Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What is baking

Baking has been done for many years but did you know that baking is, simply, a cooking technique in which dry heat is applied to a food product in a closed environment, such as an oven. During the baking process, consistent temperature is maintained to ensure proper browning and doneness.

Baking is one of the most versatile of cooking techniques because it can achieve a variety of unique results-puffy souffl├ęs, crispy baked potatoes, creamy casseroles and delicate pastries-using one simple but exacting method. Put together your ingredients in the right proportions, select the appropriate oven temperature, maintain that temperature consistently throughout the baking process, and your finished result should be perfect. (If it isn't, but still tastes delicious, serve it anyway!).

So with that being said my daughter's birthday is coming up and she has asked (as both of my children do every year) to make her cake. My mind races as I'm not the best baker. "What to make?" I ask myself. I want something different and wonderful she will remember and love! I finally come up with brownie popsicles (she is having a pool party). What a great idea I think, no cake to cut, plates and silverware to remember. Yes, perfect! I scan through my cookbooks, pick my friends brains, and finally sit at my desk to browse through the internet (don't you just love the internet you can find the right thing if you ask the right questions).

Courtesy of Betty Crocker

Brownie Popsicles
1 package Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
Water, oil and eggs called for on brownie mix package
24 wooden sticks with rounded ends
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
2 teaspoons shortening
Assorted decors or sprinkles

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make brownies as directed on package for 13x9-inch pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.
2. Place brownies in freezer 30 minutes. Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Cut brownies into 24 rectangular bars, 6 strips lengthwise and 4 rows across, each about 1 1/2 by 3 1/4 inches. Gently insert stick into end of each bar, peeling foil from bars.
3. In microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High about 1 minute; stir until smooth. If necessary, microwave additional 5 seconds at a time. Dip top third to half of each brownie into chocolate; sprinkle with decors. Lay flat to dry.

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Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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