Archives for November 2010

Sesame Chicken Recipe

Diva Entertains Sesame Stir Fry Up Close

This recipe is an all around winner.  It’s adapted from a recipe by dietitian Ellie Krieger, so its healthful.  Add to that it’s easy to make, beautiful on a plate, and the leftovers are absolutely scrumptious!  Unlike the dish you would purchase for Chinese take-out, this chicken stir-fry recipe isn’t fried.  Instead the chicken gets its great flavor via a marinade.  And it only needs to marinate for 20 minutes.

The recipe calls for ‘toasted sesame oil’ but if all you have on hand is regular sesame oil, by all means, use that.  It will still be delicious!  And, like all stir-fries, have your ingredients prepped and at-hand when ready to cook.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars – No Bake!

Diva Entertains Rice Krispie

I didn’t grow up with Rice Krispie Bars – it’s a rather new experience for me.  But now that I’ve had it I can understand why it has a large following (some have served them at their wedding!).

This version is a tad more sophisticated and includes peanut butter, roasted peanuts and chocolate in the recipe.  My tasting panel (family, friends and associates) gave these a big thumbs up!  And they are really easy to make.  The oven doesn’t come into play.  The only tricky part of the recipe is that the ‘krispy’ portion of the recipe is a tad hard to work with because it is so sticky.  But follow the  directions below and you’ll have the recipe completed within 30 minutes!

This recipe easily doubles (make it in a 9″ x 13″ pan) and leftovers (if there are any) can be frozen for future use.

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Pork Tenderloin with Prunes, Olives and Capers

Diva Entertains Pork with Prunes

Please tell me I haven’t lost you because of the word “Prunes” in the title.  Because this is one fabulous recipe you’ll want in your repertoire.   It’s easy to make, cooks really quickly, and just explodes with flavor.  My husband, who normally wouldn’t touch a prune with a 10 foot pole, *loves* this dish.  In fact, he darn near swoons over it.  You will too:)

The key to success here is cutting the pork tenderloin into thin slices (1/4″ thick) and cooking quickly in a very hot skillet.  The way to tell that the pork slices are ready to be turned is that the outer edges of each piece will turn much paler than the middle of the pork.  When you have a nice ring around the slice of pork tenderloin it is ready to be turned.  The second side will not take as long to cook as the first side.

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Cupcake Pops

Diva Entertains Cupcake Pops

If you’ve never heard of cupcake pops, I’m here to spread the word!  These became wildly popular a few years ago when Angie Dudley, who authors the “Bakerella” blog, sampled a cake pop at an event, loved them, and then proceeded to come up with her own versions.  Her cupcake pops were an instant internet sensation and soon Martha Stewart came calling to have Angie on her shown  Recently Angie came out with her cook book, Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irristible Mini Treats. (if you scroll down on the link there’s a great little video by Angie explaining what she does).

Diva Entertains Cupcake Pops Up Close

Instead of me writing out out the out to do these I am going to link you directly to Bakerella’s Cupcake Pops Recipe because she has wonderful step-by-step pictures.  But what I would like to offer are these tips and ‘lessons learned’ from my afternoon of making cake pops.

First of all – let me say for the record: “I am not a crafty person”  I don’t do a lot of crafts because my failures are far greater than my successes.  And although mine certainly do not look as great as Angies – they still worked out and were LOVED by family and friends.  If I can do it you can do it!

  1. Set a side a few hours to do these.  You will definitely need it.  But your hard work will be repaid with nearly 50 miniature desserts that will stay fresh for several days and that can also be frozen for future enjoyment
  2. If you don’t have the cute little flower shaped cutter that Angie uses, that’s okay.  Shape them with your hands like I did (I had actually bought some round cutters but they all ended up being too small or too large.).  I took the round cake balls and started to make a round cupcake liner of the lower half of the ball by shaping it with my fingers (basically pushing in and turning the cake ball to make the liner).
  3. I purchased candy melts (these can be purchased at most craft or baking supply stores) for the cupcake liner and frosting; I didn’t use bark.
  4. Make sure you follow the instructions for the melts and/or bark.  Otherwise they can burn or seize (yep – happened to me; I hadn’t followed the directions).
  5. No matter how I tried I could not successfully dip the ‘top’ of the cupcake in the candy melts.  It either wouldn’t coat properly or the whole cake pop fell into the melts.  Instead I just used a knife and ‘frosted’ them like you would an ordinary cupcake.  Sometimes I would have to frost over the first thin layer to fully cover up the cake pop.

And finally……

Diva Entertains Cupcake Pops - Whoops

Don’t be disheartened if you have a few flops along the way…they taste just as good as the others!

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Roasted Butternet Squash

If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know that I love to roast vegetables in a very hot oven.  It brings out the natural sugars in them and those caramelized edges are just packed with flavor.  Roasting is an easy way to cook too – these are hands-off aside from a quick flip about midway through cooking.

You would never know it by looking at it but butternut squash is actually relatively easy to cut through.  The way I cut it is I first chop of both ends, the cut the remaining piece in half.  I stand up each piece on one end and trim off the skin (I use a knife, some prefer a peeler).   I then cut each piece into 1/2″ slices and from there cut them into 1/2″ pieces.  (You’ll need to remove the seeds from the round end of the squash.)

I often add a teaspoon of maple syrup when tossing the squash with the olive oil for a little twist on the dish.  Just check the pan a few minutes earlier than the recipe below calls for because the sugar in the maple syrup will speed up the caramelization process, causing the pieces to brown faster.

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Delicious Apple Cake Recipe

Diva Entertains Apple Cake Slice

Presenting a family favorite!  This easy apple cake is super moist and is rich with apples and cinnamon.  Aside from the slicing of the apples, it just takes minutes to pull together.

I add more apples than the original recipe calls for.  And I always use Granny Smith because I like that they aren’t overly sweet. When mixed with sugar the apple taste is still strong and pure.  And although it’s only a small amount, the 1/3 cup of orange juice that the recipe calls for really brightens the flavors.

Diva Entertains Apple Cake

Although our apple cake recipe needs no frosting, a sprinkle of powdered sugar would be pretty and delicious.  However, for me, I like nice layer of powdered sugar glaze:)

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Chicken in Cider Glaze

This apple cider chicken recipe was such a pleasant surprise.  With few ingredients and quick prep and cooking time, it delivered a delicious meal that was full of flavor.

Keys to success for this fall recipe are to 1) pound the chicken thin for quick and even cooking (I usually cut each chicken breast in half before pounding; they are a bit easier to handle and cook faster than larger pieces) and 2) watch the cider-Dijon mixture as it reduces; it only takes a few minutes to reduce into a luscious, syrupy glaze.

I have added bacon pieces to the recipe – it was a wonderful compliment to the glaze.  However, by all means, leave it out if you would like to.  Another delicious addition that could be added to the sauce right before serving would be chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans.

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