A great friend of mine had a birthday this week, so celebrating was in order. Add to that mother nature's incessant flirting, and it was time to fire up the charcoal.
How about some chicken, dressed up with bacon and pepper jack cheese? It's relatively easy to get great stuff for your taste buds this way.
The boneless chicken breast pieces spent the afternoon in a ziploc with grapeseed oil, Penzey's "Ruth Ann's Muskego Ave Chicken and Fish Seasoning," salt, pepper and a squirt of lime juice. With bacon and pepper jack cheese going on these things, you don't need a lot of seasoning on the chicken… just don't overcook it.
Sides were going to be Renee's mashed potatoes and asparagus on the grill, again, simple but with a bit of a gourmet look :). The asparagus also got some grape seed oil (our current favorite for a lot of savory dishes around here) and some salt, pepper and garlic powder.
I didn't bother trying to use toothpicks or string, just wrapped the bacon onto the chicken as I placed them on the grill. It stayed in place rather well (if you have a problem, you are probably turning it too much anyway.)
After a little while I moved the asparagus up to the warming rack, but you just have to watch it to make sure it doesn't get too hot. Of course with the bacon you have to watch out for grease flaring up in the coals… careful placement is key.
About a minute before taking the chicken off the grill I added slices of pepper jack to the chicken breasts.
Renee added a small salad and mashed potatoes. Team cooking at its finest. And it was good.
Now it was a birthday, so cake was in order. We were introduced to a simple box cake/pudding/chocolate chip recipe that has become a staple for such occasions. Of course we tinker with the combinations. (The whole recipe is at the bottom of this post)
The original involves Yellow cake, 1 box of vanilla pudding, 1 box of chocolate pudding and chocolate chips. We have tried it with several mixtures of cake mix and pudding flavors, all of them pretty good.
Tonight Renee combined strawberry cake mix, 1 cheesecake pudding, 1 vanilla pudding, white chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks. Do it. With vanilla ice cream. Yum.
Happy Birthday, Karl!
Nikki Groth's family chocolate chip cake..
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box vanilla pudding
1 small box chocolate pudding
1.5 cups water
.5 cup oil
1 bag (or so) chocolate chips
Combine dry cake mix, puddings, water and oil until well mixed (2 minutes). Add all four eggs and mix in, and add chocolate chips. Pour into greased bundt cake pan and Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Enjoy.
Notes… using different flavors is great fun. Note that dark chocolate chips, heath bar chips etc. are denser and may sink before the cake sets in the oven. If you think it may be a problem, pour in about 2/3 of the batter, then sprinkle in the chips (not touching the pan) and add the rest of the batter. I have even addd the chips (heath bar especially) after the batter is in the pan and stirred it in just an inch below the surface before putting it in the oven to keep the candy from collecting on the bottom (which will become the top of the cake.)
Have a great weekend.