Those hot lazy days of summer… not very conducive for cooking!! However I took the opportunity, while my oldest son was visiting, to have a little get together and re-run some recipes with a little twist. Part of the fun of cooking is to tweak recipes that you have already tried and that is just what I did for our party.
The first recipe re-run is from my very first blog (original post below):
From Food Network: Naked Chocolate Cake
Another A+ recipe with beyond presentation appeal for a gathering!!
The cake is easy enough to make, but does require a kitchen aide or equivalent, and the initial mixture made of coconut oil, applesauce, brown sugar, yogurt and extract requires a mixer with a paddle attachment.
Made some “accidental” tweaks to the recipe, forgot to add the chocolate chips into the batter before putting it into the oven, so instead sprinkled chocolate chips on each layer. Grapes were not on sale at the store, so went with fresh strawberries, fresh raspberries, frozen blueberries and the prettiest fresh blackberries I have ever seen!!! Made a fresh whipped cream from heavy whipping cream, confectionary sugar and almond abstract(was out of vanilla) and drizzled each layer with store bought chocolate sauce.
Ease of recipe 3-4, several steps and really does require a kitchen aide or equivalent for the batter and fresh whipped cream.
Taste of recipe 5. Incredible in taste and presentation, also a 5. It’s a must try!
Here are the twists I tried this time around:
Remembered this time to bake the chocolate chips IN the cake!!!
In addition to the chips also added roughly chopped fresh mint, which added a freshness and kick to the flavor.
Replaced the brown sugar with coconut sugar.
And the ultimate twist to this recipe…replaced the fresh fruit with candied strawberries:
Slice fresh strawberries and place on a baking sheet, bake at 210 for 3 hours, so sweet and healthy too!
Ease and taste ratings stay the same, drop presentation down to 4…not quite as pretty as the original recipe but definitely worth trying!
The second recipe re-run from my blog “Ode to the Spaghetti Squash” (original post below):
“SPAGHETTI SQUASH CHICKEN FAJITA”
Chicken tenders or thin sliced chicken breasts
Sweet vidalia onions
Cooking white wine
Orange, red, and yellow sweet peppers
Canned tomatoes with zesty green peppers
Cheddar or taco blend cheese shredded
I begin by steaming a large spaghetti squash until the flesh is tender, cool, remove the seeds, and set aside.
In a large skillet I combine:
2-3 TBSP olive oil
Chicken tenders chopped to bite size
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tsp cayenne
The chicken needs to have a coating of the spices, if above measurements are not sufficient, slowly add more until the chicken is coated.
Simmer until chicken is browned, add ¼ cup cooking wine, add sweet vidalias and sweet peppers chopped in half spirals.
Simmer until onions and peppers are tender.
Add one can undrained tomatoes with zesty green peppers, and add one can drained sliced or whole black olives, simmer.
In the meantime, drain, deseed and scoop the flesh of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl, keeping the spaghetti squash shell in tact.
Add chicken fajita mixture to the bowl of spaghetti squash and mix thoroughly.
Scoop chicken fajita, spaghetti squash mixture into saved spaghetti squash shells, top with cheddar or taco blend cheese and cook at 350 until the cheese is melted.
I give the ease of this recipe a 4. It too, has only a 2 pan clean up, but does require quite a bit of chopping and attention.
Taste is a 5, spicy and a little cheesy, what more could you want!
And presentation is a 3. Probably wouldn’t make a magazine cover, it is definitely no Giselle Bundchen, but would be good for a casual dinner or small get together. It could be sliced or scooped for serving.
Here are the twists I tried this time around:
Added Salsa in place of the canned tomatoes, cubana peppers, cherry tomatoes and a ¼ cup of white cooking wine to the chicken mix.
These ingredients gave that little extra zing I was looking for the first time around. I still served it in the shells, but because it was for a large party, provided serving spoons for guests to scoop portions.
Taste and ease ratings stayed the same, upgrade to a 4 on presentation, was well received by my guests!
Lastly, one new summer recipe that is beyond simple, quick, healthy and doesn’t require turning on the oven!
Frozen yogurt bark – courtesy of Myfussyeater.com
Plain or vanilla greek yogurt
Cranraisins (I used blueberry)
Used my Kitchen Aide to mix the greek yogurt and honey until well blended, at a low speed mixed in cranraisins.
Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet(about ½ inch thick) lined with parchment paper and topped with the fresh strawberries, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut.
Place in freezer for at least one hour, break into pieces and store in freezer bags.
Could it get an easier! Great Summer treat! All 5’s for ease, taste, and presentation!
Enjoy the rest of the summer! Next time, low fat meals for the Fall and meals that you can make ahead of time and serve over greens for lunches and dinners!