~41st Anniversary Dinner & Dessert~

Morning all, this is a smidgen over due but I hope you’ll enjoy it all the same. Monday my parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary. In years past they would go out for dinner, Mom would get dolled up, Dad would get off of work early enough to beat the dinner crowd at their favorite restaurant and have a wonderful evening all to themselves.

In the last decade going out as become a thing of the past for my Mom. Her fibromyalgia is severe enough that it takes too much effort just to get ready and when it’s time to go she’s too tired. It’s frustrating for her seeing how she’s more than eager to go and do but her body isn’t willing. So, that’s where I stepped in to help make their evening as pleasant as possible…even though I had a few clinkers in the kitchen.

Going through our weekly menu I asked Mom what sounded good for their anniversary dinner, that’s when she printed the recipe for Cheesy Chicken and Noodle Casserole. Everyone swears that I have made this before but I honestly have no recollection of doing that. It kind of reminds me of Chicken Tetrazzini, only this recipe wasn’t as creamy. But Mom and I discussed how we could remedy that 🙂

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Cheesy Chicken and Noodle Casserole

1/2 pound egg noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup Swiss or cheddar cheese

1/8 tsp black pepper

3 cups chicken, chopped or shredded

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, mined

6 large mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 stick of butter

6 Tblsp flour

2 cups chicken broth or stock

1 cup heavy cream

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.
  2. While noodles are cooking, dice or shred the chicken and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Season noodles with pepper, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup Swiss cheese.
  4. Place noodles in a greased 3 qt casserole dish and top with chicken.
  5. In a large sauce pan saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in butter until transparent and soft. 
  6. Add flour and cook for two minutes before adding broth and cream. Cook until thickened.
  7. Pour sauce over noodles and chicken and sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes and serve with favorite sides.

I used cheddar throughout the dish, and if I choose to make it again I plan to add a can of cream of mushroom soup, 4 ounces of cream cheese and a little extra cream to help make it creamier. It was plenty cheesy, a little too much chicken for our liking and will reduce it by a cup. You can layer it like I did, I started out first with a little of the sauce on the bottom, then enough noodles to cover the bottom of the pan. Top with chicken, a good ladle or two of sauce, parmesan cheese, and shredded cheese. Repeated those layers until the pan was full.

For dessert, I wanted to treat my parents to a little something special. Sure I make all kinds of desserts and everyone has their favorite, but because it was their day I decided to go with individual cakes and ice cream topped with what I was hoping would be a homemade caramel sauce…yeah, that last part was a dud.

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Individual Chocolate Melting Cakes

10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

4 Tblsp unsalted butter

5 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup ap flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

caramel sauce, optional

ice cream

  1. Preheat to 325 degrees F. Light grease 12 muffin cups and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat.
  3. In another large bowl, mix eggs and sugar at medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and melted chocolate. Mix with a spoon until well blended.

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In this pan I didn’t use the cocoa powder and the end result was: they stuck to the pan…oh well, it was the leftover batter, the other 12 came out perfectly! So, divide the batter evenly into each cup and bake for about 12–15 minutes. You want them to be just cooked through.

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See, these turned out amazing! So I thought, they weren’t very gooey as hoped. I’m guessing it was due to the dark pan. No matter, it ate the same. Let these cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out on to a cookie sheet pan to finish cooling. Serve warm with caramel sauce and ice cream.

Then I tried my hand at making a caramel sauce…”it’s easy” the reviewers said, “it’s quick recipe” they said…pfft! I’m being snarky, I know and it’s only because when I cook/bake I don’t like for anything to go wrong beyond repair because I don’t like wasting ingredients. Especially in this economy when the price of sugar is at $2.68/5Lbs I REALLY don’t like wasting it.

But I was optimistic, tapping into my inner George Lopez saying “I got this!” Instead, here’s what I ended up with.

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Normal looking…bubbly…

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and wha–POW!

It started out good, followed the instructions…I GOT DIS! I swirled the pan occasionally, didn’t stir. Kept an eye on the pan the whole time. Remember…I GOT DIS!!! No, I really didn’t. That last picture is the end result, burnt crystallized sugar that was too hot to throw away. What went wrong? Well, upon further inspection the skin scorching liquid became contaminated during the last swirling. Apparently some of the crystals toward the top got into the liquid and immediately made the hot liquid turn solid. Never seen anything like it before. So, this owl admits she had a kitchen failure, I’m not a perfect cook or baker. I still have to deal with recipes that don’t turn out right and figure out what went wrong.

Well, the moral of this delicious yet sad story is this: If you’re not used to making caramel get a candy thermometer or better yet…just buy a jar from the store. Saves on dishes 🙂

Happy Eating!

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Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, Love you both!

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3 thoughts on “~41st Anniversary Dinner & Dessert~

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