Recent Recipes

Cake and Chicken


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Sup, Broccolis? It has been some week. I've had essentially two blog posts ready to go, but since I've been running full throttle without time to blog, we'll do a twofer. Before we get going, let me spill some of my personal beans.
AmeriCorps VISTA positions are contracted for one full year. When I first applied, I thought I would just do a year and then go to grad school. Well, once I got started and life kept happening, I decided another year or two in AmeriCorps would be a good thing for me. I applied for Teach for America, an AmeriCorps program that places volunteers in low income schools as teachers for two year increments. I do not have enough good things to say about the program, and would encourage anyone with a love of teaching to check it out and apply.
Due to my VISTA contract and TFA's time line, I opted to apply in the very last application tier. Applications were due February 19th, and decisions regarding progression in the application process were made public on March 2nd.
Unfortunately for me, I did not progress in the application process and, in essence, went back to the drawing board. I'm still planning to do another year of service somewhere, and am currently working on another AmeriCorps application.
Now, I can't say that not making TFA didn't bum me out. Of course it did. Luckily for my coworkers, my celebration methods are not dissimilar to my mourning methods. I made a cake. A blackberry swirl almond sour cream cake with my grandma's secret frosting recipe and shaved chocolate on top. Yes ma'am. Here is the cake, unfrosted:

Pretty, right? I should mention here that my favorite kind of cake is yellow and chocolate marble cake, and I would be lying if I said the aesthetics didn't play a part in that.
The recipe is from Tasty Kitchen user melja56. The only thing I did differently was use three whole eggs instead of four egg whites, since I had three eggs and not four. The blackberries were my own addition as well. I ran about 1/4 cup of them through the Magic Bullet with about a Tbsp. of sugar. Then I plopped spoonfuls of the rough puree into the cake better and swirled it with a spoon.
I mentioned my grandma's secret frosting recipe. Maybe someday I'll tell you what that is, but for now I'm guarding it with my life. Suffice to say that it is something like an almond vanilla butter cream, but better.
My coworkers loved the cake, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out, too. It was definitely not the worst eat-your-feelings cake I'd ever had.

On Thursday, my Taste of Home order arrived on my doorstep! Taste of Home had a $5 cookbook sale a couple weeks ago (apologies that I didn't share this with you at the time), and I picked up four books since shipping was automatically free at $20. One of the books I picked up was Ultimate Chicken Recipes, and I am so glad I did. There is a ton of good-looking food in that book, and it was solo cooking AND crock pot sections. I have an ingrained love of Taste of Home cookbooks, due to my mom and my grandma's long term devotion to the brand. I mean, when I found out Taste of Home was having a sale, I immediately called my mom who, in turn, placed her own intense order. That's how much we like their cookbooks.
Anyway, I didn't even get five pages into the chicken cookbook before a found a recipe I had to try: Hot Chicken Swirls

Doesn't look very much like a swirl, does it? It's not, exactly. Hot Chicken Swirls call for crescent rolls, which I did not have on hand. I did, however, have Phyllo dough in the freezer. So, using the filling from the Hot Chicken Swirls recipe as inspiration, I made something that was more like a Hot Chicken Bundle. Here is what I did:
1/2 c. cooked chicken
1 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp. prepared ranch dressing
1/8 c. shredded colby jack cheese
1/2 Tbsp. Penzeys Fox Point Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Frank's Hot Sauce
A few sheets of Phyllo dough.

Mix everything in a bowl except the Phyllo dough, then plop the filling on the dough and form a roll/bundle/whatever you can get the dough to form into. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.

This recipe only mildly resembles the original, but it was still pretty good. It would have been better as crescent swirls, though.

Phyllo dough is a real hassle to work with, by the way. I'm going to have to play around with it until I figure it out.

I have grand cooking plans for tonight, so I hope I'll have a post for you all tonight/tomorrow.


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