Friday, November 16, 2012

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Menu with Recipes!!


Here we go ladies and gents!  The yummies from the Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party!  All of the food was thoughtfully created with color in mind.  Of all the Eric Carle books, this one is the most beautiful (in my opinion). Enjoy.


Menu

Cajun Chicken Pasta Salad
Country Green Beans with Bacon
Dijon Potato Salad
Apple Slices
Pear Slices
Whole Strawberries
Orange Slices
(plums are not in season...sadly)
Turkey and Ham mini sandwiches on Fresh Baked Molasses Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Crostini with Goat Cheese and homemade Ky Chow Chow

Lemonade
Sweet Iced Tea

Vanilla Cloud Cupcakes (with butter cream)
Chocolate Mud Cupcakes (with butter cream)

That's right!  Its a caterpillar!  


Cajun Chicken Pasta Salad (Serves 30+)

Ingredients:
  3-4 Chicken Breasts (skinless and boneless)
  1 box penne rigate pasta
  3 + 6 tbsp Cajun Seasoning; divided
  1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  2 bottles buttermilk dressing (not ranch)
  1 orange pepper
  1 yellow pepper
  1/2 large red onion
  2 tbsp salt

Directions:
     Preheat oven to 375.  Remove chicken from packaging and rinse.  Pat dry.  Coat both sides of each chicken breast with the 3 tbsp Cajun Seasoning (any favorite you have).  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through (165F).  In the mean time wash and core the peppers.  Thinly slice each and throw into a small bowl.  Peel the outer skin from your onion, cut in half and thinly slice one half.  Break the pieces apart and place them in the bowl with your peppers.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill the veggies.  In a large pot or pasta pot bring (at least) 4 quarts of water and 2 tbsp salt to a boil.  Drop in the entire box of pasta.  Cook until al dente.  Do not over cook the pasta.  Pull from heat and drain.  Once all the water is removed place into the refrigerator to chill.  Pull chicken from the oven (if done) and let rest for 5 minutes, the purpose here is to let the chicken cool to touch but also to retain as much moisture as possible.  Place your chicken onto your cutting board and cut into small rough chunks, bite sized if you will.  Pull the pasta and veggies from the refrigerator.  Pour pasta into a large bowl and pour in one bottle of buttermilk dressing.  season with 3 of the remaining tbsp of Cajun seasoning and 1 tbsp cayenne pepper.  Mix well.  Pour in your veggies and chunked chicken along with 1/2 of the remaining bottle of buttermilk dressing.  Mix well.  Taste. From here determine, to your tastes, if you wish to add more of the remaining Cajun seasoning and buttermilk dressing.  I usually reserve the last of the dressing since I make the pasta the day before, and stir more in when I serve if the salad needs more "wetness".  Place the, now complete, pasta salad into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Serve cold.  


Dijon Potato Salad (serves 30+)

Ingredients:
   3 lbs. red potatoes
   1/2 large red onion; finely chopped
   1 green pepper
   5 heaping tbsp mayo
   4 tbsp Dijon mustard
   salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  
     In a large pot bring potatoes, with peel on, in 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Boil until easily punctured with a fork.  In the mean time finely dice both the red onion and green pepper and combine both in a large mixing bowl.  Place in the refrigerator to chill. Drain potatoes in a colander and allow to sit out and cool long enough to touch.  Once cool enough to handle, cut into medium sized chunks.  Pull the chilled onion and pepper from the fridge and place all of the potatoes on top. Pour in 5 tbsp mayo and 4 tbsp Dijon mustard and mix gently with a spatula to combine all ingredients completely. Salt and pepper to taste.  Return the whole dish to the refrigerator to chill all the way through, about 4 hours. Serve cold.  I usually make this dish the night before any event so it has time to cool completely and the flavors can marry.


Molasses Honey Whole Wheat Bread (for teeny caterpillar sized sandwiches ;) )

This recipe can originally be found here at Wholesome Homemade.  I edited the recipe to my taste and quantity needed, but it's a great start to a recipe! Makes 4 medium sized loaves.

2 envelopes active dry yeast
4 cups water
1/2 butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour

Dissolve the yeast in warm water (no hotter than 115F).  In a separate bowl combine butter, molasses, honey, and salt together. Mix well.  Combine the butter mixture in with the yeast in a bowl or mixing bowl large enough to add flour.  Gradually add flour one cup at a time.  Once your dough ball has formed (it should still be sticky, but have a wholeness to its constitution) roll it out onto a clean floured surface to knead.  Knead 20-25 times or until it no longer sticks to your hands when you pull away.  Place in an oiled bowl (you can still use butter as a 'grease') coating the entire dough ball.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise to double, about 2 hours.  Punch down the risen dough and roll out onto your clean work space.  Cut your dough into 4 loaf portions and either mold into loaves or place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise to double again.  In the mean time preheat your oven to 375F.  Finally, place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes, until golden. 

kneaded

greased

punched :)



* a tip in making most yeast breads- if you're uncertain if your bread is fully cooked either insert a tooth pick to check of gently "knock" on the bread.  If the pick comes out clean or the bread sounds hollow when you "knock" its generally a good indication that its ready.  Over cooked bread is dry and has little elasticity.

                           


Happy cooking!!

- Rachel