Monday, February 22, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Torte

Hope everyone had a su-weeeeeeeet weekend!!!! Mine was just lovely. I had family over for dinner Saturday night & I made this for dessert. I found it in one of my magazines & knew I had to make it. It was too pretty not to! 

I made a few changes to it, making it even easier & also a bit healthier too. Everyone really loved it. As always, the original recipe is right here, just see my notes for changes I made. This is definitely a must make again!!!!! 

Since I didn't use the semi sweet chocolate at all, I am thinking I need to change the name to chocolate pudding torte.....nah!


Click for Printable Recipe

37 (approx) Nilla wafers
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate, divided
2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. cold milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided (I used Free)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh raspberries

Stand 16 wafers (approx) around inside edge of 9-inch round pan lined with plastic wrap. Melt 3 chocolate squares as directed on package. Beat pudding mixes & 2 cups milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Stir in 1 cup cool whip; pour into prepared pan. Beat cream cheese, sugar & remaining milk with mixer until well blended. Stir in 1 cup of the remaining cool whip; spread over pudding. Top with remaining wafers. Refrigerate 3 hours.

{ don't do what I did & try to squeeze pieces of wafers in between. there's no reason to }

Invert torte onto plate. Remove pan & plastic wrap.

 Top torte with remaining cool whip, berries & chocolate curls.

 { not the most perfect slice in pictures but it was perfectly heavenly }

{ Food for Thought }

I recommend spraying your pan with just a little cooking spray. Maybe this will help the plastic wrap to stay in place.

I used sugar free pudding since some family members are diabetic & it was wonderful. Just remember that sugar free pkgs will have less volume than the regular. I only used 2 pkgs regardless. I suggest just following the directions on the package if you’re using sugar free. Buy 3 pkgs but start with 2. Then pour in what you need, leaving room for the cream cheese mixture as well as the final cool whip.

I also didn’t bother adding the melted 3 squares of chocolate & probably won’t next time either. One final note is I just grated some chocolate rather than making curls.

{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays }

Friday, February 12, 2010

Marinated Shrimp with Olives

Many posts today will be filled with lots of eye candy & sugary delights for Valentine's Day. I guess I'll be the rebel. That's exciting. Or I can tell the truth which is my sweet offerings were a big flop last night. I tried making these mascarpone mini cupcakes with strawberry glaze from Giada's cookbook.

While the taste was right on, the tops separated from the bottom of the cupcake, even after I cooled them a bit. Apparently, from all the reviews, it happened to quite a few people. Maybe they were too top heavy??? As for the glaze, it had potential. I'll have to modify & try again sometime.

Anyway, I bring you some eye candy in the way of a gorgeous appetizer that is so easy to prepare,  delicious & looks beautiful on the table! I made it for my Dad's birthday dinner along with the Spinach Ricotta Rounds & he was pleased!


{ Printable Recipe Here }

2 lbs cooked medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 medium red onion, sliced & separated into rings
2 medium lemons, cut into slices
1 cup pitted ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup Olive Oil or Canola Oil
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tblsp lemon juice
3 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp pepper

In a 3-qt. glass serving bowl, combine the shrimp, onion, lemons & olives. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Pour over shrimp mixture & stir gently to coat. Cover & refrigerate for up to 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf before serving. Yield: 14 servings.

{ Food for Thought }

The original recipe stated to marinate up to 24 hours. I was very surprised by this since seafood marinated in any kind of acidity from citrus or vinegar will destroy its texture. I have done it before & ruined food because the texture is awful. Be on the safe side & only marinate for 4-6 hours. Also, I usually leave the tail on for  shrimp appetizers but since this is mixed with onions & olives I should have taken the tail off for easier eating. 

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Since Valentine's Day is around the corner I had to share some sweetness with you. Meet my little guy Tristan's friend Emily. They have been friends since they were crawling together. If you think this is cute....

{ birthday party at Disney Fort Wilderness }

Check out their front side...

{ Christmas parade in town }

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Roast

My Dad requested pork for his 69th birthday dinner. I researched quite a few recipes thinking of combining bits & pieces of each, until I saw this one by Giada. It had 200 reviews & a 5 star rating. I get why!!!!!

This was so easy to prepare as I got it ready the day before & just popped it in the oven the day of. And talk about delicious! The pancetta, an Italian bacon,  gives such a nice flavor & the pan juices are perfect for serving with mashed potatoes. You don't have to worry about making a thick sauce after the roast is done.

This is perfect for a special dinner or even just a weekend night at home with the family. I loved it & can't wait to make it again. Leftovers can easily be used for some cuban sandwiches. Just see my notes as usual for modifications!


{ Printable Recipe Here }

6-8 large garlic cloves
1 tblspn finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tblspn finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tblspn olive oil
1 (3 1/2 to 4 lb) tied boneless pork loin roast *
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
4-6 ounces sliced pancetta *
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dry white wine

Blend the garlic, rosemary, thyme & oil in a small food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the garlic is minced. Sprinkle the pork roast generously with salt & pepper. Spread the garlic mixture all over the pork, including the bottom. 

Overlap slices of the pancetta all over the top & part of the sides of the pork. Place the pork in a roasting pan. Cover & refrigerate at least 1 hour & up to 1 day.

Take your pork out 1 hour before you plan to place in oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour 1/2 cup of broth & 1/2 cup of wine into the roasting pan. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.

Add more broth & wine to the pan juices every 20 minutes. Roast the pork until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 140 degrees, about 45 min - 1 hour.* Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil & let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the pan drippings into a glass measuring cup & spoon off any fat that rises to the top.

Using a large sharp carving knife, cut the pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices & serve with the pan juices.

{ Food for Thought }

Buy center cut pork loin. It is one thick uniform piece with no need for tying. Fresh Rosemary & Thyme are best for this. Pancetta can be found fresh at your deli. Just ask for it to be sliced thin.

Please invest in a meat thermometer. The last thing you want is overdone pork. The one shown is a leave in thermometer for less than $10. You need to take the pork out when it reaches 140 because the temp will rise & it will continue to cook. 

One last thought ~ don't slice all of your pork when serving. If you have leftovers, it is best to keep it whole when storing it in the fridge to keep it from drying out!!!!!!!!

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And if you're looking for the perfect appetizer to go with this meal, these Spinach Ricotta Rounds are outrageous. I've made them before but when I made them again for my Dad's birthday, I made the process even easier so I went back to modify the recipe. My Mom & Dad loved these. They are definitely a favorite now!

Spinach Ricotta Rounds

I am linking deliciously to Lisa at Blessed with Grace
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Apple Dumplings

My Dad's birthday dinner was a success & I think he felt very special!!!! I am looking forward to sharing the incredible main course with you on Friday. 

For dessert, I made these apple dumplings along with some key lime pie. I'll take these delicious dumplings over apple pie any time! I made a variation of these a long time ago but without the intriguing addition of soda so when I saw this version from a fellow blogger I knew I had to make it. I'm not a soda drinker but couldn't wait to see the effects of adding it. The soda thickens & adds a sweet gooeyness you gotta love.

I will be making these often, especially since they are incredibly easy.

You gotta try 'em!!!!

 { Pictures show a halved recipe }


{ Printable Recipe Here }

2 pkgs Crescent Rolls
2 large Granny Smith apples
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tblsp cinnamon
1 12oz can Mountain Dew or Sprite

Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Peel & slice each apples into 8 slices. Roll each apple slice in one section of crescent roll. Place rolled slices into greased dish.

Melt butter. Add cinnamon & sugar & lightly mix. Pour mixture over apples. Pour can of Mountain Dew over all.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

{ Food for Thought }

You can probably get away with 1 cup of sugar but use your judgement. The mixture is also very thick so you actually don't pour it as much as you place some over each apple.

The 2nd time I made these I decided to put them under the broiler for just 1 minute to get browner. It also made a nice crunchy texture on top. Hubs didn't like it that way but I did. Up to you!