Sunday, October 2, 2011

My First Cooking Show...

Last night I hosted my first Pampered Chef cooking show as both the host and consultant. I think it went OK, but there is a lot of room for improvement! I felt ready and confident in a number of areas, but in reflection, was under prepared in some key areas, which I will definitely work on. Fortunately this was for a group of friends, so everyone was very supportive and encouraging.

I made ahead a Mediterranean Orzo Salad , which had roasted veggies, pasta, a Greek type vinaigrette, feta cheese and some Kalamata olives. It came out beautifully and I think everyone really enjoyed it! I also made a yummy appetizer called Elegant Artichoke Cups using a mini muffin pan, some won ton wrappers and a delicious filling similar to a hot artichoke dip. They were quick, simple and you make them in two steps, so the little won ton cups could be made in advance, then filled with the filling when your guests are arriving and popped in the oven. It'll look like you spent all day making them, when you spent only minutes on these yummy treats.

Lastly, I made a Microwave Rocky Road Brownie Dessert... YES, you read that correctly... MICROWAVE! Now, anyone who knows me, knows, I am more of "from scratch cook" not a from the box kind of gal, and I have mostly used the microwave for reheating things, melting butter, etc... So this was NEW for me.. This recipe was made using one of the many pieces of Stoneware The Pampered Chef sells. You make a simple brownie using melted butter, unsweetened chocolate, the usual suspects, flour etc.. then you cook it in the MICROWAVE... it comes out perfect in 5-7 minutes... you top this off with some cut up jumbo marshmallows and unwrapped Hershey's Kisses. Put it back in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and out comes a warm, delicious, gooey dessert.. not dried out, not over cooked, no strange texture... just yum! To say that I was impressed is an understatement!

Until I became a Pampered Chef consultant, my experience with stoneware in baking was a couple of pizza stones, which work marvelously, and a Pampered Chef Stoneware pie dish, I purchased about 10 years ago, still have and still love. I now have the Large bar pan which came as part of my starter kit... Let me just say, I don't how I have gone so long without such a great piece of cookware/bakeware in my kitchen! This pan does everything, anything and does it well. Thus far I have made several different types of pan pizza, all which came out with a perfect crust, multiple pans of brownies all of which came out divine! Perfect edges not hard or over-baked, but still giving you your "brownie regions", for those who like middles, or edges. I cooked a whole package of bacon,, it cooked quicker, can out perfect and everything I cooked afterwards, didn't taste like bacon! I also used it to roast the veggies for the recipe listed below and they came out perfect! I told my husband, I think this pan has a brain!

I have been amazed at the quality of food you achieve using any piece of stoneware, whether you are cooking in the oven or the microwave. What do you think of when you hear about cooking chicken in the microwave? Rubbery? Not if you use stoneware.... how about a cake? Try a 12 minute cake in the fluted stoneware cake pan... your jaw will drop, as will anyone you serve it to!

To say that I have found something I am passionate about may be an understatement! I am thrilled to be on this journey! I have the recipe for the Mediterranean Orzo Salad below... Give it a try!

The Pampered Chef®

Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Ingredients:
1   pound asparagus spears, trimmed
1   large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch wedges
1   medium red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1   tablespoon olive oil
2   garlic cloves, pressed

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
3/4   cup uncooked orzo pasta
1   can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1   package (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2   cup pitted whole kalamata olives
1/4   cup snipped fresh parsley
1/4   cup prepared Greek vinaigrette dressing

Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine asparagus, bell pepper, onion and oil in Stainless (6-qt.) Mixing Bowl. Press garlic into mixing bowl using Garlic Press; toss to coat using Mix ‘N Scraper®. Season with salt and black pepper, if desired.
  2. Spread vegetables in a single layer on Large Bar Pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden brown. Remove from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack; cool completely. Cut asparagus and bell pepper into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare orzo according to package directions in Small (2-qt.) Saucepan; drain and rinse under cold running water in small Colander. Place orzo in Stainless (4-qt.) Mixing Bowl. Add vegetable mixture, beans, feta cheese, olives, parsley and salad dressing; toss gently. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve over lettuce leaves, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings

Nutrients per serving:

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 1 medium-fat meat, 3 fat (3 carb)

Cook’s Tips: Vegetables can be roasted up to 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature until you're ready to use them.

Orzo is a tiny, rice-shaped pasta, which can be found in the pasta section of most grocery stores.

To trim asparagus, snap off and discard tough stem ends.

Italian dressing can be substituted for the Greek vinaigrette dressing, if desired.

© 2011 The Pampered Chef used under license.
www.pamperedchef.com

4 comments:

hotglassbabe said...

Rock on, Miss Pampered Chef!! Congrats on the new Consultant gig and your first cooking show! Ive got a number of Pampered Chef items.... and now I know who I will be coming to when I need more!! :D xoxox

Glass Princess said...

Thanks Nik! I am really enjoying it and I LOVE to cook! I really like the company and the products. I should have my own website through the company by next month.

CHRONICLYsILLy said...

Great post! :D

Glass Princess said...

Thanks!