Mac and Cheese “in my Electric Pressure Cooker”

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I was going to friends house right after work for a grill out, I wanted to make Mac and Cheese but didn’t want stand at the stove or turn the oven on so, I was like what about my “Pressure Cooker”!!  YES!!!  I do love my Wolfgang Puck Electric Pressure Cooker, I think it is the greatest thing ever…I do use my pressure cooker weekly, I can cook me some quick veggies or chicken in no time and then I’m again not standing at the stove or turning the oven on…and now with this heat wave out there, it makes it really nice…and EASY!!!

I used the following:

2 1/2 cups pasta, i used orecchiette
2 cups chicken broth, I use a chicken base to make mine
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1 cup each of Jarlsburg Cheese and Apple Smoked Provolone Cheese
3/4 cup Extra-Aged Fontina Cheese
I have butter in my picture, but after the pasta was cooked I decided that I did not need to add the butter after all.

First I shredded all my cheeses  

                                

Then in the pressure cooker went the pasta, cream, broth, nutmeg, dry mustard, Jarlsburg and Provolone Cheeses, then give it a stir.   

Using the is “Rice Setting”, I set it for 8 minutes  

While this was cooking, we grilled Flank Steak and Chicken Wings with my homemade BBQ sauce (recipes to come soon), we also grilled up some green beans, jicama and onions.  These veggie are such a great combination you need to try them together for sure.

Once my timer went off and it depressurized, I gave the pasta a good stir then sprinkled the Fontina over top, placed the lid back on and kept it on warm for a few minutes then the cheese melted.

And dinner was served…what a great time and what a great meal…if you have an electric pressure cooker I hope you will try this recipe…Enjoy!!!

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Nutty Chocolate Cake

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This simple Nutty Chocolate Cake is so simple and yummy!!!  You can use any nuts you like, and really no special ingredients are needed, simple pantry items are used.  I hope you will try it, it does come out somewhat like a brownie, but it is YUMMY!!


 Cake:
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup nuts, coarsely chopped (walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts)

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Spray a 9 inch round cake pan, I use a tart pan and lined it with parchment paper.


In a small saucepan, heat butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until melted and smooth, cool for 15 minutes.

                                                        

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy,

stir in chocolate mixture.       

On low-speed add the flour mixture until blended,              

then stir in nuts.             

Spread batter in pan,    

bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 26 – 30 minutes.  Let cake cool completely

Ganache:

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chips or chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a microwaveable measuring cup heat cream for about 1 minute 15 seconds just till it starts to bubble, you must watch this it will bubble over.  Pour over chocolate   

let sit for 1 minute then whisk together until combined and creamy      

Let sit for 20 minutes, then pour on to cake,      

and spread all over, you can use decorative chocolate curls or more chopped nuts as a garnish.    

Chill for 15 minutes before serving.

Add a dollop up fresh whipped cream when served if you like…Enjoy!!!!

Good Ole Blueberry Cake

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This cake is very easy and quick, great with a cup a coffee or tea, even take it on a picnic or serve it at the backyard BBQ.  It’s a great make ahead cake!!!  Enjoy!!!   “Lighting for my Pictures are that great, plus took them with the cell phone, but the cake was Perfect”  At least the office enjoyed it this morning!!!

This is what you’ll need plus vanilla (forgot to add the vanilla in the picture)

1 pint fresh blueberries, about 2 cups give or take a berry
3/4 cup yogurt *see note below
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
2 cups cake flour

Preheat oven 350 degrees, spray a 9×13 baking pan.  Bake 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Mix together cake flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy about 1 minute.
Add eggs, 1 at a time beating well after each addition.  Beat in lemon zest and vanilla.
Alternately add in flour mixture and yogurt, until combined.
****Yogurt Note – you can use plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt would be good too, I used a new yogurt in our area call Noosa, check it out at noosayoghurt.com  “From the land down under, Noosa, Australia” I used the Blueberry, if you have this yogurt at your local store it is a must…we carry this in our organic area.  It really is “sinful”!!!   So even if you don’t make this cake the yogurt or as they called it “yoghurt”… it’s a MUST!!!!

Okay spread the batter in the pan.

Sprinkle the blueberries over top (you can use frozen if you don’t have fresh)

Bake until golden about 25 minutes, let cool completely.

Then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Banana Cream Pie for Father’s Day

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Banana Cream Pie – Happy Father’s Day Dad!!!

My Dads ultimate favorite thing is Banana Cream Pie, I make it for him on his birthday and Father’s Day…I know I should make it more often for him because he just absolutely loves it. I remember the last time was his birthday and I had stayed overnight and I woke up around 5:00am and there he was cutting himself a piece of pie. I had to laugh, so I started to make 2 cause the first one does not last the night.

So this is my Banana Cream Pie I make for my Dad.

Now I use a pre made pie crust, I know, I know I should make one from scratch but if you have time then you should for sure, but I don’t mind cutting that corner if I don’t have time.

First I bake my crust, then let it cool.

In the meantime I make the filling.

1/3 cup cornstarch
3 large egg yolks, keep whites to use in the meringue

1 ½ cup whipping cream
1 ½ cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp. Salt
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla
2 tbsp. Unsalted butter, softened

In a medium saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt, then whisk in whipping cream, milk, then egg yolks. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking until custard thickens and just boils. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla and set a side.

Slice 3 large ripe bananas, put half the slices over the crust, then half the filling, rest of bananas ending with the rest of the filling, spread evenly. Set aside.

The meringue topping, I use a marshmallow topping, some will call it a 7 minute frosting.

¾ cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp.
1 tbsp. Light corn syrup
2 tbsp. Water
3 large egg whites, left over from the filling, room temp.

In a small saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup and water, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat a little and insert in a candy thermometer until it registers 230 degrees.

In the meantime, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 ½ minutes.

Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, once the syrup reaches 230 degrees, pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl containing the egg white mixture with the mixer on medium-low speed.

Then beat on medium speed until cool 5- 10 minutes, the frosting should be thick and shiny.

Take frosting and put all of it on top of the banana and filling mixture, mound it up high and with the spreader, spread all the way to the edge of the pie crust.

Now since this is not really a meringue, I take my little crème brulee torch and torch the topping to make it look like a meringue.

Set in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours or longer to set. Slice and enjoy!!!

Mango & Avocado Salad with Spicy Honey Chicken

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I really do love mangoes and avocadoes together, on salads, as salsa, I think that for most part mangoes are a lost fruit, if people just knew how good they are and can be a great addition to any dish.

I know that it may not be the easiest to obtain that delicious yellow orange-ish fleshy goodness, but the more you know how to cut it open the easier it is.

How do you cut a mango?

Mangoes have long flat seeds in the center and the best way to cut them is by cutting parallel to the seed.  Using a sharp chef’s knife, start just off the centerline and cut parallel to the seed.  If you come into contact with the pit, follow the contours of the pit and continue cutting. You’ll get three pieces: the pit and two so-called cheeks of mango pulp.  You can cut around the pit to get more, or do what I do, I peel that center piece and eat the flesh around the pit, like you do sometimes with a peach pit.

Take the tip of your knife cutting down in lines up and down as well as sideways of each so-called cheek, by pushing on the skin side popping the cubes upward, cut cubes off at base of the skin.

Spicy Honey Chicken

4 boneless chicken breast, trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. honey
1 ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to season

In a small bowl whisk together honey, vinegar and cayenne; set aside

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, season chicken both sides with salt and pepper, cook chicken just until light brown, then flip. Start basting chicken with honey mixture, flipping chicken to baste both sides often until chicken is cook through and juices run clear.

In the meantime make

Mango and Avocado Salad

2 mangoes, cubed
2 avocadoes, cubed
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. mayonnaise (use Greek yogurt to make it healthier)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. honey Dijon mustard

In a medium bowl whisk together honey, mayo, juice and mustard, fold in mango, avocado and cilantro.

To serve place chicken on plate and top with Mango and Avocado salad, this dish is great with pecan rice, just make rice however you make rice and stir in a ¼ – ½ cup of chopped toasted pecans.

Another way of serving this summer dish would be to plate a bed of lettuce, top with sliced chicken, then Mango & Avocado salad…Which ever way you serve it…have fun with it and enjoy!!!

Grilled Pound Cake with Fresh Berries

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This dish will be delicious sitting outside on the patio with maybe a nice dessert  wine, where I live we have a great sale on berries this week.  We have Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries all for $1.48 each; I thought these berries would go great with some grilled pound cake.

You can use any kind or flavor of pound cake, if you want make some scratch or buy some at your local store or bakery.  In our store we carry some delicious pound cake from 2 local bakeries, Buskin and Servatti’s and of course good ole Sara Lee in the freezer stection.

Take your pound cake and slice it about 1 – 1 ¼ inch thick, place it on a medium hot grill, cook on each side just until you have char marks.

Keep it whole or cube your slice, place in a bowl or on a plate, top with some fresh berries, a nice dollop up whipped cream. I also like to add a little chiffonade of fresh mint.

Enjoy this any time of the summer, this a great dish to bring on a picnic as well…Enjoy!!