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Pantry secrets for Easter dinner

Posted: April 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Spiced mocha fudge cake

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You probably don’t know it, but you may have the secret ingredients for an exceptional Easter dinner in your pantry right now. The holidays are a perfect opportunity to sprinkle creativity into special meals by using staples like pancake mix, syrup and instant mashed potatoes in unexpected ways to craft new and delicious dishes the whole family will love.

Celebrity Chef Adam Gertler, host of Food Network’s “Kid in a Candy Store,” along with Hungry Jack, have come up with original, easy-to-prepare recipes using everyday items to create a memorable Easter meal.

“Planning for a holiday meal can be stressful,” Gertler said. “But by looking to your pantry for inspiration, you will find ingredients to make a truly unique and special meal sure to delight your family and guests!”

Here are ways to use up what you already have to make a complete Easter menu, including savory bacon and cheese appetizer bites, spinach salad with warm maple Dijon vinaigrette, maple glazed pork tenderloin and a sweet spiced mocha fudge cake.

You’ll create an Easter meal worth celebrating, and make your hungry family a happy one.

For more creative recipes and tips, visit www.useupthebox.com.

Spiced mocha fudge cake
Makes: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients

Cake:
         No-stick cooking spray
    4     (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
    3     tablespoons butter
    1    cup hot brewed FolgersClassic Roast® Coffee
    2/3     cup Hungry Jack Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
    1     teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8     teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
    1 1/2     cups sugar
    1     teaspoon vanilla extract
    4     large eggs, separated
    1/2     cup Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
    1 1/2     teaspoons baking powder
    1/4     teaspoon salt
        Powdered sugar

Spiced whipped cream:
    1/2     pint whipping cream
    3     tablespoons powdered sugar
    1     teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4     teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1.    Heat oven to 350°F. Line bottom
of a 9-inch springform pan with parch­ment paper. Coat paper with no-stick cooking spray. Place chocolate and butter in medium microwave-safe bowl. Micro­wave on high power
45 to 60 seconds or until chocolate
is melted and smooth when stirred.
2.    Combine coffee, potato flakes, cinna­mon and cayenne in large mixing bowl, stirring until moistened. Blend in sugar and vanilla. Blend in chocolate mixture and egg yolks. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Grad­ually blend into chocolate mixture.
3.    Beat egg whites on medium speed
of electric mixer until stiff. Add to choco­late mixture and blend on low speed until completely blended, scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until set in center. Cool com­pletely in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.
4.    Combine whipping cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in medium mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer until stiff. Serve with cake.

Maple glazed pork tenderloin

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients
    1     teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
    1     teaspoon dried marjoram leaves, crushed
    1/4     teaspoon salt
    1/4     teaspoon onion powder
    1/4     teaspoon garlic powder
    1     pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
    1     tablespoon butter
    2     tablespoons Hungry Jack Original Regular Syrup

Directions
1.    Combine thyme, marjoram, salt, onion powder and garlic powder in large reseal­able food storage bag. Seal bag and shake well. Add pork slices. Seal bag. Shake to coat.
2.    Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mix­ture. Cook and stir 8 to 10 minutes or until pork is browned and no longer pink in center. Add syrup. Cook and stir until pork is glazed.

Spinach salad with warm maple Dijon vinaigrette
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute

Ingredients
    1/4     cup Hungry Jack Original Syrup
    3     tablespoons cider vinegar
    4     teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1     teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    2     cloves garlic, minced
    1/2     teaspoon salt
    1/4     teaspoon pepper
    1/2     cup Crisco 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1     (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves
    1     small unpeeled red apple, cored and thinly sliced
    1/2     cup crumbled blue cheese
    2     tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon or bacon bits

Directions
1.    Whisk together syrup, vinegar, mustard, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium microwave-safe bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in oil, stirring until thickened.
2.    Combine spinach, apple, cheese and bacon in a large bowl. Just before serving, microwave vinaigrette on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or until warm. Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette; toss salad and serve immediately.

Bacon and cheese appetizer bites
Makes: 24 appetizers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
        No-stick cooking spray
    1/2     cup sour cream
    1     tablespoon water
    1     cup Hungry Jack  Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix (Just Add Water)
    1/2     cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
    1/4     cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
    2     tablespoons butter, melted
        Paprika


Directions

1.    Heat oven to 400°F. Spray cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray.
2.    Mix sour cream and water in medium bowl until well combined. Add pancake mix, cheese and bacon pieces. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto pre­pared cookie sheet.
3.    Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with paprika. Serve warm.

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