Monday, September 04, 2017

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Skewers (2 ingredients)

Sometimes you need to throw a quick dinner together, and using a pre-made glaze that cuts the time on your meal prep way down.  On mother's day we made ribs in the pressure cooker with a Jack Daniel's honey brown sugar sauce (they were amazing, recipe here), while my dad tried his own pressure cooker ribs using a delicious pineapple teriyaki glaze/marinade. We liked the flavor so much that I thought it would work really well on grilled chicken skewers.

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
These skewers are easy. You will need:

Chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes)
Kona Hawaiian Pineapple Teriyaki Glaze (found at Fred Meyer and Walmart)

So much yum in one little jar
You will also need some wooden skewers that have been soaking it water for about 15 minutes (so they don't char).  Optional would also be cut up fresh fruit/veggies to add to the skewers (bell peppers, onion, chunks of pineapple)

Chop your chicken breasts into cubes and marinate the meat in some of the Pineapple Teriyaki glaze for at least 30 minutes.  I also added some seasoning (salt and pepper).

Let the chicken marinate in the fridge until you are ready to put them on skewers

Next add the chicken chunks onto the wooden skewers that have been soaking in water

We did just meat the first time around, but these would be awesome with chunks of bell pepper, onions, and pineapple
This is usually where I hand things off to my hubby to grill on the BBQ. He says he turns the grill on high to preheat, turns it down to medium, then puts the skewers on with the ends hanging off the grill (so the wood doesn't burn). Grill about 3 minutes per side while "keeping an eye on it" (his words) and brush on extra glaze on as they are cooking.
Chicken skewers hot off the grill
While he's grilling the skewers I usually whip up a couple of sides. Rice and some slices of watermelon and we are ready to go.

Pineapple Teriyaki goodness - love the grill marks
 A quick, easy dinner that looked awesome and tasted great.

Easy and yummy are my favorite combination!


Normally I'd do a printed link to the recipe, but with only two main ingredients, this one is self explanatory.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Instant Pot Creme Brulee

One of my favorite desserts to order in a restaurant is creme brulee.  What's not to love about creamy cool vanilla custard topped with a crunchy candy sugar shell that you have to tap with your spoon to break open to reveal that creamy goodness center? So delicious and fancy! Have I ever, pray tell, made this delectable creme brulee for myself you ask? Well no. I have this irrational fear of tempering eggs. Don't ask my why, I blog about food, I love cooking, I'm addicted to the Food Network, but for some reason the fear of unintentionally scrambling eggs into my desserts have kept me away from my attempting to make my absolute favorite.  Enter the Instant Pot. I found a recipe on their community Facebook page that eliminates that pesky "tempering of the egg" fear and makes it stupid easy.

My absolute favorite!  Creme Brulee!

You will need:
(Recipe posted by a gal named Heidi Miller on the Instant Pot Facebook page)

5 egg yokes
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups of heavy cream 

You will also need six 6 oz ramekins, and Instant Pot, the inner trivet, and water.  Upon advice from the Facebook page, I purchase my ramekins in a set of eight at amazon here.  I was extra stoked they came in a beautiful light teal color that matched my new kitchen. They have other colors as well.

Add 5 egg yokes to a bowl.  

Add 1/2 cup of sugar

Whisk together

Add 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla

And mix together until smooth.

Pour into six 6 oz ramekins a little above mid way
This recipe will do exactly 6 ramekins, the most that will fit in the 6 qt pot
Cover ramekins tightly with foil.  I cut out squares that just fit over the round surface and sealed each one as tightly as I could

Make sure these are sealed around the edges as much as possible
Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot and cover with the trivet.  Stack the first three ramekins on the bottom.

A perfect fit
And then stack the next three ramekins balancing them on top of the first row.

All snug as a bug in a rug
Set the Instant Pot for manual for 13 minutes.  The most important part is to let the pot do a natural release.  That means, DON'T touch it until it depressurizes by itself and the tab on the top pops down by itself.  I made these twice, the first time I let it naturally release and they turned out great.  The second time I was impatient and released a little early. What it made was a big mess as the brulee inside the ramekins came up under the foil and made a sticky mess.  They were much uglier and very sticky.  

We still ate them of course, (for science) 

But all in all, the first batch following the rules turned out much better!

Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes then chill for 4 hours minimum.  

These are great if you want to make them ahead the day before and chill overnight
Pull them out of the fridge and remove the foil.

Hey that's lookin' pretty good!
Dust the top of each ramekin with a coating of sugar.  We used regular table sugar.
Looks like it snowed
Use a mini cooking blow torch to brulee the tops, which will turn brown and form a hard candy-type shell.  

If you don't have a torch, you can broil these in the over for a few minutes until they turn golden
My hubby gave me this blow torch almost 10 years ago in the hopes I would one day make creme brulee. I'm so glad his wishes have come true. I'm not gonna lie, firing this bad boy up was quite the thrill.
Burn baby, burn!
 Give each brulee it's final coat.

Man that was fun
 The only thing left after that is to admire your work... and EAT it.

Holy yum, Batman.
 Tap the outer shell and scoop up some of that vanilla custard inside

It makes a satisfying crunch sound as your break through to the creamy goodness below
I will say, that without tempering the eggs, the texture might not be as super-de-duper smooth as you would get in a fancy-dancy restaurant, however the flavor is still awesome. Very creamy and super tasty.  I'd consider this a "rustic" brulee.

I will SO make this again...and it's nice I can do it now WHENEVER I want from the comforts of home!  

Instant Pot Creme Brule


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hickies - The best thing to happen to kid shoes

Every once in a while you take a gamble on a new product - and every once in a while, your gamble pays off!  My 9 year old (though she has known how to tie her shoelaces for years) always seemed to be walking around dragging untied laces through the mud and the muck.  Besides being a tripping hazard at school, the laces were getting wet and grimy and who in their right might wants to touch soggy cold shoe laces all the time?  Yuck. Enter in Hickies.  I had seen an ad for them on Facebook and they had really good reviews.  Since I had nothing to lose I thought I would give them a whirl.   *By the way, I am not being paid or reimbursed for this product.  We bought them and are giving an honest review.

Hickies.  Changing the world one foot at a time

So here is a typical look for my nine-year-old. Totally put together and color coordinated everywhere, with her shoelaces a draggin' in the wind.

Sigh.  Seriously, like all.  The.  Time.

The Hickies are an elastic, stretchy, easy to clip on alternative to shoe laces.  They come in many colors and styles.  

We choose some hot pink ones, because she loved the color combo of teal and hot pink.  We also bought some pastel ones as a back up which my other daughter is claiming shortly.

Hickies come in many shades and styles!

First thing we did was to remove the old laces... Good bye and good riddance!

I will not miss thee, you dirty soggy things

Next we laid out all of the Hickies. They came with 14 Hickies plus two bonus black and white ones, in case you want to add in some contrast.

Super cute and we liked we could color coordinate with the existing shoe colors.

There are many ways to lace up to give you different comfort levels.  I will put a link here, they have many videos on different methods to make them snug or easy to slip on.  We ended up doing a little looser style, so she could easily get them on and off in the morning for school, and yet they would stay snug on her feet all day.  The first one we ran straight across the bottom of the tongue.  It is the only one we did straight across.

It's good to start with a simple one

Next we worked on one side alone.  Place the "tail" of the Hickie through the top hole on the shoe, and then skip one hole.  Have the Hickie come out of hole after the skipped one like this:  The head should be at the top, tail out the same side after skipping one hole.

You want to repeat this action starting with the second hold down.  Skip the one with the first Hickie in it and push it out the remaining hole.  So now you have two Hickies on the same side, two heads at the top two holes, tow tails at the bottom two holes.

Now repeat this on the other side of the shoe, only do the opposite and start at the bottom of the shoe.  The head will go in the bottom hole, the tail will skip one hole and come out the third hole.

This will make it so the Hickies line up across the way when we hook them up

The the second Hickie will go in head first at the second to the bottom, with the tail coming out the top hole.

The final product should look like this before you attach them all.

Now that you have that worked out, all the Hickies will line up as you connect them across the tongue of the shoe.  This looser method allows you to slip on the shoe easily, but stays on all day. 

There is a little point at the tail.  You hook it over the blue nub in the middle and push through a hole
Do the same thing to the other shoe and you will be in business.  She slipped these right on and started running around the house.  She also believes that Hickies make you run faster!

Good bye sad soggy shoe laces... we are embracing the very easy shoe future!

No more trip hazard and new fashionable Hickies to boot.

By the way, they don't just make Hickies for kids.  There are tons of adult uses, running shoes, sports shoes, work shoes.  It's a great way to make any pair of shoes easy to get into, fit snugly, and look pretty fabulous while doing it.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Mini Corn Dogs

So what is the best part about going to a state or county fair?  Well besides the scones, elephant ears, people watchin' and onion burgers, the main draw around these parts are corn dogs, aptly named "Krusty Pups".  SO GOOD.  However, since my gallbladder and I parted ways a few years back, corn dog and hot dogs and I are not really on speaking terms any more. I recently found out that if I buy the swanky nitrate free hot dogs, I do not get the reaction I once would get.  This gave me a glimmer of HOPE that once again there could be a golden brown crusty dog of corn in my near future!

Mini corn dogs... once only a dream for a galbladder-less girl, now a new reality!

So what you need for this recipe is:

1 package of bun length hotdogs
16 skewers or long sucker sticks
Several cups of oil (your choice, we did vegetable oil)  

Corn dog batter: Batter recipe taken from here at Life Made Simple

3/4 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons honey
3/4 cup buttermilk  * note we did a substitute
2 tsp vegetable oil

(Printable recipe at the end)

Take your bun length hotdogs...

I used to have buy the special Angus beef with no nitrates, but Oscar Mayer recently changed all their dogs to nitrate free!
and cut them in half

Bun length dogs cut in half make the perfect length for min dogs

I had bamboo skewers on hand that I cut in half, but you can also use lollypop sticks or chopsticks.  Push each half of the hotdog far up each stick. 

Meat on sticks....
Pat dry with a paper towel so each dog is dry to the touch (and will help the batter stick to the dog) 

In a bowl mix the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the beaten egg, honey, buttermilk (2 tsp of vinegar to 3/4 cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding), and vegetable oil.

Whisk together with the dry ingredients to make a thick batter.

Corn dog batter has a great smell to it!
Heat the oil up to 350º.  We had a candy thermometer on the side of the pot.  We also did not want to waste a ton of oil, (or stink up the house) so we used our smallest pot and filled it up a few inches to cover at least half the hotdog. 

 Pour the batter into a tall cup

Pre-dipping action
Dip the half of hot dog slowly in the batter, twisting as you pull up

Post dipping action
 Place immediately into the 350º oil and turn the temp on the oil down

Oh my gosh, it's working!
 Our pot was very small, we could only fit in two at a time

Two little pups spinning around in the oil
 Fry each dog for 2-3 minutes until golden brown all over

My 12-year-old wanted to help her dad
We got so excited when we thought these started to look like REAL corn dogs!!

Let them dry off on a paper towel to help wick off the extra oil

We were seriously impressed at this point.
Since we were making only a few at a time, we placed the finished pups on a pizza pan in a low temp oven to keep warm and crisp whilst we fried up the others.

Mini corn dogs... YUM

Soon we had a big ol' pile of golden Krusty Pups to behold.

Activate smell-o-vision here
All we had to do now was dig in!

Must have mustard.  It's the law.
A little scroll of mustard, some fresh corn on the cob and watermelon and this instantly became the new family favorite!

The batter was crunchy on the outside, sweet and fluffy on the inside.
Yum!  I think next time I will go with the smooth ended lollypop sticks instead of the skewers, just so the kids won't have that jabby point there at the end of the corn dog, other than that, we are SO going to add this to our summer dinner line up every once in a while.  So don't be afraid to try these in the near future, we were pleasantly surprised they were not that hard to make - and SUPER fun and delicious.

Mini corn dogs want to get into your belly today!

Here's the link to a printable recipe.  Enjoy.   

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