build in burner in the middle that only gets hot in the middle so there’s no risk in burning yourself. So now you are probably wondering why you need a burner at your table? Well because in this restaurant, you are the chef!  4 stars

The food: This is a fondue restaurant! So the menu is pretty straight forward. You have your choice of different cheese fondue, normal salads, entrees for one, desserts and they also have The Big Night Out Menu which is a 4 course meal for two! So since we wanted to sample everything they’ve got we got that!    

The first course was their Boston Lager Cheddar Cheese Fondue. Oh my gosh! It was magnificent! So the server comes to your table and first sets up the pot so it gets nice and hot and then he starts to build your fondue and the cool thing is that you see everything that goes into it. So first thing, he pours the beer. Samuel Adams. Then into the pool goes a ton of delicious cheddar cheese, then some Applewood-Smoked bacon - yum, some onions, Dijon, tabasco for heat and scallions to make everything pretty. Doesn’t that just sound fabulous? Then you need something to dip in that absolutely ahhmazing cheesy fondue so they bring out some bread, green apples and vegetables. My favorite was actually the simplest - bread that way the cheese is the star, but the green apples were also quite interesting. So first course was definitely a winner!                  5    stars          

Second course was salad. I was actually excited for a lighter course since the first was pretty rich and heavy, so something light was definitely appreciated. So we ordered the Wisconsin Wedge Salad. So basically iceberg lettuce, some tomatoes, Applewood-Smoked bacon, gorgonzola and peppercorn ranch dressing. I have to admit it was one of the best salads I’ve had in a long time. The dressing was wonderful with a nice tang and they definitely didn’t skimp on the bacon :)                                                                                                 5 stars  

Third course: Now this is where you really get to cooking! First you choose your entree from 3 different options. We stuck with the base option which included shrimp, sirloin, wild mushroom sacchetti (it’s kind of like ravioli), buffalo chicken and bbq pork tenderloin. The other two options were pretty much the same thing they just included lobster tail which I’m not a fan of at all, so this was the best choice for us. Then you choose the style of cooking which basically means you get to choose in what kind of broth you will be cooking the meats, whether you want to go with a classic bourgonion or coq au vin or something more exotic like mojo (Caribbean spiced) it’s up to you! Since I love coq au vin, we chose that! The broth is burgundy wine, infused with fresh herbs and mushrooms, just delicious. So the server assembles the broth in your pot and brings a plate with vegetables and all the meat which is by the way completely raw and quickly gives you a run down. So first step, you need to wait for the broth to comes to boil, simple enough. Then you start preparing your food. The vegetables (potatoes, mushrooms and broccoli) take about 10mins to prepare, the shrimp about 1 min, the steak anywhere from 1 – 2 mins (well done), the pork and chicken about 2 mins as well and the pasta 1 min. So little by little you start preparing your food and sampling it. The server also brings out 6 different sauces to try out of which I liked the best their most popular one (don’t remember the name) which almost reminded me of tzaziki, I also enjoyed their blue cheese one and their bbq. Least favorite has to be their cocktail sauce and sweet and sour.I definitely enjoyed mixing and matching the sauces and trying them out with different meats. The steak was great, the mushroom sacchettes - phenomenal and the pork and chicken had great flavors. Least favorite has to be the shrimp, it lacked seasonings for me, but overall everything was really good.                              4.5 stars

Our plate of raw meats just waiting to be cooked! :)

 

Pot of yummy coq au vin broth!

Cooking some shrimp :)

Fourth course: Dessert! My favorite part, by far! So we ordered the Flaming Turtle Fondue which was a combination of milk chocolate, gooye caramel, candied pecans served flambee style at your table! Blue flame and all! That is served with a plate of brownies, red velvet cake bites, cheesecake, strawberries, bananas, rice krispie treats and marshmallows. Can I just say this was beyond ahhmazing! I felt like I was in chocolate heaven! I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and be perfectly content! Just outstanding!    5 stars

Flaming Turtle Fondue!

All the goodies :)

Drinks: I ordered their Smores martini, which was pretty good, but to be honest not the best Smores martini I’ve ever had. So at $10 it was alright, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.                                                3 stars

Smores Martini. The cookie crumb marshmallows on top were the best part! Soo good!

Noise: The noise level was very low and it’s a great restaurant for conversation :)                                  5 stars

Service: Our server was great when he was around he was attentive and funny but he wasn’t around as much as I would have liked. He seemed like he was covering a pretty large area, but like I said when he was around he was great!                                                                                                                                          4 stars

Price: For the amount of food we good, I thought the price was very reasonable. Our 4 meal course for two was $82 + $6 for cooking style and then of course we have drinks and tip so our bill ended up being including all $130 for two. But our dinner did last almost 2 and half hours! So I think with it being a whole experience and a special occasion it was worth the money :)                                                                      Overall: 4.5 stars

So today it’s all about the buns. These look a little intimidating to make, but are actually super easy. And they look pretty time-consuming, but they are really not! So forget about all the excuses you might have and make them because seriously homemade and store-bought buns, just can’t compare!

And by the way, I can’t breathe. I’m still soo uncomfortable full from last night’s dinner. It was more like dinner experience. Ahhmazing. More about that tomorrow! For now I will just step on the scale and cry and after that hit the gym. Speaking of the gym, I’ve been ridiculously unmotivated and haven’t set foot in it in for over a week, so this needs to change asap so I don’t have to go shopping for bigger pants lol.

Anyhow, let’s make some buns.

Pretty simple list of ingredients! Milk, rapid yeast, butter, unbleached all-purpose flour, eggs, sesame seeds, honey and salt! You probably already have everything in your pantry :)

Combine warm water, yeast and honey, stir and let it sit for about 10-15 mins or until it’s foamy!

Melt some butter, add some milk and 1 egg and whisk to combine. Transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer.

Add the yeast mixture to your stand mixer and top with salt and 2 cups flour.

With a rubber spatula stir to combine until all the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining flour. With dough hooks knead the dough just a couple of mins until it’s elastic and shiny. Transfer the dough to oiled bowl and turn to coat a few times. Let it rise for about an hour until doubled in size.

The dough is doubled in size and it’s time to make rolls!

Divide to dough into 14-18 balls (depending on the size you want them) and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheets. Let them rise for another 30-60mins.

Make an egg wash with egg and a little water and brush each roll with some. Top with sesame seeds and bake in 350F preheated oven for 12-15 mins or until golden brown and gorgeous!

Slider Buns

Makes 14-18 buns

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet rapid rise active dry yeast (also known as quick-rise)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, divided 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds

Directions: In a bowl combine water, yeast and honey, stir and let it sit for 10-15 mins until foamy.

In a bowl, melt the butter, add the milk and 1 egg and stir to combine. Transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer. At this point the yeast should be foamy so add it to the stand mixer. Top with salt and 2 cups of flour and stir with a rubber spatula to combine until all the flour is incorporated and there are no dry spots. Add the remaining of flour and with dough hooks knead the dough until it’s elastic and shiny. Grease a bowl with some canola oil and add the dough, turning a few times to coat. Let it rise in a warm environment for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Divide the dough into golf sized balls and put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Let them rise for about 30-60 more mins. Make an egg wash with the last egg and 2 tsp water. With a pastry brush, brush each roll with the egg wash and bake at 350F for 12-15mins.

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Cuban Pork Sliders

Happy Birthday to me :)

Celebrating with some Pork Sliders YUM!

Although we couldn’t go on our little trip to cali because of Mr. Pickys work, I’m still having a pretty great birthday :)

It started off awesome by waking up to an amazing breakfast in bed that included eggs, bacon, toast and some fabulous Nutella crepes that Mr. Picky picked up from Ihop with a cute card that said “Things I’ve learned: Any pan is a no-stick pan if you no cook in it. It’s your birthday. Don’t cook.” Awww! And the most gourages bouquet of white roses and calla lilies, my favorite :) Then I lounged in bed forever watching 16 and pregnant (what can I say this show is a little addictive)and went shopping with my baby sister. I was looking for a cute dress for tonight, but instead came home with a bottle of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract. That excites me more than clothes lol :) So so far so good :) Tonight we’ll see what my hubby has in store for me and tomorrow – bbq with the fam!

But anyways, today I have something very special to share with you. Cuban Pork Sliders. Mind-blowingly delicious. These are absolutely heavenly! The pork is soo tender and packed with flavor, the little buns are the perfect vehicle for such an amazing meat, the pickles give it some crunch and zing, everything is better with some cheese and the mustard just makes it all work. Just try them and you will know what I’m talking about ok :)

And tomorrow I will show you how to make the slider buns :)

Everything you need for your pork :) Yes very budget friendly! That big chunk of meat was only $5 at my grocery store :)

 

Combine all the dry ingredients for the rub and rub them all over your pork loin.

 

Now sear your meat in some hot oil, this step is very important! This will give your meat a nice crust but most importantly it will give it a LOT of flavor :) Basically this is where the magic happens!

 

Now add in some broth, bay leaves, smashed garlic and onion, turn the heat down to low, cover and in about 2 hrs the meat will be absolutely perfect! And in the mean time it will fill your kitchen with fabulous smells that will drive you crazy :) You will keep opening the lid to inhale the aromas!

 

Rest your meat and slice it :) I couldn’t wait long enough lol so the first few sliders were more like pulled pork sliders but still fabulous!

 

Build your slider and devour! Wasn’t this easy!?

 

Cuban Pork Sliders

Makes about 12 sliders (I like mine packed with meat :) )

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lb boneless pork loin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 large onion, diced into large pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, washed and sliced
  • 12+ slider rolls
  • Toppings: lettuce, provolone, pickles, mustard

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, cumin and oregano. Rub it all over the pork loin. In a large pod, over medium high heat, heat the canola oil, you want it to be hot but not smoking. Sear the meat on each side until a nice crust forms. Add the chicken broth, onions, garlic, bay leaves and lemon, turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 1-2 hours or until the meat is cooked through. (I actually let my meat cook longer because I was out and about.) Once the meat is cooked, remove the roast from pan and cover to rest for about 10 mins. After that, slice it thin and assemble your sliders :)

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I fricking love mozzarella sticks. To the point that I can’t get enough. And now making it at home? It’s a dangerous business, my friends. One my jeans won’t appreciate. But that’s alright because they are sort of healthy. If you eat 2. The best thing is that they are baked! And you can totally make them ahead of time, always a plus!

How can you not love them! What’s not to love? They are crispy on the outside yet perfectly melted and gooye on the inside. Dipped in some delish 3 cheese marinara sauce and we are talking about heaven on earth! I always thought mozzarella sticks are soo difficult and time consuming to make, but I was totally wrong, these couldn’t be easier! Do. it.

Mozzarella Sticks

Makes 24 sticks

Ingredients:

  • 12 light mozzarella string cheese (cut in half so you have 24 pieces)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp italian style breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • cooking spray

Directions: Place the mozzarella string cheese on a tray covered in parchment paper and place in the freezer. You need the cheese the be completely frozen so it doesn’t collapse in the oven. I left mine in for about 1hr and it worked great!

Now you need 3 different bowls. In the first whisk the egg. Second for the flour and in the 3rd combine the italian breadcrumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and parsley. Take the mozzarella sticks out of the freezer and dip them first in the flour(shake off any excess), then the egg and finally the bread crumbs. Place back in the freezer until they are fully frozen. Preheat oven to 400F. Transfer the mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and spray them with cooking spray. Bake for 8-10 mins flipping once halfway through. Serve with marinara sauce.

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So I think we’ve already established that I adore pancakes. There’s nothing more comforting than a cloud of perfect, fluffy pancakes, topped with butter and maple syrup. Well so I thought until today. But from here on, I want all of my pancakes topped with this topping! Seriously! Melted butter, caramelized brown sugar, lots of gooye bananas and Kahlua for a hint of coffee, it doesn’t get better than this!

Yes, there is pancakes hiding underneath all this richness!

And by the way, today is not my day. Not at all. After spilling milk all over my counter, breaking a glass all over the floor and stabbing my foot on a little piece that I didn’t sweep away and then having to make the pancake batter twice because somehow I messed up the 1st and they weren’t fluffy at all, just completely flat and miserable pancakes that (by my standards) are not edible at all! And to finish it all of with spilling a bag of flour on my kitchen counter, on top of the milk, and having to clean it all up – yeah I’m a mess. But guess what! After I ate these ahhmazingly wonderful pancakes, I went for a massage with my favorite girl Miranda, who by the way has the most magical hands, gives the best deep tissue and I would marry her in a heartbeat if I could- it turns out it’s overall a pretty great day:) Tomorrow back to work, so I better get on with the laundry….

For the pancakes I used (without the walnuts)

Banana Foster Topping:

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 medium large bananas (a little ripe)
  • 1 tbsp Kahlua

Directions: In a saute pan, over medium high heat combine the butter and brown sugar and cook until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. In a single layer add the bananas and cook for 2 mins on each side or until they are softened and covered in the caramel. Lower the heat to medium low and add the Kahlua, cook for 1-2 mins. Serve over ice cream or pancakes :)

So yesterday was day 1 of my food challenge. I figured what’s better than some delicious cold pie that will be fairly simple to make, a good start to some more challenging recipes. Well, I gotta say as far as banana cream pies go, this is definitely a winner. Ohmygosh, I need some for breakfast right now. Don’t mind if I do.

But seriously, this is not just any banana cream pie. No way. We are talking about a delicious layer of homemade chocolate graham cracker crust for crunch, gooye layer of vanilla pudding, plenty of bananas to make you feel healthy, a layer of dark chocolate a hint of cinnamon and Kahlua pudding that is simply to.die. and will totally satisfy all your chocolate cravings and top it all of with some whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Ohh yes.

So yesterday after I created this little pie of heaven, I decided to go one step further and also bake some cinnamon swirl bread. Well let’s just say I have time management problems, big time! and like to take my damn time in the kitchen. Everything was going well up until midnight. The dough seemed to be rising great and I was getting really excited, tired and very impatient. Well that’s where everything went downhill. After the initial 2hr rise, rolling out the dough covering it with a ton of butter, sugar and cinnamon and rolling it back up, and letting it rise for gasp! 2 more hours, I was well past my bedtime. An hour in the second rise, I figured it’s had enough time to do its thing so I decided it’s time to bake. After the longest 40mins of my life, enticing cinnamon aroma going through the entire house, I was full of excitement and anticipation. Until I opened the oven. And found the bread…completely flat- my heart dropped. Well, I didn’t go this far for nothing. After the initial shock settled, I decided to proceed with trying it and at least it was going to taste alright, I mean with a ton of sugar, cinnamon and butter, it can’t possibly taste bad! Wrong! It was very dense (as expected) and not sweet at all? What happened to the cinnamon, the swirl was evident, but what happened to the taste? So with a huge disappointment I decided it’s finally time for bed. Moral of the story: Read the entire recipe before beginning (so you know how long it will take) and let the dough rise to its full potential. Even if you have to take naps in between and have an alarm set up. Otherwise, you will end up with a sad-looking bread that tastes like cardboard and you don’t want that. Trust me. Anyways, I think I’m through with my cinnamon bread days for now, but will definitely try again soon, I don’t accept defeat!

1st layer: Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

 

2nd layer: Creamy Dreamy Vanilla Pudding

 

3rd layer: Gooye Bananas

 

4th layer: Sinful Dark Chocolate Pudding with a hint of cinnamon and Kahlua

 

5th layer: whipped cream and chocolate shavings! OHH yes

Not Your Average Banana Cream Pie

Makes 1 9in pie

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cocoa powder. Add the butter and mix until all the crumbs are moist. Spread on a 9in pie plate and bake for 8-10mins or until set. Cool completely before filling.

Filling:

  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim), divided use
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp salted butter (if using unsalted add 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Kahlua

Directions: In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and 1 cup milk. Over medium high heat, stirring constantly, bring to boil and then let it cook for 2 more mins or until thick. In bowl whisk to yolks and remaining milk and add a little of the hot milk mixture. Whisk quickly to combine, and transfer back to the saucepan. Stir to combine and over medium high heat bring back to boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and let it cook for 2-3 mins or until very thick. Turn the heat off and add the butter and vanilla. Let the butter melt and whisk to combine. Pour half of the mixture into a bowl and add the chocolate chips. Stir to melt and add the cinnamon and Kahlua.

For banana layer you need 2 medium bananas, sliced.

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Directions: Pour the heavy cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: On the cooled crust, spread the vanilla pudding and top with a layer of the sliced bananas. Top with the chocolate pudding and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to serve top with the whipped cream and shaved chocolate if desired.

Adapted from:

Grown-Up Dark Chocolate Baileys Pudding

This turned out to be the best pudding I’ve ever had! I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and be perfectly content and never get sick of it. And most importantly, it was very simple to make with ingredients I always have on hand. I mean chocolate, butter and booze that’s pretty much our household staples!

So the husband is on a diet. He wants to get his abs back and I of course can’t really complain about that, I’m all for it. So since I’m totally supportive of his cause, I won’t be making any extremely indulgent desserts in the coming days. I really don’t get him sometimes though, he wants to eat healthy yet he’s been begging me to make him another calzone. And since I’m the best wife ever, I flatly refuse each time he asks. No need for temptation.

But this pudding, I just can’t stop thinking about it. It was soo creamy, chocolaty and the Bailey’s just took it over the top! It will be great for a party because it looks very elegant served in wine glasses and topped with some whipped cream, you have to make it ahead which is always helpful when hosting a party, needs very few ingredients and it’s a breeze to make!

Everything you need! Butter, milk, egg, Bailey’s, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, cornstarch, sugar and instant coffee :)

In a saucepan, whisk together the milk, cocoa powder, sugar and cornstarch.

Cook over medium low heat (stirring constantly) until thick. 5-7 mins.

Add half of the cocoa mixture to the egg and whisk quickly to combine.

Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook until it just reaches a boil.

Turn the heat off and stir in the butter and chocolate chips. Once melted add the Bailey’s. Divide into 4 wine glasses and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve with whipped cream!

and Enjoy :)

Grown-Up Dark Chocolate Bailey’s Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (or you can use semi-sweet)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream (I used coffee flavor)

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk the egg.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Place the mixture ver medium low heat and cook stirring constantly for 5-7 mins or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and pour half of the mixture into the egg and whisk quickly. Transfer the egg mixture back to the saucepan and cook on medium low heat just until it starts to boil. Turn off the heat and add in the butter and chocolate chips and stir until all is perfectly melted. Stir in the Bailey’s. Let it cool for 5 mins. Divide the pudding between 4 wine glasses and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

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Whole Wheat BBQ Chicken Calzones

Today we’re making little pockets of pleasure…aka calzones :)

My husband is a verry picky eater. It almost feels like I’m trying to feed a toddler. If he doesn’t like something, or at least he thinks he doesn’t, he will not give it a chance. Even if it’s absolutely heavenly! His list of foods is pretty limited, yet when I ask him what he wants for dinner, his response is ”Make whatever you want” well if I make whatever I want you simply won’t eat it! So this recipe is actually by his request because it involves all of his favorite things: BBQ, chicken and cheese. Shhh! Don’t mention the onions!

And next time he tells me to make whatever I want, I think I will take a full advantage of it! Maybe an elegant tomato, mozzarella and basil tart? That sounds yum! Or strawberry shortcake, I bet he will love that lol! So that will teach him a lesson :)

Anyways these calzones are fab! They are crispy on the outside, yet gooye on the inside. BBQ and chicken are already a match made in heaven, but when you add the sweet caramelized onions and sharp cheddar cheese it’s just a magnificent combination of flavors! And by the way this dough is extremely simple to make! I’m always a little afraid of working with yeast, but this worked out just ahhmazing :) Give it a go!

Here’s how to make them!

Everything you need to make the dough: barely warm water, whole wheat flour, all-purpose, salt, active dry yeast, honey and canola oil :)

To the warm water add the canola oil, honey and yeast. Stir with a fork to combine and let it sit for 10-15 mins until foamy! :)

Transfer the yeast/water mixture to a large bowl and add the whole wheat flour and salt

and mix until the dough starts to come together.

Add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

Mix the dough until it looks like it’s coming together. If it’s still too stick add 1/2 cup more flour.

Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic.

With a pastry brush, oil a bowl place the dough in it and turn to coat a few times. Cover with a towel and place somewhere warm until it doubles in size. About 1 1/2 hrs.

Slice 2 medium yellow onions.

Grease a saute pan and heat on medium high heat until pretty hot and add the onions.

Let them cook (stirring occasionally) until golden and then add some beef broth. As much or as little as you want. Make sure the vent is on it will smoke a little bit. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 20 more mins.

Omg! Delish! Now add a little salt and they are ready to eat!

You need some shredded chicken. Get a few chicken breasts put in a pod cover with water add some garlic powder and a little salt and cook for 30-35mins. Let cool and shred with 2 forks or your fingers :)

The dough has doubled in size. Punch it down, knead a few times on a floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces!

Roll out each dough into a circle and fill with some bbq, chicken and onions

Top with plenty of cheese and some more bbq then fold over and press all around the edges to seal. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 20-25mins or until golden brown. Let it cool for a few mins and devour!

Serve with extra bbq :)

Look at that! Perfection!

Whole Wheat BBQ Chicken Calzones

Makes 4 calzones

For the dough:

  • 1/8 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions: In a measuring cup combine the water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Stir with a fork, let it sit for 10-15 mins until foamy. Transfer to a bowl and add the whole wheat flour and salt. Stir with a rubber spatula until the dough starts to come together and add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. If the dough seems too sticky add the remaining flour. Knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. With a pastry brush, oil a bowl and place the dough in it turning to coat a few times. Cover with a towel and let the dough double in size about 1 1/2 hrs in a warm environment. Make the filling.

Filling:

  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth (more or less I didn’t measure so add as much as you want!)
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • bbq sauce
  • sharp cheddar cheese

Directions: Heat a saute pan until hot a grease lightly with some oil. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally until golden. Add the broth, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 20 mins stirring every now and then until the onions are a deep golden brown color.

In a bowl or a plate combine the shredded chicken, garlic powder and paprika. Toss to combine.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, knead a few times and divide into 4 equal size balls. Roll out each ball in a circle and fill with a few tbsp of bbq, lots of chicken, onions, cheese and some more bbq. Fold the top over to meet the bottom and press the edges all around to seal. Poke a few holes on top with a knife and place in a 350F preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown. Let it cool for a few mins and serve with extra bbq. Voila!

slightly adapted from:

Tiramisu Cake

Omg this cake is heavenly!

Ok, so to make this cake I was on the hunt for lady fingers. I’ve seen them many times in the grocery stores nearby, but when I need them they are suddenly all out. Great. So after going to 3 different grocery stores, I had to face the facts – I had to make my own lady fingers. I knew they were fairly simple to make with only a few ingredients I already had, but all I wanted was to take the easy way out and fricking buy them, oh well. Otherwise the cake and frosting are super easy and simple to make so don’t be intimidated of all the steps! And if you can, get store-bought lady fingers, it will save you time and they will also work great in this! This cake is best made the day before so all the flavors can perfectly meld together.

So here’s what you do :)

Tiramisu Cake

Makes one 9in cake

For the cake:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 8 or 9 in round pans.

In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, yolk and vanilla and beat to combine. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix to combine. Add the heavy cream and beat to combine. Distribute the batter (evenly) between the two pans and bake in a preheated oven for 28-30mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10mins and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Espresso extract:

  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 tbsp hot water

Directions: In a small bowl whisk the two ingredients together until the coffee dissolves. Set aside.

Espresso syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp Kahlua
  • 1 tbsp espresso extract (above)

Directions: In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the water and sugar to boil. Turn the heat off and whisk in the Kahlua and espresso extract. Set aside.

Mascarpone filling and frosting:

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Kahlua
  • remaining espresso extract

Directions: In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

In a another large bowl, whisk the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, Kahlua and espresso extract. Fold in the whipped cream. you are ready to frost :)

For decorations:

  • 20-30 lady fingers
  • 5 oz shredded (shaved) chocolate
  • cocoa powder, for dusting.

To assemble: If the cakes have crowned, with a serrated knife even them out. Place the first cake layer on a cake stand/plate and with a pastry brush soak the top of the cake with 1/3 of the espresso syrup. Top with 1/3 of the mascarpone frosting and half the shredded chocolate. While the second layer is resting on the cooling rack, soak the top of it with another 1/3 of the espresso extract and carefully flip the cake and place (soaked side down) on top of the first layer. Soak the top side with remaining espresso syrup and spread the remaining mascarpone frosting over the top and sides of cake. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder until you can’t see the mascarpone frosting. Place lady fingers on the side of cake, evenly apart, and top the cake with remaining shredded chocolate. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Best made the day ahead.

* To make your own cake flour – sift together ( a few times) 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.

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Yep, dinner will be ready in 15 mins. No, I’m not joking.

I often don’t feel like cooking after work. I feel tired, lazy, sleepy and all I want to do is crash on the couch with some Ben and Jerry’s and a horrible (yet soo good) chick flick on Lifetime. Well this meal is for one of those nights. It’s quick, simple, easy and all the spiciness totally wake up :)

And by the way I saw the Avengers 3D  a couple of days ago and that was just fricking awesome! Totally a must see :) So I’m starting to make a Top 100 challenge list of all the foods I should try to make, if you have any requests let me know! I’m sure there will be a lot of mess, flour, butter and frustration involved just bare with me lol! Also once the list is complete I will set a deadline to finish it by so I will keep you posted :)

But anyways, let’s get back to the chicken!

Everything you need! +Black Pepper

Cube the chicken. Add some salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, cayenne and garlic powder

Dredge the chicken in flour mixture and shake off any excess.

Over medium high heat in a preheated skillet (with some oil) fry up your chicken on both sides until golden brown

Oh yeah!

Now cover the chicken with plenty of buffalo sauce!

Now put some chicken on a warm tortilla wrap with some lettuce and cheddar cheese and eat up :) Serve with ranch.

15 mins Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cubed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • to serve: flour tortillas, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese and ranch

Directions: Salt and pepper the chicken cubes. In a bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, cayenne and garlic powder. Toss in the chicken to coat and shake off any excess flour. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat and grease with oil. Cook the chicken about 3-4 mins per side or until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and mix in the wing sauce. Serve with tortillas, lettuce, cheese and ranch! Enjoy

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