Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Most Fuss Free Chicken and Mushroom Pies that I ever baked... made from scratch and they are delicious! (Slow Cooker Central)

As a mum, I wouldn't say no to fuss free recipes...

... especially this easy chicken pie recipe.

To cook this pie filling...
I don't have to brown the onions, chicken and mushroom initially.
I don't have to use any pre-cooked or pre-roasted chicken like what I did at here, here and here. The chicken used in this recipe is actually 100% cooked from scratch!
I don't have to pre-cook the bechamel or any creamy sauce.
I don't have to cook it with any hot boiling stock.
I don't have to worry that the creamy sauce will split.

All I need to do is to assemble all the pie fillings ingredients in one pot (or a slow cooker) and leave it to cook with low heat for 3-6 hours or until the chicken is tender and the sauce is reduced. That's it!

I'm amazed that 1) the chicken pieces are eventually beautifully browned! 2) the sauce is creamy and yummy and won't split!!!

Fuss free? Absolutely!!!

When I want to eat the pies, I transferred the fillings into a pie dish or ramekins, placed Parmesan cheese on the filling and then a ready rolled puff pastry on top of the cheese and bake the pies for 15 mins...So easy and these pies are so comforting to eat!

fuss free easy chicken mushroom pies
The most fuss free chicken and mushroom pies that I ever baked

See how the busy me made these delicious pies to serve 3 very hungry people. First, I gathered all these ingredients...

2 cups finely sliced or chopped button mushrooms
1 brown onion, finely diced plus 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup cooking cream, can be regular or light (with 18% fat)
1 tsp vegetable or chicken stock powder
2 skinless chicken breast fillets, chopped into bite size pieces
Skinless chicken breast??? Will it be too tough and dry after cooking? I will show you the answer later.
Assemble all in one pot or a slow cooker.
Leave it to cook with cover and low heat for 3-6 hours or until the chicken is tender.
Do not be alarm if the cream looks like it has split. It will be ok later.
Absolutely no worries! At this point, I walked away to do other things.
After at least 3 hrs of cooking, the filling will look darker in colour and the chicken will be nicely browned.
To reduce the sauce, cook the filling uncovered until the sauce is reduced according to your liking.
You can either stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese into the filling and cook it for 15 mins or sprinkle on the filling just before baking.
As usual, I always prefer to use the fat reduced fat ready rolled puff pastry and I need to thaw and use just one sheet.
It's dinner and baking time and so I did these.
Place puff pastry over the top. Trim the edges (or not - my family and I prefer not to waste any pastry :p). Brush the top lightly with one egg which is lightly whisked. Bake at 180°C for 15 mins or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Serve immediately!
Nom nom nom....

Oh wait!!! I have to show you something ...

 See! The chicken breast pieces are beautifully browned!
And they are not dry at all being flavoursome and tender.
This recipe is amazing!

Do you know that Slow Cooker Central is currently the No. 1 selling book in ABC Book Shop?

I'm impressed that a slow cooker and the recipes including this chicken and mushroom pie recipe from the book, Slow Cooker Central can make the lives of busy working people so easy.

Thanks to Slow Cooker Central! Busy people like us can eat well and don't have to be hungry... LOL!

I hope that you like this recipe as much as I do. It is one of the chicken recipes that I have seen in the book, Slow Cooker Central by Paulene Christie and there are more than 250 recipes that you can find in this amazing book.

Are these 250 recipes all soups and stews? Nay!!! The Slow Cooker Central recipes originate from some of the creative members in Paulene's Facebook Slow Cooker Recipes group which has used a slow cooker to transform a humble chicken into these flavourful food...

Besides Chicken, there are chapters like Soup, Snacks and Light Meals, Beef, Sausages, Lamb, Pork, Game, Seafood, Vegetable and Sweets.
Just the chicken chapter itself, I'm seeing many amazing recipes with flavours from around the world.
Chicken Gumbo with southern American flavours.
Here we have the Mexican style chicken...
... and many many many chicken dishes with Asian influence.

... like
honey and garlic chicken
simple chicken satay
oriental style orange chicken
orange and ginger chicken
teriyaki wings
Thai peanut chicken
sweet and sour chicken
oriental honey soy chicken
Japanese sticky chicken wings
Peking chicken fried rice
chicken tikka masala and the list goes on...

If you are a busy working mum like Paulene Christie, the author of Slow Cooker Central book, you gotta have a slow cooker and this book! Thermomix, KitchenAid Cook Processor or a humble slow cooker... Now, I say eeny, meeny, miny, moe... LOL!

I'm sorry that I have agreed to the publisher that I can't publish the recipes in this book in this book review post. However, if you really wish to bake these fuss free chicken and mushroom pies, please read my post in details, you will see that you can actually cook these pies without a written recipe. *Hint*

If you have a slow cooker and like to buy this book, it is available in most book stores at RRP AUD$24.99 or if you are lucky, you can win one here! This giveaway is open to ALL international readers and the submission ends on 6 August 2015. Good luck!

Slow Cooker Central by Paulene Christie Book Giveaway
Before ending this post, I like to thank Harper Collins Australia for giving me this opportunity to do this review. I like to make a disclaimer here that I'm not paid to do this review and like to share my most honest opinions about this book.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

How to transform moist and chocolaty Devil's Food Cupcakes into Teddy Bear Cake Pops?

Remember the very moist Devil's food cupcakes that I have baked along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen wings?

For a little extra fun, I have crumbled the cupcakes and made them into these teddy bear cake pops...

teddy bear devil food chocolate cake pops
Teddy bear devil food cake pops

Do you want to see how I transformed these freshly baked moist and chocolaty cupcakes...

Devil's food cupcakes with chocolate frosting
Devil's food cupcakes with chocolate frosting
Please see here for the recipe.

... into these deliciously cute teddy bear cake pops?

Teddy bear devil food chocolate cake pops
Smile Teddy!

Cute, isn't it? I got this neat idea from
Making these cake pops is really easy and all you need are:

(1) A supporting stand like this d.line, Sweet Creations product or a Styrofoam board to hold your cake pops.

Trust me... I have been looking for a decent cake pop supporting stand for a long time and can't find any!!! Prior using this supporting stand, I was using an improvised Styrofoam board that was poked with holes to hold my cake pops. Due to the top heavier weight of the cake pops, I had to use lots of sticky tapes to tap the Styrofoam board onto my tabletop to stop the lopsided cake pops from falling off... Yucks! Now that I have this sturdy d.line cake pop stand, I said Goodbye to the flimsy Styrofoam boards immediately!

(2) lollipop sticks
(3) rolled fondant to make the face, eyes and nose.
(4) Tools to shape the rolled fondants

This is what I did to assemble the cake pops...

Then I rolled the mixture in balls and chilled in the freezer for about 20 min or until slightly firm.
You can use candy melts or any neutral tasting oil to do this job but I like to use the real chocolate and Alfa One rice bran oil to do the coating.
Then I did this...
... and this.
While the chocolate coating on the cake pops is setting, I made the faces, eyes and nose with the fondant.
You can either indent a smile on its face or make a dot to create the "woo" kind of expression.
When the chocolate coating is semi-set, place the face, nose and eyes onto the cake pop.
Ta dah!
Here we have a happy teddy bear cake pop!

This is how I transformed my home baked Devil's food cupcakes or any chocolate cupcakes into Teddy Bear Cake Pops

Make 9 cake pops
4 standard size (1/3 cup size) Devil's food cupcakes or any chocolate cupcakes
adequate chocolate frosting, see below
dark chocolate melts or any candy melts
Vegetable oil, preferably something that is neutral tasting like Alfa One rice bran oil or canola oil
9 lollipop sticks
dark chocolate chips
rolled fondant that are coloured in black and copper

After cupcakes are cooled completely, crumble them into a bowl.

Start by adding 1-2 tbsp chocolate frosting into the cake crumble and mix thoroughly. Add more bit by bit while mixing and stop adding when the mixture gel the crumbs together. Chill mixture in the freezer or fridge until it forms a workable dough.

Roll each tablespoonful of mixture into balls and place them on a plate. Chill the cake balls in the freezer or fridge for about 20 mins or until slightly firm.

Melt chocolate melts in microwave with low power or according to the directions on the package. Add vegetable oil into the melted chocolate until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Insert one lollipop stick into each cake ball. Dip the cake balls onto the melted chocolate and make sure that the cake balls are well coated with chocolate. Now these cake balls are officially cake pops!

Place the cake pops on a supporting stand or Styrofoam board and place two chocolate chips onto each cake pop to form the ears of the bear. Allow the chocolate coating to set slightly.

Meanwhile, you can make the face by rolling the copper coloured fondant into sheets with 3 mm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut the rolled fondant into small circles. To make a smile on the face, use the spatula or a smaller circles to make some indents below the nose position. To create the "woo" kind of expression, just simply poke a dot below the nose position. 

To make the eyes and noses, place small pinch of black coloured fondant onto one of your palm and use the other palm roll it into nice round shapes. Repeat this fondant and palm rolling steps until you obtain enough eyes and noses for your cake pops.

Place the faces, eyes and noses onto the cake pops accordingly and allow the chocolate to set completely at room temperature. Serve!

This chocolate frosting recipe that is mostly adapted from here

Note: This is the minimal amount of frosting that I can make and there will be leftover after using the adequate amount to form 9 cake balls.

90g dark chocolate with about 40% cocoa
15g unsalted butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 tbsp icing sugar

Melt chocolates and butter in medium bowl in a microwave with low power or over saucepan of simmering water until mixture is smooth. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla, then icing sugar. Allow frosting to rest in room temperature about 10 mins or until it is thick enough to gel the cake crumbs together.

Enjoy the treats.
Please support me and like me at Facebook...

Here are our friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their Devil's food cupcakes baking.

Please submit your details if you wish to link your post with this bake-along. This linking tool is open from 23 July to 1 Aug 2015.

For our next bake-along, we are baking Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes which is to be posted on 6 Aug 2015. Please bake-along with us! All you need to do is to bake your favourite Hokkaiddo chiffon cupcakes and link with us for the next 10 days.

Before linking with us, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Bake-Along in your post and link back to any of our hosts' Bake-Along post, (Joyce, Lena or Zoe). (3) Appreciate if you can display the Bake-Along badge in your post when linking up with us. Cheers!

Last but not the least, I like to thanks Victoria Bakes and Rumbling Tummy for giving me the versatile blogger award:

Thanks Victoria! I really like baking and blogging-along with you. You are always an awesome and outstanding baker!

Thanks Edith! You are right that your blog is never lonely! You are a good mother and I'm sure your kids will be so proud of you. Happy that we know each other a lot through cooking and blogging.