Chrissy Teigen’s Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal

 

Chrissy has yet to steer me wrong. I made this last weekend for Hubs and myself. I am a yellow cake fan and an oatmeal fan. Putting them together seems natural to me and I guess Chrissy. I usually make these kinds of dishes for a celebration. It was Sunday, so why not celebrate? It made a tad too much for the two of us. We enjoyed it ALLLLL week. I might make it again, making half the recipe and using an 8 x 8 pan.

I’ve made baked oatmeal before with hopeful glee that I will save myself from breakfast cereals. The other attempts were meh. This recipe includes fruit, oatmeal, eggs, milk and (cough, cough) yellow cake. How can that be wrong?

This is not a “do-the-night-before” recipe. Plan accordingly. It takes a bit of time as you heat the milk and oatmeal, and let it cool to thicken. You have to melt butter and let it cool. I used frozen peaches and let them defrost on the counter, then zapped them for a minute in the microwave.  Some of the slices were a little large and still hard. The combination of peaches and raspberries are perfection. Next time I might sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top.

When cooked, this baked oatmeal has different textures, unlike other baked oatmeal recipes. If you have food texture aversions, you may want to think twice. As it bakes, the mixture separates. The bottom is a cakey, custardy mixture, while the top is oatmealy.  Chrissy says to bake it so the center is still jiggly and serve in bowls. I have enough jiggly things in my life, so I baked it a few more minutes. It was a little firmer, but still two separate textures. While this was cooking, I made bacon in the oven and timed them to be done at the same. I’m clever like that. You have to watch bacon in the oven, it’s a tricky creature. I used this recipe as a guide, but cook at the same temperature as the oatmeal. It’s not messy and the cleanup is so easy.

I brought the leftovers to work, for breakfast. The jello-like texture is great as it doesn’t slop around the container or your lunch box.  It’s a great way to start a work day. Why save everything yummy for the weekend?

Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal

5 cups of whole milk

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups yellow cake mix

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 cups raspberries

1 large peach, frozen works too

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 x 12 inch baking dish with butter. If you don’t have one this size, 9 x 13 works too. You can always pour 6 cups of water into the pan. If that overflows, the pan is too small. I used a ceramic baker that I use for my egg strata and it was perfect. Don’t stress  too much about it.

With a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk and oats and microwave on high, stopping once to stir, for 5 to 6 minutes.  Make sure the milk/oats mixture gets very warm. Give it a few minutes more if it’s not at least warm after the first  5 minutes. You want the oats to start cooking in the very warm milk. Let the oatmeal mixture sit on the counter to thicken for 10 minutes. You don’t want it to sit more than 10 minutes. The pressure is on!

Stir the cake mix into the cooked oatmeal until smooth, then mix in the eggs, melted butter, and salt.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish, then scatter the berries and peaches on top. You can use more than the recipes says, within reason. Bake until the center is just set and seems almost undercooked, 30 to 35 minutes. (It will jiggle a little, and when you spoon into the cake, it may separate into 2 layers)

I like to let it set for about 10 minutes before serving. It will cook a little more, and prevent the jiggles, and not scorch your mouth as you hurriedly spoon this into your face.

Enjoy!

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

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Rumors, rumors, rumors. It was once told that the recipe for these cookies cost someone $250 from a Neiman Marcus clerk. The story supposedly has been debunked by the company. It made a good story, but it also makes a good cookie. The prep work takes longer than a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe. You blend the rolled oats in a food processor to make an oat flour. This cookie, cleverly, requires a “good” 4 ounce milk chocolate bar along with semisweet chocolate chips. Instead of grating the cookie into a melted grated mess, I chop it up with a knife. I find this to be the best method. I also replace the walnuts with raisins, that I’ve soaked in hot water. Totally optional, but I love raisins. I use a stand mixer as the dough is very thick. I have to mix it by hand for a bit, to get at everything left in the bottom of the mixing bowl. It’s a bit of a workout, but worth it. I keep some out in a container and freeze the rest. You will be happy to know, they taste great frozen too. Who has time to wait for a cookie to defrost? Not me! I like to fool myself into believing they are healthy. I mean, there are over two cups of oats in it, right????

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not one-minute oats)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup light or dark brown sugar

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

4 ounces grated or finely chopped milk chocolate bar

1 cup of chopped walnuts or raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Blend the oats in a food processor or blender, to a fine powder. In a medium bowl,, which together the blended oats with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and the chopped candy bar, with the walnuts and/or raisins.
  4. Roll the dough into balls, about 2 heaping tablespoonfuls. Place them on the parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time, until the edges of the cookie are set but the center still looks undone, about 10 minutes. The cookies will set up as they cool. Let them cool on the cookies sheets. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days (so I’ve heard). They can be frozen for up to 2 months (has never happened).

These make a great work snack, with that second cup of coffee. They will get you to lunch without hunger rumbles.

Enjoy!

Here is the recipe I have used.

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When is a chicken pot pie too much?

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I have no one to blame but myself. I exhausted myself making chicken pot pie. I bought into the easy-breezy style of the tv chef. I watched the episode and stored it away in my old mind, excited for the changes. I have made plenty of chicken pot pies. My previous attempts have resulted in soggy crusts. Not enough filling, too big a pan? Probably all of the above. This chicken pot pie is different. A few more steps. Cream cheese in the pie crust???? I am promised a flaky, bubbly pot pie. Why not?

I will tell you why not. After 700 steps, 50 pans and utensils, the final step is what flabbergasted me. “Put chicken pot pie in freezer for 15 minutes until the dough feels frozen.” If I had room in my freezer for a chicken pot pie, I’d have bought one. I have chopped, stirred, shredded, rolled, chilled, cooled off and grated. For hours. I followed each step with the focus of a dog, waiting for food to drop. I became dehydrated, forced  to drink 10 glasses of water. Now at 3am Hubs and I will be positioning for the bathroom. I still have laundry to do. Knitting? Someday. I have emptied the trash twice and run the dishwasher once. This process has been ongoing for hours.  I am now chilling the filling before I bake it. Hot filling in a cold crust is a no-no.

Why does only the pie dough get to rest for 20 minutes? I have done all the work.  I am heading to the couch with a coffee drip. Wake me in 30.

In lieu of the freezer step, I rolled out the dough and placed it in the pie plate, and the other crust on a cookie sheet, and placed them in the fridge. I call this my work around. I am now measuring all efforts by what needs to be hand washed or placed in the dishwasher. My efforts of rolling out the pie dough fell a little short. A little tug. A little pull. Good enough. The raw dough tastes delish! Crimping is crucial. I don’t want anything boiling over and under the crust. I speak from experience. I fork the crust. I pour the cooled filling from the bowl into the pie pan. Bowl and fork, dishwasher. Cookie sheet. Rolling pin. Hand wash. Damn it. I have to beat an egg to create an egg wash. Spread over top pie crust. Cut slits into crust for venting. What do you do with leftover egg wash? Sometimes I microwave it and then throw it out. I’m too weak. No lunch. Just water. Bowl, spreading thingy, knife, and another fork…..dishwasher. I placed the pie plate on another cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I just looked up and saw people outside. Walking. Freely. In the warm sunshine. Sigh. A ray of sun has landed on my tablecloth. Crumbs.  Parmesan? When…what…. oh, never mind. Add to laundry…some.day.

Pot pie is in the pre-heated oven. Please say prayers for me.

DONE! It is beautiful. Golden brown and bubbling, just as promised. No soggy top crust, no oozing filling. Will I make this again? Meh. It was delicious, but it’s very time-consuming to prepare. At the end of the day, it’s chicken pot pie, tasty but labor intensive.

 

InstantPot Black Bean Soup

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Black Bean Soup. It’s not pretty, but it’s delicious and filling. This tasted better the next day. I stumbled upon this looking for healthier eats. I managed to make it a little less healthy. It’s a gift. I doubled the sausage and served it with rice. You’re welcome. I plead the Czech Republic. I don’t know if this belongs to any nationality, or if there’s a great story behind it. I’d figure it out and share, but apparently, people don’t want food bloggers to tell stories or have a voice. Meh to you all. Then don’t talk about food or included recipes in your books. Enough said.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 cups water

2 tbsp. tomato paste

4 cups vegetable or any stock

1  (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 carrots peeled and diced

1 lb. (2 1/2 cups) dried black beans, picked over and rinsed

12 ounces andouille sausage, diced

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

salt to taste

In a 6 quart InstantPot, heat oil on sauté. Stir in the onions, carrots, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook until the onions are soft, stirring frequently. Your kitchen should smell heavenly. Add the diced sausage. Stir to brown for about a minute. The sausage is already fully cooked. I like to add it now for a little color.

Add the water, stock, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves.  I swirl a little water in the tomato can to get all the tomato goodness. That’s what grandma would do! I wait before I add salt. The sausage is salty. I only add a little salt to the onions when they are softening.

Lock the lid in place. I use the manual setting for 40 minutes. Go have a snack or a cup of coffee. You’ve got 40 minutes to yourself. At the 40 minute mark, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. The thing-a-ma-jig should drop and then you can open the lid. Don’t forget to shut off and unplug the InstantPot.

Give this ugly beauty a stir. I like to use my immersion blender and give it a quick whirl. You don’t have to. I like the blended look. First, take out the bay leaves. You don’t want to whirl those into your soup. This soup thickens as it cools. You can serve it with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, a little cheese…..dress it up if you’d like. I tend to only put a dollop of sour cream on it. I serve it over some rice. Yep. Dinner in a bowl. I find making it the day before allows all the flavors to become friends. Most soups taste better the next day.

After it cools, I freeze lunch size portions. I also freeze some rice. YES! You can freeze rice. Together, this makes a great lunch. It’s filling and won’t slop around your lunch box. I brought it to work, and people came to see what was smelling so good in the microwave!

Here is the original recipe! Enjoy!

 

 

Cranberry-Orange Ricotta Bread

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I love a good quick bread recipe as much as the next person. This one was shared by a friend from the past, Nancy. We went to school together from elementary to high school. I never saw her after graduation. I never saw most of the my friends after graduation. We didn’t have Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to say in touch. We had a black phone anchored to the wall, with a short cord, and the USPS. Nancy and I reconnected on FB. I’ve discovered she is an incredible baker. I adore her baking postings. She is talented, and oh so creative in all aspects of her life. I’d call her a crafter, but that would be an insult to her artistic abilities! This recipe is one that Nancy recently posted.

With the threat of snow and miserable weather, I printed the recipe and ran to the store. Where I forgot to buy the cranberries. So, I improvised and used dried cranberries. I didn’t want to fight the crowds at two stores, so I skipped the trip to Whole Foods for the “good ricotta”. I deeply regret that decision to this day.  I baked the bread with these substitute ingredients. It came out good. I knew it could be great. The next weekend I found frozen cranberries and my Calabro Ricotta. This time, the bread was fantastic. The quality of ingredients makes a difference!

When I decided to bake this, I started pulling out my hand-mixer. I noticed this recipe was mixed and folded by hand! Are you thinking, what I’m thing? I can make this early in the morning without waking anybody. No? I baked this in 4 mini loaf pans. This is my idea of portion control. Ha! It’s nice to freeze these mini loaves, wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in plastic bags. It makes a great gift if you’re visiting a worthy recipient. Don’t forget to label them. I tend to have a couple of different breads in the freezer. You want to know what you’re handing off to your friends!

Ingredients

1 2/3 cups + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour; divided

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup ricotta cheese; preferably whole milk

1/4 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk

2 tsp. grated orange zest

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

 

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1-2 tbsp. orange juice

1 tsp. orange zest

pinch of salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large loaf pan, line with parchment paper. I also like to use 4 mini loaf pans, also using parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, sour cream, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, orange zest, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the 1 2/3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Set aside.

Chop the cranberries and toss them with remaining flour. I chop them into quarters, unless the berries are big. I don’t defrost the frozen cranberries. Chopping them frozen is actually easy. Toss the remains 2 tbsp. of flour with cranberries. This helps prevent them from sinking in the pan while the bread is baking.

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter, folding from the bottom and up. You want to fold in air. Make sure you get the bottom of the bowl with the spatula.  Mix until it’s all incorporated. Fold in the flour coated cranberries

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. I’ve been know to use a skewer. Use what you have! If you are using mini loaf pans, reduce the baking time. I start checking at around 30 minutes. They start to get a little golden brown coloring on the tops.

Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling wrap to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk together the ingredients until smooth. Add more juice for a thinner glaze, and more sugar to thicken it up. I like to put the glaze on while the bread is still warm. I put a cookies sheet under the cooling rack to catch the glaze. This makes clean-up easier!  Before you wrap this to store in the fridge or freezer, let the glaze cool and harden. You don’t have to glaze it, but WHY NOT?

NOTE: I have found this bread bakes better in mini-loaves. It’s very dense and it takes a little longer to bake in a loaf pan. They both taste great, but the mini-loaf comes out a little better.

InstantPot Chili-Lime Chicken

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I bought myself an InstantPot after Christmas. I held out as long as I could. I started a new job and I needed to cook more efficiently on the weekends. As appealing as a slow cooker can be, I cannot leave the house with something running. Nor can I go to sleep with anything running, like the dryer. Or anything!  So, I took the plunge. Game.Changer.

I read the included brochures with trepidation. I was having pangs of buyers remorse, and was looking for a reason to return it. As my daughter said, “Idiots use it every day. Of course you can too.” Such affirmation!

I started small. Boiling water. I actually had some trouble with this. Then on to hardboiled eggs. Those eggs turned out to be the best I have ever boiled. They peeled perfectly. Easy to peel hard-boiled eggs is something I have struggled with, if we are confessing our troubles. I felt my confidence building. Onward to more complex recipes.

So, Mr. Google directed me to some great recipes. This chili-lime chicken dish is absolutely easy and delicious. Perfect for the next step. You can even cook the chicken frozen! The only trick is to fillet the breasts so they are not more than an inch thick. You can them freeze them and use them when you need them. I did it! You can too. The trick to pressure cooking/InstantPot cooking is making sure there is enough liquid. I recommend sticking to a recipe from a reliable source. Ease you way into this method of cooking.

Tonight I made jasmine rice in the InstantPot to serve with the chicken. The recipe was in the book from the manufacturer. It was so simple. The rice was perfectly sticky. Three cups of rice, three cups of water and 4 minutes of cooking time and 10 minutes of natural release. Done! I covered the rice in a glass bowl and started cooking the chicken in a cleaned InstantPot insert. I also served roasted brussels sprouts. It wasn’t the most colorful meal but it tasted great.

You can make this chicken and use it in tacos, salads or anything else you think of, for another night You can prepare this while you’re cleaning the dinner dishes. It’s that simple and quick.

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 medium (or large) sized limes*

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

If the chicken breasts are more than one inch thick, fillet them, You can do this ahead of time and then freeze them. Make sure when you freeze them, you stack them two-by- two, so they will fit in the InstantPot if you plan on using them frozen.

In a small bowl I mix all the dry seasonings. I like to use about 1/2 cup of water, or broth in the pot. Liquid is important. When it heats up, the steam locks the InstantPot and the pressure builds, cooking everything.

Pour in the water/broth and the liquid smoke into the InstantPot. Place chicken in pot. Space them evenly. Them can overlap with no problems. Sprinkle the garlic over the chicken, and then the bowl of spices. Give it a slight stir if you can.

Secure the lid on pot and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes. I always use the MANUAL button. When finished let it rest for 5 minutes while the pressure naturally releases. Then you move the value to release the steam. Shut off the InstantPot and unplug it. I use a kitchen towel to do this. If you’re not sure if the chicken is done, an instant read thermometer should read the internal temperature at least 165 degrees.

Take the chicken out and shred it on a plate or in a bowl. Return the chicken to the pan and toss it around in the juices. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes:

If you are using chicken breasts that are about an inch thick, and frozen, you can cook them for 12 minutes. Really! What a time saver!

*I found that limes sometimes don’t make my grocery list. I bought a box of packets of True Lime. I just added the lime powder to the other dry seasonings. It was fantastic!

If you are uncertain about buying one, see if you can borrow a friend’s or cook with a friend. I’ve made braised lamb shanks, short ribs, ribs and several soups in the InstantPot. It helps with weekend cooking and weeknight meal planning.

Happy Eating!

Here’s the original recipe. I often find it helpful to read the comments section for ideas.

Chunky Beef, Cabbage and Tomato Soup

Thanksgiving is coming and so are your house guests. What do you serve them the Thanksgiving Eve? Soup and bread. It’s the perfect dinner especially if it’s made ahead. I have made this soup many times. It’s great the day you make it, but it tastes better the next day. Can soup age like a fine wine? I think so! Make this Sunday and serve it Wednesday. All you have to do is reheat it. Perfect.

The original recipe gives you exact measurements for your vegetables. I never measure the Holy Trinity of cooking. Can you have too much onion? I think not. I dice up the carrots and celery, eyeballing it. The soup will taste great with too many carrots. Is that really a thing? I also prefer to use vegetable stock over beef stock. You could even use chicken stock. I like to slice the cabbage thinly, and then chop it into thirds. The slices are still large, but spoon ready. I also add a 1/2 cup of uncooked rice. Maybe  I add the rice because I spill everything on myself, or I just like a thick soup, I may need an adult bib. The recipe makes quite a bit of soup, so the rice per serving doesn’t add that many carbs. Ok? You can also eliminate the rice. Sigh. I don’t know you anymore. Also, I usually don’t like cooking with lean beef. It works perfectly in this recipe. If you don’t have lean beef, tilt the pan as the fattier beef cooks, scooping out the fat. Pour it off into a heat proof container. Why, yes, you can even use a coffee cup. Here’s another way to increase the healthiness, add leftover cooked veggies, or legumes. I just added some cooked lentils and cannellini beans that needed to be used up. Delicious. I find soup recipes are more guidelines than rules. Make it your own. I strongly suggest you chop up all your veggies before you start cooking. It makes cooking so much easier, if you are prepared. Let’s get cooking!

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrot

28 ounces canned diced or crushed tomatoes

5 cups of chopped green cabbage (1 medium head)

4 cups beef stock

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup uncooked rice

The original recipe has directions for stove top and Insta Pot cooking. I use a big Dutch oven on my stove for my soups.

Heat your pan until water beads up, rolls and evaporates. Pour a tsp. of olive oil into hot pan. Add the ground beef and salt. Cook until the beef is browned, breaking the meat up into small pieces. Drain any fat.

Add the onion, celery, and carrots into the pot with the beef. Sauté the mixture until the vegetables soften. It should take about 5 minutes, give or take.

Add the canned tomatoes, cabbage, beef stock and bay leaves. Put the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes. As the cabbage cooks it will release some liquid. You can always add more broth or water if you want it thinner, but you can’t take away. At this point I add the uncooked rice, additional cooked items, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Stir occasionally checking on the liquid.

Voila! You have dinner. I like to buy frozen rolls to serve alongside this soup. In 10 minutes you have hot rolls waiting for good butter. Enjoy your dinner. Thanksgiving will come and go. Enjoy all of the moments!

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