Saturday, March 31, 2012

Zombie Birthday Cake

Ok, so this isn't actually a recipe post..  My son just turned 5 and he's very into Power Rangers & Scooby Doo.  He's been saying for a while that he wanted a zombie cake.  I'm thinking, "where am I going to get that??  I couldn't imagine trying to find it at the usual places (Sam's Club, Walmart, etc)!  Then I realized I have this amazing cousin, Tamie!  I'm so jealous of her talents, but she's an awesome woman!  She made my brother's wedding cake and it was beautiful!  So, I asked her..  she said she'd do it and the only directions I gave her (since, like I said, I have zero talent for this type of thing) were to make it really cool and 5 year-old friendly.  This is what she came up with!

I could not believe what she brought to my house!  It was awesome!  A perfect cake for a little boy (or girl) who is, for whatever reason, obsessed with zombies! Notice how the zombies are coming up from the "ground", and it's all edible!

The cake itself was what I like to call ah-mazing!!  It was a three-layer peanut butter & jelly cake.  Now, I know this sounds kinda gross.. But it was so tasty!  The idea was to use a red jelly and when cut into, it resembled blood.. Kinda twisted, I know, but fun!  It didn't really have a lot of the jelly in it and the idea was actually lost on the little ones, so don't worry.  But the flavor was like nothing I imagined!  I will eat the occasional PB&J sandwich, but couldn't imagine it as a cake.. Little did I know! 
Definitely a great idea, great for Halloween, too! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork with Wine Sauce

5 pork loin chops
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsps brown sugar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
3 Tbsps cornstarch
3 Tbsps water
1 cup brown rice

Salt & pepper pork and brown in small amount of oil.  Remove meat and saute onion and garlic in the pan drippings until tender.  Add liquids and sugar and stir until dissolved.  
Add pork to slow cooker and pour liquid over.  Place on the lid and cook on low heat for 7-8 hrs or high heat 4-5 hrs.  
When cooked through, remove meat, stir together cornstarch and water to form a slurry.  Add to sauce in slow cooker, return the meat and cook for about 30 mins, or until slightly thickened.
Meanwhile, cook rice as directed.
Serve pork on a bed of rice and spoon sauce over the top.

*I used a Cabernet Sauvignon for this recipe
*Any type of rice can be used, I used a rice cooker to prepare mine.
*I got the basics of this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine, and changed a lot of ingredients to suit what I had on hand, it turned out great!
*Shown here served with seasoned turnip greens.

Lemon Pesto Chicken and Pasta

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 to 4 Tbsps pesto
1 container (10 oz) Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Savory Lemon & Herb
7 oz whole wheat rotini pasta 
Lemon juice
Salt & Pepper

Thaw chicken, if frozen.  Slice inside of chicken to form pocket and stuff with half of the pesto.  Salt & pepper outside of chicken.  Grill chicken until done.
Meanwhile, bring pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook according to directions.
In small saucepan, add cooking creme, remaining pesto, and extra lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.  Mix sauce into drained pasta, reserving a bit for garnish.
Serve cooked chicken on bed of pasta, spoon remaining sauce over the chicken.  

*I used home-made pesto that was frozen into ice cube trays.  I used one cube for chicken, and one for sauce.
*Any type of pasta would be great
*I used the Cooking Creme as a trial, your own home-made creme sauce would be great, too, with the pesto and lemon.
*Shown here served with my own seasoned french style green beans.