Peri Peri Chicken

I know what you’re thinking. How did I end up cooking Portuguese Peri Peri Chicken? Well I saw a chef make it on one of the many cooking shows, it might have been Beat Bobby Flay. It looked delicious. Peri Peri  or Piri Piri chicken is grilled whole chicken that has been butterflied, or split or cut into leg quarters that has been marinated and basted in the peri peri sauce. The peri peri (or piri piri) sauce is made up of a blend up Peri Peri or african bird’s-eye pepper, garlic, sun ripened lemons and spices. Originally I thought this dish was Portuguese as there are spanish variations. However I prepared the African version as I used a shortcut this time, the already bottled and packaged Nando’s Medium Peri-Peri sauce. I did want to fix it but I didn’t want to buy a long list of ingredients to make the sauce, sometimes I’m here for it – the homemade taste and flavor of cooking from scratch. Then there are those days when I am absolutely not here for it. I want to cook, I want it to be good but most importantly I want it to be convenient. So I grabbed two bottles of this 4.7 oz bottle because I was skeptical if I could make such a small amount go far. But at $3.49 a bottle in Kroger, two had to do.

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Nando’s Peri-Peri Sauce (Medium)

It probably would have been cheaper to buy the ingredients and make the sauce, but again, I was buying time and convenience in a bottle. I would also benefit from getting the authentic Peri Peri flavor versus what I hoped it should be if I made it myself. So it was still a win win situation. I found mine at my Kroger on the condiment aisle. Once back home in my kitchen I prepped my chicken leg quarters for the marinade. I opted to get quarters because they are affordable, you get a gang of them, and I would have a bunch left over to cook another day. Still winning right? Right. So with my chicken rinsed and dried I covered 4 leg quarters in a gallon zip loc bag with a whole bottle of the sauce. I massaged the sauce into the meat and let the bag rest while I lit my grill. Normally I would recommend marinating your chicken overnight. If you don’t have time, 30 minutes is better than nothing. While my chicken marinated and the grill heated up, I googled side dishes that went with the Peri Peri chicken. I found a rice dish and grilled corn. Of course I included a side salad because that’s a staple at my table.

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The leg quarters marinating in a Ziploc bag covered in Peri-Peri sauce.

 

Once my coals were nice and hot I placed 4 leg quarters on the grill rack that I had already sprayed with Canola oil to keep the meat from sticking. Sometimes I cover the grill rack with aluminum foil when I want to slow down the cooking process or prevent the food from cooking too quickly. When I’m cooking bulky meats like leg quarters I try to get a direct heat source to help them cook evenly and completely. The best advice I have received to date is to cook to temperature and not time…when it comes to meats anyway. The quick marinated leg quarters went directly on the grill rack and were basted with the remaining sauce from the bag before it was discarded.

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The leg quarters grilling and basted with Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce.

 

While the leg quarters cooked on the grill I went back inside to prepare the rice dish, Portuguese Rice. Yes I know, I thought I was on a whole Portuguese thing with the chicken but I was already invested – no turning back. Again the ingredients were pretty straightforward: long grain white rice, olive oil, chopped onion, minced garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, bay leaf, chopped tomatoes, water, parsley, and cilantro. The recipe calls for fresh herbs but fresh herbs go bad quickly. I keep dried herbs on hand because it’s more convenient and affordable. First you want to get your oil hot in a sauce pan.

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The chopped onions cooking in the olive oil for the Portuguese rice.

Once your onions have softened a little bit, you add in the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. This cooks for about a minute or so and then the chopped tomatoes are added. Your tomatoes need a couple of minutes to soften and then the water, parsley and cilantro are added and brought to a boil. Once boiling the rice is stirred in and then the pot should be covered and the heat reduced to low. The recipe suggests cooking the rice undisturbed for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. An additional  5 minutes of rest time is given before the rice is fluffed for serving.

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The finished Portuguese Rice. Looks pretty good eh?

With the rice done, the chicken was coming along beautifully. It had a slight char around the edges but it was cooking to a golden brown with splashes of red peri peri sauce. During the grilling I had used the half of the second bottle to baste and brush the leg quarters as  flipped them over. I pulled the leg quarters about five minutes after they read 165 degrees on my meat thermometer and covered them in foil.

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Peri-Peri Chicken

Along my research I also stumbled upon Peri Peri chips and sauce. Essentially it’s potatoes that have been either cut or sliced in chip form and fried and served with a sauce that is mayonnaise and peri peri sauce mixed together. I short cut it and picked up a bag of Kroger potato wedges and whipped up the sauce (1/4 cup of mayo and 4 tablespoons of peri peri sauce) while I fried the potatoes in my cast iron pot. I tossed the fried potato wedges with smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.

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Kroger’s Potato Wedges with Skins

The final product looked pretty good once I put it all together. If you ever eaten at Chicken Fiesta, my finished plate almost resembled a meal from their menu if I have to say so myself. What do you think?

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Peri Peri Chicken, Portuguese Rice, and Peri Peri Chips with Perinase

I can’t forget I shucked a couple of pieces of corn, and cleaned and then covered with olive oil, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, garlic powder, and old bay. I grilled the corn about 12-15 minutes while turning the corn over 5-6 minutes. The plate above is my husbands’ plate who doesn’t care for corn. The  plate below is the plate I prepared for myself and my mother in law.

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Peri Peri Chicken, Portuguese Rice, Peri Chips, Portuguese Grilled Corn and Perinaise

With all of the semi hard work done it was finally time to eat. Upon first bite the chicken was juicy and flavorful. The Peri Peri sauce was spicy and tangy. It wasn’t overly spicy but mind you I got the Medium version. There are a Hot and a Lemon Garlic version as well. The Portuguese rice was different. It too boasted lots of flavor but there was one flaw. The rice was still crunchy and  this was after determining at 20 minutes additional cook time was needed. So I added more water, replaced the lid and put it back on low setting to cook longer. I know I cooked it another 30 minutes or more and it still wasn’t completely tender. I didn’t care for the corn. I would have preferred it if I had boiled the corn first to get it tender and moist first before grilling. The Perinaise wasn’t my cup of tea. It was a little thick in taste and texture. In the future if I were to attempt it again, I might add more spices and fresh lemon to the mayo to lighten it up a little more. I ended up eating my peri chips with ketchup. Overall the meal was entirely delicious. The rice was still a hit, I would definitely add more water and a longer time to cook. My husband liked it. I liked it. I definitely didn’t get my kids to try this. This was way too elevated for their peculiar taste buds.

I give this meal 3.5 out of 5 stars, it delivered on the flavor and it was not very complicated to put together. With the modifications discussed I think this could definitely be a five-star meal.  So what’s next on my plate? Umm, at the suggestion of one of the doctor’s at my kid’s dental practice…baked alaska. Interesting right? Yeah, and my oldest son’s birthday is Monday and even though I bought him a traditional store brought cake, I still want to do something special for him. Two cakes for a special kid. So check back to see how my Baked Alaska turns out!

Till next time – Happy Eating  and Be Blessed!

Tameka, A Very Pleasant Mom of 4

#NandosPeriPeriChicken

#Portugueserice

#Kroger

#PortugueseGrilledCorn

#AVeryPleasantLife

#ittastesgood

 

 

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Southern Hamburger Steaks: Homage to My Granny

It’s rainy and cold today, the complete opposite of the beautiful sunny and warm temperatures we were blessed with yesterday. There is nothing that I can think of that would be better right now than a plate of my Granny’s hamburger and gravy. I was hankering for a taste of nostalgia a few days ago when I ran across the Southern Hamburger Steaks with Onion Mushroom Gravy Pin on Pinterest. I gravitated to this recipe because of one of it’s ingredients…something unexpected. Bacon. I was hooked. I’m certain my Granny didn’t have bacon in her burgers but I knew if she were alive, she would appreciate the upgrade. Oh and it also has mushrooms too. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms but I do like them sometimes, it just depends on what it’s accompanying and how it’s cooked. While I’m certain the mushrooms would have been a delicious addition to this meal; I didn’t have any and I wasn’t about to slow myself down for mushrooms considering again that I’m not a big fan. I did have bacon. That worked for me.

The recipe was pretty straightforward – cooked and chopped bacon, ground beef, garlic powder, mushrooms, onions, egg, beef broth, gravy master, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, flour, seasoning salt, olive oil, bread crumbs and water. I didn’t have bread crumbs so I used crushed crackers instead and it worked like a charm.

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The ingredients before hand mixing.

This is a recipe that will require you to get your hands dirty so be prepared to get real up close and personal with your ingredient. The first thing I did was cook the bacon. I pan-fried it so that I could crumble it into the meat. Once the bacon was cooling I mixed together the ground beef, crushed crackers, diced onion, egg and seasonings. Aside from the seasonings used in the recipe I also added some smoked paprika because I love smoked paprika. Once I mixed it all together I added the bacon crumbles last before forming the meat into 8 hamburger steaks/patties.

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The formed hamburger patties dipped into a flour coating.

The next step was ingenious to me – coat both sides of the hamburger patties in flour. I also added some seasoning salt and black pepper to the flour mixture before covering the hamburger patties. Next the olive oil was heated on medium-high heat to pan fry the hamburgers brown on each side.

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The sliced onions carmelizing in the pan drippings.

Once the burgers were brown the patties were set aside while the sliced onions were cooked in the pan drippings with a tablespoon of water. Afterwards the recipe instructs you to mix the beef broth, water, flour, seasoning salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and gravy master until well combined. This will then be poured into the skillet with the onions and stirred until it thickens. Once the gravy begins to bubble the hamburger patties are returned back to the pan to cook on each side for a few minutes. I allowed mine to simmer over a low heat while I prepared the white rice and sautéed spinach that I served with it.

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Finished Product: Southern Hamburgers Steaks with Onions

Two simple bags of white rice were fluffed with a pat of butter and black pepper. The bag of pre-washed spinach was sautéed in bacon fat for a few minutes before I topped it with the bacon crumbles,  a splash of apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. My mouth was watering ridiculously by the time I assembled our plates for dinner. The kids don’t have an appreciation for Classics so they definitely weren’t getting any of this.

This Southern Hamburger recipe was fantastic! There was so much flavor packed into the gravy and the patties. I savored each bite delectably enjoying the next bite more than the last one until it was all gone. This meal was a home run, a touchdown, a victory; yes it was a success. My Granny would have approved and enjoyed this meal too. So I’m giving this recipe a huge thumbs up. I will definitely be cooking this recipe again, the next time I will be sure to get the mushrooms. My husband loves mushrooms so I know he will definitely enjoy it more.

What’s a meal that brings great memories for you? There are a couple of other meals that stand out in my mind that remind me of my childhood instantly – pork chops and applesauce and I can’t forget..spaghetti. I don’t know any kid that doesn’t like spaghetti. My kids love spaghetti. Matter-of-fact that should be coming up on our meal rotation soon. I’m looking forward to hearing what meals bring  back a sense of home for you. Praying your Saturday is all that you want it to be.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,

A Very Pleasant Mom…Tameka

#SouthernHamburger&Gravy

#HomageMeals

#LuvMyGranny

#Pinterest

 

 

 

Happy Spring Break!

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Yay! It’s the first day of Spring Break and I hope you all had a fabulous Easter holiday! No matter where you are in the world, I pray that you had the blessing of experiencing God’s love, the comfort of family and some good food to top it off! To me that is one part of what Easter is about. If you aren’t familiar with the specifics, pick up a Bible (New Testament) and brush yourself up on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the significance in the message and it’s impact on people and maybe even you.

Many an Easter Sunday ago my Granny thought it was important that we (my cousins and I) not only attended church but also showed up in our Easter Sunday best with our tithes and offerings sealed in envelopes ready to hear the message of the miracle and blessing of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I get it now. Even though I missed church today God is alive and He was very much with me and my family today as He is every day. My relationship with God is rock solid so for me Easter is a celebration and remembrance; an opportunity for revival and renewal. I still gave it my Easter Sunday best in the name of Jesus Christ and I think my Granny would have been proud. My dinner came out great (okay there was 1 fail – we will get to that later), my kids had such a great time and my husband loved the food and enjoyed himself. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I remember when it all came together smiling so hard thinking – Jesus you outdid yourself this time!

Picture it…Richmond, Virginia – Easter Sunday. It was a balmy sixty something degrees outside. The sun was shining. The smell of grilled and smoked barbecue perfumed the air. The youngest Pleasants children sped around the cul-de-sac in the girl Pleasants princess carriage pumped up on sugar while the eldest boy Pleasants played(I will not reveal the outcome of the game) father Pleasants in NBA Live. Mother Pleasants sat in her chair satisfied with the outcome.

Okay that’s a brief rundown of my favorite moment of the day. It was a great day and culmination up to Spring Break. I am so looking forward to sleeping in at least 1-2 days if possible. The before school morning routine is crucial. The struggle is real! Let’s just say that we need this break, okay I need this break. The last few months have felt grueling and we’ve had way more tardies than I care to admit but in the sense of my glass is half full theory – a tardy is better than an absence, right? Right. So again, I need this break. We were getting back on track but Spring Break is a great chance to regroup and recommit. We’re always accountable but we still want to improve where we can. So before we can jump into Spring Break I have to share with you the spectacular meal that I made for my family and friends for Easter Sunday.

It took me a few days to finalize a menu but luckily my deep freezer held a few gems that would save me some time and money at the grocery store. My menu was a Smoked Turkey, Roasted Ham, Grilled Pork Loin, Grilled BBQ Chicken, Smoked Beef Brisket, Hot and Spicy Shrimp Dip with French Bread Crostinis, Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Salad with Bacon, Stuffing and Turkey Gravy, Deviled Eggs, Collard Greens with Smoked Ham, Homemade Dinner Rolls, Sweet Potato Pies and Carrot Cake Donuts. We were gifted a delicious pound cake from one of my neighbors that was a nice addition to our spread.

 

Although this feast turned out great there were a few stumbling blocks to overcome. Let’s start with the fact that I started cooking right after a trip to the mall with my kids and then Wal-Mart. You already know both of those tasks can be complicated alone so imagine how tired I was when it was all said and done around 6ish Saturday evening. Still I was in a good mood to start cooking, so I hopped right in my zone by grabbing my Beatz headphones, charging up my phone and setting my Pandora on rotation. Drake radio station is a favorite play list of mine on any given day. I blessed my meal and my hands before I started and delved right into cooking. I finished around 4ish Easter Sunday but that was after a trip to the store, and grooming and dressing the kids.

Starting so late in the game Saturday evening I made several improvisations to my menu to ensure that we would be able to eat at a reasonable time. Initially our plans included going to church but I can’t even lie, when I walked out the store at 10:47am with the last of my ingredients I knew I could rush home, wake the kids, get them fed and dressed, get myself dressed and leave and possibly get to church before it ended. I didn’t think it was impossible but I knew I would be rushing and irritable throughout the entire process. So I continued on with my cooking trusting that God would deliver me the special Easter message I was seeking like so many people walking into churches all over the world. The first task on the list was to cook the bacon for the potato salad so I cooked that in a foiled covered sheet pan. Another game time decision was to do a mock smoking of the Turkey. If you’ve seen my previous post “Diary of an Amateur Smoker” then you know my last attempt at Smoking was not very successful. I made some modifications to my process per my research and determined that I would need a ton of time in order to properly smoke the turkey, brisket and pork loin. So the turkey was going into the oven with what I call I mock Smoking created with a foil packet of lit hickory pellets and placing it in the bottom of the oven underneath the roasting pan. To elevate the smoked hickory flavor I made a compound butter that included liquid hickory smoke , rosemary, smoked paprika, black pepper, seasoned salt, ground thyme and garlic that I used to put beneath the turkey skin. I covered the bird in vegetable oil before seasoning it with the same seasoning blend. With the main meat in the oven I could focus on other tasks.

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On the stove top I began boiling the potatoes and eggs for the potato salad and the elbow pasta noodles for the macaroni. While I waited on those I put together a simple cheese sauce that consisted of Velveeta Cheese, milk and butter for the macaroni and cheese.  The noodles finished first so I finished the macaroni and cheese by buttering the baking dish and mixing the noodles, seasoning, shredded cheeses and finally the cheese sauce. I mixed it all up, covered it in foil and baked it at 350 degrees for an hour. Once the eggs finished boiling I allowed the eggs to cool briefly before preparing the Deviled Eggs. I found a really simple recipe that called for ingredients I had on hand. I did swap out Paprika for Smoked Paprika and I also sprinkled on some parsley for decoration once done.  I was off to a good start and feeling confident about my spread. Next up was the ham. Luckily I had a petite Honey Ham in the deep freezer so I prepared that according to package instructions. I did sprinkle some brown sugar all over the spiral arranged slices in the pan. The ham needed to bake for roughly 30 minutes so I used that time to fix the collard greens. I sautéed onion, minced garlic and smoked ham neckbones in a little canola oil (of course I ran out of olive oil) and then added in a little apple cider vinegar. I let it heat up and then filled the pot up with water. I then added in chicken bouillon cubes and let the water mixture come to a boil before adding in the pre-washed and shredded collard greens.

 

Next up on the list was the sweet potato pies. I put the sweet potatoes in the oven and let them roast for about 45-60 minutes. Imagine my surprise when I went to retrieve 8 lbs of what I presumed to be chicken wing drummettes when I discovered an obvious blunder when I accidentally picked up chicken drumsticks. And not just any chicken legs – the biggest chicken legs that I’ve ever seen in my life. I was frustrated for about 9 minutes. It was after 12am Easter Sunday and I didn’t want to run back to the store for chicken wings. So I opted to prepare one bag and get the wings later. I continued on thawing the chicken legs for grilling. The potatoes had cooled down which meant it was the perfect time to prepare the potato salad. First the potatoes and eggs had to be peeled and then diced. I used a short cut and used my little food processor to chop the boiled eggs, onion, green pepper and celery into small pieces. With the potatoes and eggs diced I seasoned the first layer of the potato salad liberally with smoked paprika, seasoned salt and black pepper. I then added in the chopped vegetables, mayo, a little mustard, sugar, and sweet relish. You’re going to need your muscles to fully integrate the components of the potato salad. Making potato salad takes a lot of fine tuning flavors to get it just right. With all of the standard ingredients mixed in I then added in my bonus – crumbled bacon. Afterwards my potato salad took its rightful place in the refrigerator where it could blend and come together.

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I know you’re probably thinking when is she going to bed. I don’t know what time I went to sleep but it was after I had taken the rolls out of the oven and brushed them with melted butter. I woke up at 4am on the couch covered in my comforter. I was up and back at it in no time. It was still too cold to go out and start the grill and smoker so I finished the sweet potato pies and put together some Easter treat bags, gifts, and cards. I also did some cleaning and began setting up. By 8am the sun was out though it was still cool. I wrapped up in my husband’s jacket and prepped the grill and smoker. The grill was simple and was hot in no time. In effort to save time and ensure doneness I split the chicken legs down the middle to grill. The smoker was a little tricky but I finally bit the bullet and used a little lighter fluid to help ignite the chimney starter. The lighter fluid was what  I needed to get the flame and temperature right. I modified the use of my smoker for only 1 tray versus the 2 so that I could position the water drip tray on top of a tray instead of directly over the coals. This helped tremendously. Once the drip tray was in position I could position the last tray on the middle rack. My brisket was seasoned with the included seasoning package but I also covered the meat with copious amounts of ancho chile powder, cumin and meat tenderizer and wrapped in foil before it was placed on the inside tray

It was definitely time for another unplanned change. Initially the plan was to smoke the pork loin with the brisket but the 1 tray challenge nixed that plan. The bbq chicken grilled quickly so I wrapped that pork loin in foil and placed it on the grill. (FYI the chicken legs were seasoned liberally with chilli powder, seasoned salt, garlic. meat tenderizer, onion powder, smoked paprika and black pepper and lastly coated with Sweet Baby Rays Honey Chipotle BBQ sauce.) A quick store run got me the last ingredients I needed to finish my dinner. The shrimp had thawed so I put together the Shrimp Dip first. A box of Seapak Shrimp Scampi went in a pan over med-high heat  while I diced some of the medium shrimp. After dicing a quarter of the shrimp I opted to leave the rest whole since I had to dice peppers. I used about a quarter of each – red, green and orange peppers and added that to the shrimp. Once the Seapak Scampi was done, it was mixed together along with cream cheese, shredded pepperjack seasoning, Louisiana hot sauce and creole seasoning. I sprinkled parsley all over the top and baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes till it was bubbly and slightly brown on top.

With the Hot and Spicy Shrimp Dip in the oven I could devote my attention to the Stuffing, Turkey Gravy and Carrot Cake donuts. The gravy was simple. I sautéed chopped onions, minced garlic and the turkey neck in butter. I then added 1/4 cup of flour to that and browned it altogether. I had some chicken stock in reserve for another dish so I added that to the flour and stirred it up. Then I added in the Turkey Juice packet included with my turkey and some additional water. I turned the heat up and watched the gravy bubble and thicken. I used the same chopped onion, in addition to celery and sauteed it in butter before adding in chicken stock. After a quick boil the stuffing mixture was added in and voila, I was almost done cooking and in the nick of time because bellies were getting hungry.

The carrot cake donut recipe seemed easy enough though I had my concerns right off the jump. I don’t cook or bake with yogurt a lot so I was concerned about the consistency of the donut. My family loves carrot cake so this was a good opportunity to display a great flavor profile in donut version. I should have quit on the donut when my attempt to crush the pineapple first and lastly matchstick carrots in the blender. The pineapple worked out but the carrots didn’t and I was running out of steam so those matchstick carrots went in regular. I should probably note that I left the standing mixer running while checking my grill and smoker. I may have over mixed my dough too much but the consistency resembled the description on the recipe so I proceeded with caution. I funneled my dough into a gallon zipper storage bag and cut the end off. I piped the dough into a silicone donut mold that had been sprayed with baking spray. The donut molds were baked on top of baking sheets as directed. They had ample time to cool as I had to stop cooking to get my kids bathed and dressed and rather sharply if I have to say so myself.

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When I returned to my kitchen there was very little to prepare. The Easter eggs had been hidden by eldest boy Pleasants who also looked pretty sharp too. I mixed together the pineapple cream cheese frosting to dip the donuts in. I sprinkled some chopped walnuts over a few and kept the others plain in case my husband wanted to try one. At that point I could relax so I watched the kids run around the house looking for Easter eggs that had been hidden so well, that eldest boy Pleasants had forgotten where he had hidden them all. There was much fun and laughter that our family were able to share together. The food was a hit! Okay there was 1 miss that I referenced earlier – the carrot cake donuts. Though they looked fine – they tasted horrible…to me. The kids seemed to enjoy them just fine though. They scarfed them down till I took them off the table after I tasted them. Everything else was on point. The brisket and pork loin were sliced thinly after they had ample rest time and arranged in spirals. The turkey was carved and everything was out and ready to eat. My favorite dish of the evening was definitely the Hot and Spicy Shrimp Dip. It was a perfect combination of cheeses, peppers and shrimp and it went perfect with the Crostinis. The second fave was the brisket – it was flavorful, tender and moist. On the briskets’ heels was the pork loin.

The rolls came out great. They had great texture and were highlighted with a smidge of butter or margarine. The turkey gravy was rich and supple. It went perfectly over the turkey and stuffing. The macaroni and cheese had a creamy consistency that blended well with the melted shredded cheeses. The greens were good but next time I wouldn’t use the pork neckbones because I did’t the pork flavor I was looking for. A surprising hit was the potato salad with crumbeled bacon. It gave the normal potato salad a little punch of salt and texture. There was something for everyone’s individual tastebuds and no one went to bed hungry. By the time that I ate my food and served my husband the first heated slice of Sweet Potato Pie I was ready to retire to my bed to put my feet up.  After eating my own slice of pie, I retreated back to the kitchen for a slice of my neighbor’s pound cake and I’m certain that I dozed off shortly after that.

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I woke up Monday morning around 4am and watched some television, one of my old favorites Real Housewives of Atlanta and a very hilarious Watch What Happens Live with guests Kenya Moore and Michael Rappaport. Once filled of my Shameful TV fix I found my way downstairs to my desk to start working on this blog and breakfast. Yes I forgot to get breakfast for the kiddos on the first day of Spring Break. They could eat cereal but only 3 of 4 kids will truly eat cereal. So I whipped my Super Mom cape out and managed to throw together Link Sausages, Wildberry Muffins, Mini Pancake Bites (Plain, Cinnamon, Pineapple, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip and Sprinkle) Strawberries and Orange Slices.

 

I started working on this post around 6am this morning, it’s 12:49pm and I’m on my way back to bed for a couple of hours till I have to do something fun with the kids. Can’t forget it’s Spring Break – Day 1. Hope your Spring Break started with a bang, mine’s did. In a day or so I’ll have my full write up of each Pinterest inspired recipe under my She Tried It board.

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…. be blessed and be a blessing!

Peace and Blessings,

A Very Pleasants Mom

#SpringBreak

#HappyEaster

#familygoals

#EasterSunday

 

Debunking the Recipe: Original Panda Express Orange Chicken

It’s been 16 days since my last post. I’m so ashamed. To the few of you who have graciously followed my blog, please accept my apologies yet again. If it’s one thing I have been trying to build – is consistency. I truly enjoy doing this, and even more so when I can see the fruits of my labor being the page views, likes and Comments. When I can create engagement on various topics it brings a sense of validation and reward for all of the hours spent crafting this blog. Yes there is a lot of time and work that must go into this even as a newbie or beginner.

In the meantime I haven’t cooked much at home lately. I’ve had a lot of things to do personally for my household in the last couple of weeks that have dominated my time which means we’ve eaten a lot of take-out or fast food. Out of ideas and a little disappointed with some of the food selections I found my next dinner idea on Pinterest as usual. There was another video by http://www.tasty.co for a Panda Express inspired Orange Chicken. If you remember a couple of blog posts back I debunked General Tso Chicken, a family favorite. So Orange Chicken is the next best thing that all of my family members like collectively. I was thrilled to see this video and find the recipe. I thought that this would be a great follow-up to the General Tso recipe that came out great! So mind you I was going into this confidently. How much harder could this be?

Upon review of the video and recipe I was slightly surprised by the wet batter the recipe uses to batter the chicken thigh chunks. I was intrigued to see the difference because one of the good things about a good General Tso or Orange Chicken is a good base fry on your chicken. If the chicken is fried crispy enough even the saturation of the sauce won’t soften the coating too much. It will coat it instead like a smooth glaze. But back to the Orange Chicken. The recipe is pretty straight forward. There are two different ingredient lists, one for the chicken and another for the orange sauce. I actually had everything on the list on hand with the exception of the boneless skinless chicken thighs because I cook those a lot.

Step 1 instructs you to cut the boneless skinless chicken thighs into 1×1 inch cubes and set aside. Simple. I would also suggest to trim off any extra skin, muscle or bone that might have been left on by the butcher. The picture below shows the excess skin and fragments I cut off my chicken cubes.

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Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Cut Into cubes. The bowl has the excess skin and muscle removed from the cubes.

Once the chicken is cubed the wet batter is prepared by combining the dry ingredients first and then incorporating the egg, water and oil. The recipe even suggests that you aim for the consistency of pancake batter. Easy enough.

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The wet batter with a pancake batter consistency.

Step 4 is where you add the chicken cubes to the batter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime I heated vegetable oil in a small pan to fry the chicken cubes. I wanted to use my Wok to make my Orange sauce although the recipe instructs you to use the wok or a heavy bottom pan to fry in. The oil temperature should reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit before it is ready to fry. The recipe recommends cooking the chicken for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden brown. Personally 5-6 minutes was still a little light, so I probably cooked mine for almost 9 minutes before I pulled them. They looked liked Chicken Tempura or the base of sweet and sour chicken. With the first part of my dish being complete I began heating up vegetable oil in the wok to make the orange sauce and I made a huge mistake of heating my oil up too hot too quickly. When I added in the ginger, garlic and pepper flakes it burned quickly and blackened in the pan. I had to scrap it and start over at a lower temperature to get the mixture “shimmered” as the recipe instructs. Next the sugars are incorporated and then the orange juice. Once dissolved there is vinegar and soy sauce added before lastly adding in the cornstarch and water. (Tip – if the cornstarch and water mixture hardens, a couple of drops of water will loosen it to liquid form). It took a few minutes of cooking while stirring and increasing the heat to get the syrup like texture but once it was to my liking I added in the fried chicken cubes and stirred it until it was all covered in the Orange Sauce. The recipe’s 16th step instructs to top with sesame oil. I omitted this step because of my husband’s allergy to nuts and seeds.

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The fried chicken cubes.

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The finished Orange Chicken.

 

 

 

 

With the Orange Chicken finished I also upped the ante a bit when I also prepared Panda Express style Chow Mein Noodles to accompany the chicken. I’ll have to share that recipe another time but here’s a pic of it till then. Of course I added shrimp to my version.

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Overall my family liked the Orange Chicken. That means it was okay and I would have to agree because when my family loves something – they loooovvvveeee it! This was mildly okay. The orange flavor was their though I would double the sauce as it was a little skimpy. I might have fried more than 2 lbs of chicken cubes though. Also, I am not a fan of the wet batter effect. I probably would opt to fry the chicken a lot longer if I use the wet batter because some pieces tasted a little soft and almost mushy with the orange sauce covering it. All around I would use the dry batter to fry and keep the sauce the same. This was still a hit though because we all ate it and enjoyed it. The Chow Mein was the star of the night with the sautéed cabbage, onion and garlic and soy sauce mix. This version was better than Panda Express if I have to say so myself.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the Orange Chicken a 6. If the texture of the breading was to my liking I would have given it a 8. I followed this recipe closely and thought that it could have used more orange flavor. Maybe the zest of an orange rind might deepen the citrus flavor. I will definitely give this recipe a second try with the modifications described because this is always a great alternative to the fan favorite, General Tso.

And there you have it folks, another recipe debunked! What do you think? Check out the recipe and give it your best shot! I’d love to know how yours turned out! So check this out, upon review of the website they have a different recipe for Orange Chicken that calls for orange zest and rice vinegar. That one sounds like an elevated version of this one. Good information to have so you can make the choice of which Orange Chicken you’d prefer.

Happy Eating!

Happy Spring!

Happy Friday Eve!

I’ll stop now!

Peace and Blessings,

Future Chef Mek

#OrangeChicken

#PandaExpress

#Tasty.co

#DebunkingtheRecipe

#averypleasantlife

Original Panda Express Orange Chicken

 

 

 

 

Diary of an Amateur Smoker pt. 1

How many tries does it take to master the wonderful world of “Smoking” food? I’m not sure yet because clearly I still haven’t mastered it. I’m a stickler for figuring things out  especially when it interests me, then I’m subject to give my failed attempt another try until I have mastered whatever it is I’m working on. Then there are those things that fall to the wayside when they don’t go right. Who has time for that?

Yet I am a self-proclaimed and self-taught “Grill Master”. I’ve been doing my grilling thing for many years now. I love grilling! I love grilled food! In a lot of families the men are the “Grill Master” or King of the Grill but in my family, women have been Queens of the Grill for years, and so now I have stepped into my position. The title wasn’t given to me, I’ve worked hard to gain that much confidence behind the grill and in the kitchen. I love the fact that my husband loves my grilling ways. He is completely cool with me doing it, plus it’s going to be good…every time. Yes, I’m that good. But even though I’m very skilled at grilling everything from pizza’s to whole chickens indoors or outdoors, I have little experience smoking (I want to laugh everytime I think of smoking…I’m talking about food in case anybody else got lost, lol). I have used foil packs of wood chips in the oven or on the grill before) but I’ve never owned or used a device or machine that was made mostly or solely to smoke food.

Lucky me I shop at Wal-Mart way too much so I stumbled upon the Expert Grill Smoker for $35.00. It was a score before I even realized that I could also grill on it too, hence saving me money from buying that second charcoal grill I intended to get. I was stoked because I’ve been wanting one for a while but between you and me, I’ve been holding out with the hopes of being able to buy the super nice expensive model first. I have visions of grandeur that I’m coping with every day. So when I came back to reality it was a great idea to pick up the smoker because it was a small investment to try something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. The smoker in its box at my patio door for two days before I finally put it together while my oldest son hibernated. He was supposed to help me but of course he was fast asleep in his room when I was finally ready to start. I’m a self-starter though, I get shit done. So I managed to put the smoker together rather easily once I realized I had put it together upside down at first. Once everything was right side up, the smoker was together and ready to go.

Being the constant professional because I believe if you’re going to do something, do it right. Go hard or go home. You get where I’m going with this? I had also picked up my hickory pellets and charcoal. It was smoking time! While my box had rested on the floor I thawed a pork butt and brined it for about 15 hours. With the smoker upright and ready to smoke, I pat dry my pork butt and massaged yellow mustard all over it. Once covered in mustard I then rubbed my dry rub mixture all over the pork butt.

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The pork butt covered in yellow mustard. The soaked wood pellets are in the bowl next to it.

With the pork butt ready it was time to find a You Tube video to help me. Help is always good. I found a great video from a guy who I won’t name because maybe he’s not as good as he thinks. (LOL) The video instructed me to dump my charcoal in my smoker bottom and then saturate with lighter fluid. Once covered in fluid, allow the charcoal to rest for 15 minutes before saturating yet again with lighter fluid. After that I lit my coals with a match and watched the blaze begin. It didn’t take long for the fire to enrapture the smoker. In the meantime I soaked my wood pellets in water.

The video then instructs you to let the fire burn for about 15 minutes while the coals heat up and start turning white. With the flame tamed, I then set up my water bowl, filled it with a little less than a gallon of water and then arranged my racks inside the smoker. I still allowed it additional time to come to temperature with the vent open on top and the door open. I was sure that I was cooking…with charcoal that is and I was becoming more pumped to see how it would all come together. An initial read on the thermostat confirmed my smoker was too hot at 300 degrees so I closed it up for a bit to try to bring the temperature down. My temperature gauge hadn’t moved and was stuck at the first line but my coals looked hot and ready to go. I second guessed myself and went ahead and put my pork butt on the middle rack.

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In the process of preparing for the smoking process I had discovered some pork rib tips in my deep freezer. I had thawed those out and seasoned those to smoke above the pork butt on the top rack. With the ribs in place I closed the smoker up and ran back inside to escape the cold frigid air. I positioned my smoker at the base of my deck so I could watch it from my kitchen window as I cooked. That placed had proved to be perfect for my last grill. I watched intently from the window as the smoke bellowed out thickly at first before it barely looked like it was any smoke coming out of the vent at all. Mind you only an hour or so had passed and it looked like my coals were quitting on the job. I couldn’t resist the urge to peak so I ran outside to check it and it was confirmed the coals had been extinguished when I accidentally went overboard covering them in the wet wood pellets. Doh! I felt like Homer Simpson as I dismantled the smoker layer by layer.

I was back at square one. With a smoker full of fresh charcoal and significantly less wet wood pellets I was ready to try my hand at the “smoking” process again. Even though it was kick ass cold I stood my ground and re-lit that fire, paced the process, step by step till I was satisfied with the whitening coals. With the smoker fully loaded again I retreated back to my kitchen window as I watched with satisfaction as the smoker puffed away. It was late at this point and I had guestimated that my pork butt would be ready around 3 am. Even though I hadn’t coined the thought of “cooking to temperature” as Michael Simon taught us today on “The Chew” I had long considered that you have to cook food according to your own taste. Times are meant to be suggested time frames not etched in stone directions that could cause you to flop your dish. There are lots of other factors that influence cooking times but I think Michael Simon hit the nail on the head when he urged people to cook to temperature over time when cooking meats. With that being said I figured I had plenty of time, my little fiasco with the flame that went away had slowed me down and set me back. Even though I wasn’t in a rush to finish I was still eager to finish it. So I laid down.

I went to sleep. Deep sleep that is. The kind of sleep that ignores your husband’s inquiries to check on the food. I vaguely remember mumbling that it would be alright before turning over and going back to sleep. When I did wake up it was 6:30am, the time I usually awake and begin procrastinating to get up to start the morning routine. I jumped right up though knowing full well that I should have checked my pork fest hours ago and was worried that it was dry and ruined. Can you imagine my horror and relief when I saw my pork butt had clearly stopped cooking hours ago and was now cold and undone. The rib tips had even fared better on the top tray but were also not done. It was time for the “texas cheat” if I’m correct. I set my trusty oven to 250 degrees and finished both in the oven. It still took the pork butt hours to get it to the 200 degree internal temperature time recommended.

I was worried though. As I waited for my pork butt to finish in the oven I was miffed and began trying to research how to make my second attempt a successful one at smoking my food to completion. I had learned a lot over the time period and had begun to worry if I might have made a boo boo when I used lighter fluid to light my charcoal at the suggestion of the original video I watched. Supposedly you could cause your food to have a really bad taste caused by the lighter fluid. It was too late to turn back so I was hoping for the best.

I was definitely content that it was finally finished that I had almost started pulling the pork before I had let the pork butt rest. And on top of that I moved so fast I didn’t take a picture of that beautiful pork butt when it was completely finished from the oven.

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With a fully rested brined and smoked pork butt I was ready to pull. The bone of the pork butt slid out with ease. It was so tender I couldn’t help eating as I pulled and discarded fat or muscle. I basted the pulled pork with its own juices. When the pork was finally done I had boiled a couple of bags of white rice to go along with the bbq rib tips and pulled pork and made a simple side salad. Surprisingly it was all very delicious and there was no taste of lighter fluid at all. There was a good amount of smoke flavor in the ribs and pulled pork, plus it was all very tender and juicy. Even though my food still came out edible and tasty I am still slightly disappointed that I wasn’t able to complete it using the smoker.

After further research I found out that I should remove the legs from my smoker as the gap beneath the smoker was causing air issues that could have also helped to extinguish my heat. I think I’ve also learned less is more. I won’t go bananas with the wet wood pellets in the future. And even though I couldn’t detect the lighter fluid in my food I definitely don’t want to risk having that happen either. I purchased a chimney starter as well that would allow me to light my coals easily with paper and then transfer the heated coals to my grill or smoker. I’m ready for my next attempt. I think. And I know that even if for some reason my smoker should quit on me too soon I’ll just finish it in the oven. No sweat off my back. Dinner is still served.

Day 2

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As fresh as I could be off of maybe 6 hours sleep and a belly full of my delicious pulled porkand rib tips I perused over my news feed as I did many times a day trying my best to stay “woke”. Next to Twitter where I first saw the horrible image that was represented as world-famous “Brooklyn BBQ” that was supposed to be claiming notoriety one slab of boring brisket at a time. Then back to my news feed where I saw an article about the Republished story from Vice.com that was taunting people all over the world and causing a serious debate about BBQ. Personally I was disgusted, even my non-“smoking” ass could put together a BBQ plate that would put this reported world-class BBQ to shame. Sidebar – I really don’t care. I was going to make additional sides anyway but it definitely felt like a good opportunity to show off my cooking skills. My husband had suggested that I make jalapeno mac and cheese to go with it. There’s a spot here that we frequent that makes a good one sometimes. What the heck? It was definitely worth a shot. I scouted out some inspirational recipes and formulated my own with ingredients that my family would like. I even decided to add crumbled crispy bacon to take it to the next level.

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There’s no way you can have BBQ, jalapeno mac and cheese, and not have any cornbread! It was just my luck that I had the perfect recipe that I was dying to make again. Y’all at this point I was ready to short cut my dinner and get a can of collard greens…but I couldn’t. It was not going to be the best compliment to the flavors that I had already worked so hard to achieve. I couldn’t turn back now. I would have to make a pot of fresh collard greens. Yep, and I couldn’t forget the cole slaw. What is pulled pork without cole slaw? Again my plate was full but I could almost taste it as I dreamed. The next five hours or so was devoted to crafting the rest of my take on a Southern BBQ plate. If it was summer I would probably have made some potato salad too. Either way it all looked and tasted so good. It was a lot of work and there is still a lot to be learned but even though my smoking attempt was a failure, my dinner was still the winner. Literally in the un-heat of adversity I was still able to garner the smoke flavor and tenderness that the low and slow cooking process is supposed to ensure.

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This is my take minus the cole slaw…I might have taken the picture before I put it on the plate. 

 

I can’t wait for Spring. With warmer weather I’ll be practically living in my back yard till I master the Art of Smoking…food that is. So check back for my next edition of Diary of an Amateur Smoker. I’m just getting started!

Happy Grubbing!

Amateur Smoker Mek

#AmateurSmoker

#GrillMaster

#BBQ

#BrooklynBBQ

#realBBQ

Jokes…Why Is Brooklyn BBQ Taking Over the World?

Get Your $35 Smoker from Wal-Mart

 

 

 

 

 

Debunking the Recipe: Easy General Tso’s Chicken

Happy Friday! It feels like it’s been forever since I updated my blog. Building consistency is a key to me breaking certain habits and forming a process and procedures for my days. Please continue to have patience with me as I lay the brick and mortar of what I hope to be my empire . But let’s get right to it.

If you don’t already know, there are 7 people in my house that ages range from 4-71 so you already know the tastes and likes vary. While there is much individuality to be had when it comes to likes and dislikes there is one thing my entire family shares in common – their love of Chinese food. The one thing we can all agree on at any time is General Tso’s Chicken! The adults like it traditionally over rice, and the kids like it over Lo Mein noodles. Lunch and dinner trips to Hunan East, a local family favorite is always a great opportunity to fill our plates up with mounds and mounds of General Tso’s. Hunan’s is perfect, it’s not too sweet, or too spicy. The chicken is delicious and crispy and the sauce is like the perfect glaze coating. Now keep in mind Hunan East is a treat for my family because it’s not really convenient to our home so it’s truly a special treat when we do get it.

The second runner-up isn’t actually General Tso’s, it’s the Orange Chicken at Panda Express. It’s the next closest thing aside from Sesame Chicken (my husband can’t eat it because of his allergy to sesame) to Tso’s when it comes to my family. The one thing I like about Panda Express is that I can get a ton of it, for less than what the Chinese Food will end up costing for everything separately.

But then there are those days when I don’t want to travel for Hunan or Panda, so those are the days when a trip to my deep freezer will solve the problem. A family pack of boneless chicken thighs is the start to any General Tso’s. I have attempted General Tso’s before but it lacked the flavor or the consistency of the glaze. It was always something amiss. I even made it with the pre-made store-bought General Tso’s sauce and I still didn’t think it was close to authentic or restaurant quality. Let’s not forget those times I just say screw it and covered it with Chili sauce which proved to be okay but not the General Tso’s flavor we loved.

This is one of the first recipes that I didn’t actually find on Pinterest yet I still pinned it to my She Tried It board so that folks could pull the recipe for their own attempts. I went looking for one when I was trying to figure out what we were going to eat for dinner. I get tired of making sometimes two meals a night. Or supervising two meals a night being made when the kids prepare their own meals. It’s more work, time and mess for that matter. So the days when we can all eat and enjoy the same thing, it’s a truly win win situation. I remembered that I had picked up two family packs of boneless chicken thighs at great prices. I thawed one and set out to make a really classy General Tso’s. I thumbed through multiple recipes, reviewing ingredients and steps before deciding on the General Tso’s Chicken recipe from http://www.dinnerthedessert.com . 12 ingredients is all you need including the chicken thighs. Simple enough right?

This recipe instructions begin suggest tossing the cut up boneless chicken thighs with the 1/4 cup of cornstarch. The ingredients do call for 1 lb of chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks. So please don’t skip this step, although I saw Jeff on “The Kitchen” make a General Tso’s chicken sandwich that looked delicious. I cut up my chicken thighs into 1 inch chunks keeping the pieces as uniform as possible and tossed the chicken as directed with the cornstarch. So far, pretty easy.

Step 2 directs you to mix the sauce together with a whisk. Sauce doesn’t go far so I made a decision to double my recipe, I wanted my General Tso’s to be completely covered in deliciousness. I then set the sauce aside to begin frying the chicken chunks. Once all of the chicken chunks were crispy brown goodness I pulled out my trusty Wok and turned the heat up to Medium High. I fried my chicken in a different pan though the recipe will instruct you to do it all in the same pan. With my oil heating in the Wok, I added the garlic, chili flake and ginger (I keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge) to the pan it popped like crazy all over the place even popping me in the arm. Once I had soothed my ouchie I tossed my fried chicken chunks into the Wok and coated it in the mixture a few times before pouring in the sauce in small amounts while stirring and mixing the chicken chunks. When the sauce hit the heat I could see the glaze forming as I tossed and poured it over the chicken. I poured my entire bowl of the doubled sauce in the pan and it came out looking better than the restaurant Tso’s I’ve gotten at some restaurants. It smelled delicious too. Now some of us like the ginger and garlic, we don’t like too much of it. At times it can be overpowering. Making it allowed me to control how much of it I actually wanted to use and it was as close to perfect as we all agreed.

I did it! Authentic General Tso’s from the comfort of my own home and it was delicious and EASY!! This is my new go to recipe whenever that craving creeps up on us and I’m so glad that I can share it with you and your family. I try to take pictures of the ingredients and the food throughout the process. There’s been a lot going on in my house with the kids getting over the flu and stomach viruses so I don’t have a pretty frills picture that was prepped and dressed up. I do have a picture of the final product and I promise to be more detailed next time!

 

IMG_20180227_215447.jpgIt’s Friday night, who’s feeling like Chinese? Forget take out and give it a shot, let me know how it came out and show me your best shot! You can find this recipe and some other great recipes that I’ve tried under my She Tried It board on Pinterest.

Happy Grubbing and Have a Great Weekend!

Momma Mek

#DebunkingtheRecipe

#GeneralTso’sChicken

#Pinterest

#SheTriedIt

#ChineseTakeoutatHome

 

Debunking the Recipe: Rainbow Pop Tarts

 

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Rainbow Pop Tarts Courtesy of Tastemde.com

This post is so late but that’s the way the cookie crumbles when you have 3 sick kids at home battling the flu…so I’ll keep this short because MomLife calls. Even though I’m posting this today I actually made the Rainbow Pop Tarts turned Galaxy Pop Tarts on Tuesday morning. At that point I only had 1 sick child at home and he didn’t even get to actually taste it until the following day when he could stomach eating and keeping down solid foods. This was about a two-day process for me overall. If you didn’t know I’m not the most confident or comfortable baker but I’m learning and getting better all the time. I made the dough the first day. Then I cut them out and prepared them the following day.

Mind you this was the second Pop Tart recipe that I’ve seen on Pinterest that piqued my interest. I have a Brown Sugar Pop Tart pin that I’ve been dying to try as Kroger Brown Sugar Breakfast Tarts are a norm around my house in the mornings. We switch it up often with things like muffins, waffles, or those grand mornings that I make mountains of pancakes and sausage links. Typical mornings make the Pop Tarts grab and go, if they don’t finish them – they will bag it up and take it for their snack at school. As you can see a large portion of my grocery bill is devoted to Pop Tarts alone…Brown Sugar one’s that is. Clearly I should have made the Brown Sugar Pop Tarts first but I’m a sucker for fun colors and sprinkles just like my children.

The only thing I had to purchase to accommodate this recipe was strawberry jam. That’s always a plus. I didn’t have all of the food colorings but I made do with what I had which was red, purple, green, and blue. I made a pink food coloring by mixing red and white. The recipe I followed is a treat served up by http://www.tastemade.com .

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The prepared dough that I sectioned into two parts.

The pop tart dough was very easy and it wasn’t intimidating. My standing mixer using my paddle attachment made blending the dough very easy. It came together as instructed as I poured the cold water into the flour and butter mixture. Don’t be afraid to use more water if you have to. The recipe calls for 1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water. I ended up using a little more to help the dough come together. I kept my speed slow on my mixer as I didn’t want to over mix the dough. Once the dough had formed into a ball I broke it into 6 sections. Opting to use the food coloring I had on hand I only had 5 colors. I decided to leave the 6th section natural because my creativity was running low on color combinations to create. Now this is where the name change comes into play.

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The Galaxy Pop Tarts going into the oven.

I learned a valuable lesson in food coloring trying to create these rainbow-colored treats. The type of food coloring I had is a water based food coloring that is generally good for most projects, however gel food coloring usually have corn syrup or glycerin base allowing for a more intense color with less coloring to use. I used so much food coloring and still didn’t achieve the levels of coloring I was looking for. As you can see in the video the dough is consistently blended. My colors blended together for a galaxy color combination more so than a rainbow. I didn’t let that deter me though, as long as the dough had a good taste to it I was okay with the outcome. I should also warn you to use gloves. I did not and it look liked I butchered a whole cow and then some on the palms of my hands for at least 30 hours. It took a couple of showers and many hand washes to remove the discoloration from my hands completely. There is still some coloring under my nail bed that my purple nail polish is concealing. I’m looking forward to acquiring a collection of gel food colors that will help me achieve the colors I set out to get.

Nevertheless I forged on and followed the instructions, rolling out the dough and cutting the tarts out. I put a sizeable dollop of strawberry jam on the half side or the pocket before folding over to seal and close the ends with a fork. The recipe calls for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. I pulled mine around 15 minutes as I didn’t want them to burn. I transferred the first batch to a wired rack to cool and rolled and cut out the rest. I even got fancy and used the heart shape cookie cutter and made 3 heart shape Pop Tarts for my youngest babies. All in all I believe I ended up with almost 12 pop tarts.

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The finished Galaxy Pop Tarts adorned with Stars!

The frosting was way easier to make. At first taste thought it was too much vanilla, so I added in more whipped cream and confectioner’s sugar until it was sweeter. Satisfied with the taste I spooned the glaze over each pop tart. I let the first layer cool and then I spooned a second layer of glaze over each one before finally finishing them with the rainbow sprinkles and yellow and blue sanding sugars. Finally with the finished product and no one to try it – my son was sick and couldn’t eat, I decided to jump in and take the first bite. It was good. The crust was flaky and crispy, the jam was warm, sweet with a tart bite. The glaze was the perfect touch of cream to the fruit and crust. This was no Pop Tart! This was a fruit pie! Immediately I had dreams of an adult pop tart that mimicked the Strawberry and Cream Pie that McDonald’s sells sometimes. Oh my gosh, my husband and I ate so many of those pies. It didn’t give me the nostalgic pop tart taste but it definitely was an inspired upgrade to the childhood favorite that my children love. My son Cassius loved it, Praise took a bite out of it and was not impressed. My oldest liked it. He didn’t get the pop tart vibe either but he thought it was okay. My husband took a kindhearted bite and a sweet nod. He didn’t like them either but he was too sweet to say it. I was waiting on King to confirm whether it was a hit or not.

A day and a half later he was anxious to try it. They had been in the fridge and needed warming up in the microwave. He took the bite and his smile faded. He didn’t like it. He wanted his normal Brown Sugar Pop Tarts. I was crushed slightly. I had high hopes for the Rainbow turned Galaxy Pop Tarts. I know I ate like 6 of them in total so they definitely didn’t go to waste and who knows one day I may try that Brown Sugar Pop Tart Pin. Kudos to tastemade.com for an easy and delicious recipe!

With so many great Pins of recipes out there it’s getting harder and harder to choose the next recipe. I hope you all liked this one, it’s a pretty straight forward recipe! I liked the simpleness of the instructions and the ingredients. I still think the Pop Tart had great fruit flavor like a delicious Fruit Pie so don’t hesitate to give this recipe a try! It has been debunked!!!

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe and Stay Blessed,

A Very Pleasant Mom of 4

#DebunkingtheRecipe

#RainbowPopTarts

#GalaxyPopTarts

#Pinterest

#AVeryPleasantLife

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