Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Bars

Check yield, this is a full-size dessert, not scaled down for two
  • 1 pkg Pillsbury Fudge Cake Mix
  • 21-oz can cherry fruit filling (pie filling)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 C sugar
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 6-oz pkg (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using solid shortening or margarine (not oil), grease and flour 13x9inch pan.
2. In large bowl, combine first four ingredients. By hand, stir until well mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
3. While bars cool, prepare frosting. In small saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and milk. Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate pieces until smooth. Pour over partially cooled bars.

Yield: About 3 dozen bars.

Robyn's notes: this has been a family favourite for decades, because it's so easy but comes out so good every time. It's moist and the cherry isn't overpowering. This was a Pillsbury Bake-off recipe winner in 1974, and Pillsbury does sometimes change the name of their boxed mixes. I don't know if they currently use the words "fudge cake mix", but any basic chocolate cake mix works. Just be sure it's a cake mix, not brownies, and that there isn't anything additional (such as chunks of chocolate). When making this last night, we had a Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Cake Mix in the house, and that's what we used.

***** 5 Stars: Excellent. A favourite for both of us, I will make this repeatedly

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stir-Fried Chicken with Toasted Sesame Seeds

  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 3 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 C soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbsp canola or peanut oil
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • pepper to taste
1. Place sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat and cook briefly until nicely brown and fragrant. Place seeds in a small bowl.
2. Whisk the water, dry mustard, soy sauce, 2 Tbsp sesame seeds and garlic in a small bowl.
3. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken cubes and stir-fry 5-8 minutes until lightly brown and opaque. Sprinkle with pepper, lemon juice and remaining sesame seeds. Cook for 2-3 more minutes until heated through. Serve with mustard sauce as a dipping sauce.

Robyn's notes: this was seriously painful to eat. It has potential, but would need some changes. For me it was especially difficult because I'm not allowed to eat sesame seeds, but I felt that the toasted flavor they'd impart was probably necessary to make the recipe "go", so I didn't leave them out, which meant lots of scraping my food before I could eat it. For me, if I were to make it again, I'd strain part of the sauce and set it aside for my own use. In addition, I'd definitely reduce the amount of mustard and probably be more sparing with the lemon juice. Every time I put a piece of chicken in my mouth, my tongue seized up. I served this with white rice and glazed carrots.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

I did not take the below picture, forgive the poor angle