Tag Archives: chicken

Long time coming

10 Jul

Well my husband is back for his deployment. YAY! We have been quite busy. We went to California for a month. Had tons of fun with family. Now we are back into the swing of things. We had friends over for the 4th and I cooked. I made pretzel dogs, which are always a big hit, my favorite fudge brownierecipe, grilled chicken marinated my favorite way, baked beans and Salted  Carmel Chocolate Chip cookies (my husbands request). I will post again soon. Lots of food will be getting made now that I actually have to cook again.

salted caramel chocolate chip cookie

I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and just adapted it a bit. If you are tempted to try the Salted Caramel version right out of the oven DON’T DO IT. I did they taste pretty salty if you don’t let them cool. They are great after they have cooled.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

original post for Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cups milk chocolate chips

about 16 pieces of Caramel cubes. Take wrappers off and cut into 4 smaller squares.

Sea salt for sprinkling the tops of warm cookies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure an oven rack is in the center of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Either by hand or with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until well mixed. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Mix well until the batter has lightened slightly in color, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips at the same time. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Using a cookie scoop or about 1 Tbs portion of cookie batter place on a silpat mat of parchment paper. Once cookies have been placed on cookie sheet place 3-4 squares of caramel pieces into the cookie. I push them lightly into the cookie ball. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges are set and just lightly browned. Don’t overbake or else the cookies will be tough and hard. Once you pull the cookies out of the oven sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before trying to remove. Remove cookies and place on a cooling rack.

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Happy blogiversary to me :)

6 Feb

Well it’s officially been a year since I started blogging again. Thanks to my readers and pinners who have visited my site. I have a couple new recipes to share. First one of my favorite things to eat. Chicken Chow Mein. Since moving to Oklahoma I haven’t been able to find a good Chinese restaurant. If anybody knows a good 0ne in the Lawton/Fort Sill area I would really appreciate the suggestion. Anyway, since I get a hankering for Chinese quite often I decided to add another recipe to the mix. The other one that I make is this orange chicken. Orange chicken is my husbands favorite and I really only make it when he’s here to eat it. Don’t get me wrong I like it too but it’s not on my short list when we go out for Chinese.

chicken chow mein

Ingredients:
source: Favorite Family Recipes

2-3 Boneless Chicken Breast
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 (5.6 oz) packages refrigerated Yaki Soba noodles (found in the produce section of the grocery store) (or you can find the dried Yaki Soba noodles. They are cheaper but you do have to cook them according to the package)
2/3 c. chopped celery (chopped diagonally)
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
2 c. cabbage, thinly sliced

Directions

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Set aside.
Cook or grill chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. When done set aside to add to the noodle mix later. Or you can use leftover chicken from a previous meal.
Remove Yaki Soba from packages and discard included flavoring packets. Rinse noodles well, drain, and set aside.(this is for the Yaki Soba noodles that are already prepared)
Heat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add celery and onion and saute for about 1-2 minutes or until onions start to become soft and transparent. Add cabbage and saute an additional minute or so.
Toss Yaki Soba noodles and soy sauce mixture with the vegetables over medium-high heat for an additional 2-3 minutes or until noodles are heated through. Add cooked chicken and heat just enough to warm it. Not too long or the chicken may dry out. 
chicken chow mein up close
 
What’s an anniversary without dessert? I had some really ripe bananas sitting on my counter and what better way to use them. You could make this banana bread or you could make chocolate chip banana cupcakes. The original recipe is one that I found on All Recipes. It was for 2 8 inch cake pans. This makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
banana chocolate chip cupcake stand
 
Chocolate Chip Banana cupcakes with Vanilla frosting
source: All recipes

Ingredients

2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

4 ripe bananas, mashed

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 pkg. chocolate chips, I used milk chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 – 8 inch round pans. Or prepare cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into the prepared pans or scoop batter into cupcake tin. Fill 2/3 full with batter.
For cake bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes for cupcakes back for 18-22 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean and tops are golden brown. Mine took 20 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting cupcakes.

banana chocolate chip cupcake bite

Nothing fancy vanilla frosting

Ingredients: makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes, about 1 cup frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk, I had to use a bit more
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
In a bowl of a mixer combine the sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Start mixing slowly so that sugar doesn’t go all over the place and then increase speed to medium speed until smooth and fluffy add more milk if needed.
banana chocolate chip cupcake bite close
 
Thanks again for an awesome year. I will be posting tomorrow to so you all my latest creation using my new sewing machine.

 

Winner winner Chicken dinner

5 Jan

This post is really about the sides but I did roast a chicken and I couldn’t resist this title 🙂 First this is how I prepared my chicken. I didn’t take picture of the process quite frankly it’s not a pretty site but the results are well worth it. Super easy and lots of flavor. I opted out of making the sauces. I just really like the finished chicken.

chicken dinner

But like I said this post is really about the bread and the green beans. I usually only make these rolls for special occasions. I don’t know why it’s not like they are hard to make. So I decided on Christmas that I would be making these way more often.

honey buns

Honey Yeast Rolls adapted from Cooking with the Big Dogs seen on Mom Makes aka my sisters blog

2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
1¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups bread flour (508 grams)
1 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoons honey
Directions –

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, stir together the yeast and warm water – let sit for three to five minutes. Add the honey, oil, salt and egg to the yeast mixture and mix well. Add three cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass. Switch to the dough hook and with the mixer on low, incorporate the remaining 1 cup of flour.Continue kneading on low-speed for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sometimes, depending on the time of year (during the winter, especially), the dough is a bit drier, and I add in water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should feel soft (not sticky) and pliable when you are finished kneading it.Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it is doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work space and knead about 30 seconds. Cover and let the dough rest for another 10 minutes. Punch the dough down and divide it into 10-12 equal sized pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball and place into a greased 9×13 inch dish, spacing evenly. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 20-30 minutes.Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together melted butter and honey and brush the mixture over top of the unbaked rolls. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the rolls are baked through. Let cool slightly before serving.

green beans

And then there’s the green beans. OH MY GOODNESS! We eat these at least three times a month. They are super easy and so darn tasty. So much better than canned green beans and a lot cheaper in the long run too. The biggest expense is the Parmesan cheese but the block lasts FOREVER!  You wont be sorry that you bought it plus you can use it on other things like Garlic bread, pizza, spaghetti the possibilities are endless.

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

1 lb. fresh green beans, stems removed
2 tbsp. unsalted butter (***I usually use olive oil instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Steam green beans until slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Melt butter (***or olive oil) over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Transfer steamed green beans to the melted butter and garlic. Toss to coat green beans evenly and continue to sautee for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and sprinkle grated Parmesan. Toss once again until Parmesan is melted, approximately 1 minute.

 

Using Thanksgiving Leftovers

26 Nov

I hope that everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now for the Christmas rush to get everything done. This year I intend on making a lot of gifts…so far I have only put a little tiny dent in my list.
In the meantime, I had to figure out a way to use up turkey leftovers. We spend this Thanksgiving with my friend and her family and they made 2 turkeys. Needless to say there were plenty of leftovers, enough for me to come home with half a turkey. Tonight I decided to make Rotel chicken casserole and use turkey meat instead, it’s a bird right. I have been making this for years. It’s a recipe my mom made when we were younger and I think that she got it from one of her friends. It’s super easy and can be whipped up in no time. Plus it can feed quite a few people depending on how much meat you use.

Rotel Chicken/Turkey Casserole

Ingredients:

Shredded chicken, in this case leftover turkey

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1-2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chilis, * depending on how spicy you like your food*

1 cup chicken broth, or water * if using 2 cans of Rotel you can omit this* It’s just to thin out sauce a bit

8-10 corn tortillas

2-3 cups shredded cheese, in the past I have used Mexican mix, Colby jack, cheddar, Monterey jack

cooking spray or a little bit of oil

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 350°. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray or a light coat of oil. In a medium boil mix, 2 cans of condensed chicken soup, 1 can Rotel and up to 1 cup chicken broth or water.  Stir well, it should be the consistency of thin yogurt or pudding. Spoon a thin layer of the Rotel mixture into the baking dish and spreed evenly making sure to put some sauce in the corners of dish. Place a single layer of corn tortillas in bottom of dish, you may have to break a couple of tortillas in half so that the fit with out too much overlapping. Tortillas can overlap but make sure to put a little of the sauce in between tortilla layers. Next spread a couple spoon fulls of sauce, about 1/3,  on top of tortillas, layer 1/2 of shredded chicken/turkey and 1/3 of cheese, make another layer just like this and top casserole with layer of tortillas, topped with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove foil and continue to bake for another 10-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling evenly across the top and cheese has melted.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. This is just a general recipe, I don’t have anything really written down. You know how some recipes are passed down by word of mouth, well that’s how I got this one. Feel free to adjust the levels of any component you just want to make sure that the tortillas are evenly coated because they can get dry and crunchy in the baking process if they don’t have enough Rotel sauce.

Quick Weekend Dinners and Sewing

14 Oct

Just wanted to make a quick post and show you what I’ve been up too. I really should be sewing Christmas gifts but for those of you that know me personally you know that I tend to have Craft ADD ;). Anyway I made a peasant dress for my daughter this week using this tutorial. I was super easy to make and turned out super cute. Next time I make it I will be increasing the flare and making it long sleeves so that she can wear it this winter.

I also whipped up a cute skirt using a headband that I bought at WalMart for $1 and some orange polka dot fabric that I had in my stash.

For dinner this weekend I wanted something quick easy and good. Every weekend the kids request pizza but this week I decided to make pan pizza. So good and easy. The only problem is the pizza is limited to the size of cake pan that you have. I used a 9″ cake pan for one pizza and then I made a hand tossed pizza so that we would have extras for lunch the next day.

I used these recipe for the pizza dough and the sauce. The only change is that you oil your 9″ cake pan, I used extra virgin olive oil, and preheat your oven to 400°.  Stretch and press the dough into the pan covering the bottom and up the sides. Top with sauce and toppings and bake for 30-35 minutes.

On Saturday night we had BBQ Chicken Taquitos. These are so good. I tried the original but wasn’t impressed but once I found the BBQ version over at Pink Parsley I was hooked. You can use pork or chicken. I used leftover rotisserie chicken. I think it would be good with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving too.

 

 

 

Baked BBQ Pork Taquitos
inspired by these Baked Chicken Taquitos (which are from Our Best Bites)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (reduced-fat is fine)
1/3 cup bbq sauce1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (I omitted this, I didn’t have any on hand)
pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced onion
3 scallions, thinly sliced (I omitted this, I didn’t have any on hand)
2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro or parsley (I used a sprinkle of dried parsley, because I didn’t have either of these fresh on hand)
hot sauce (optional)
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked pork or chicken
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used Colby Jack)
8-10 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas (I used flour)
cooking spray ( I used Extra virgin olive oil spray)
Ranch Dressing and/or BBQ Sauce, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the bbq sauce, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, brown sugar, liquid smoke, chile powder, red pepper flakes, cilantro, scallions, onion, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Fold in the pork and cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Add hot sauce if you like things spicy!

Take 8-10 (6-inch) flour tortillas, wrap them in plastic wrap and microwave for about 30 seconds, just to make them pliable.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.  Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.  Serve with bbq sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.

Hope that everybody had a great weekend. Now I have to head back to my sewing room and get going on all the Christmas gifts that I have to make.

 

Alfredo, Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

7 Oct

I have made this recipe for years. It simple and delicious. Great for a make ahead meal and using leftover chicken or even Thanksgiving Turkey. I noticed that my sister posted this a while back and it has gotten over 48,000 pins, that’s crazy. So I thought that I would get it pinned a couple more times 😉 Originally this recipe was supposed to be for stuffed shells.  They are good but a lot of work. And lets face it some days you don’t want to have lots of work in the kitchen, so I decided to throw it all together in a baking dish. Still tastes just as good without the hassle of stuffing darn shells. Enjoy.

Alfredo, chicken and broccoli casserole

Ingredients:

1 pound box of shell pasta ( I use a little over half a box)
1 1/2 – 2 pounds bone-in skin on chicken breast ( chicken or even turkey works great)
1 – 14 ounce bag frozen broccoli florets
1 – 16 ounce jar alfredo sauce
1  – 8 ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated(I’ve used colby jack too)
salt, pepper and olive oil for roasting chicken
lemon pepper or Mrs. Dash

Directions –

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts then season them well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Let the chicken cool until you can safely handle it, then shred it  and set it aside.

Cook pasta according to package and drain.

Steam the broccoli in the microwave by dumping the bag in a microwave safe container. Add a little water then cover tightly with plastic wrap – don’t forget to poke a few holes to let steam out. Cook for 4-5 minutes– they don’t have to be completely cooked through.

Get a large bowl out and put pasta, shredded chicken, cheese, broccoli and alfredo sauce, then season well with lemon pepper and mix well. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and pour the pasta mixture then sprinkle the top with more cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Happy Birthday to our Little Diva

4 Aug

Well we celebrated Cierra’s 5th birthday this week. She had a sleepover last night and a little get together today. Her real birthday was this past Wednesday and when it’s your special day in this house you get to choose whatever you want to eat that day and your choice of cake flavors.  Cierra’s choices for her special day was powdered donuts for breakfast. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch and Chicken Avocado Soup with flour tortillas. It’s 112° here in Oklahoma. Who wants to eat soup? My crazy kid does. Well I had to make the birthday girl what she wanted but rest assured I had the fan pointing right at the dinner table and the air conditioner on for sure.

 15 Minute Donuts makes about 30 Donut Holes
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp melted butter

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, for coating

Directions:

Preheat oil over medium heat in a 10 inch non-stick fry-pan (keeping an eye on it as it is heating).  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, buttermilk, sugar and melted butter.  Using a fork stir in dry ingredients and mix just until combine (think of making biscuit dough, you just want to incorporate the ingredients).

Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, measure out 1/2 tablespoonfuls dough and using your hands gently roll into a ball (gently rolling to keep them fluffy, think of rolling something really fragile.  Again this is like a biscuit dough you don’t want to overwork it).  Gently place dough ball into oil and fry until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook reverse side until golden brown.  Carefully remove with metal tongs or a fork and drain onto a paper towel lined plate.  Roll in sugar. Repeat this process with remaining dough (you can fit about 8 donuts in the pan at once if you can work that fast =).  Note: these are best enjoyed the day they are made.

 Source: Cooking Classy

Honey Oatmeal Sandwich Bread makes 2 9×5 inch loaves

Ingredients:

2 cups boiling water

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup honey

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 package of active dry yeast(2 1/4 tsp)

½ cup warm water (110 degrees F)

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour*

3 ½ to 4 cups bread flour**

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons honey

handful of rolled oats

  1. In large mixing bowl (stand mixer bowl if you have one), combine boiling water to oats, honey, butter and salt. Let stand 1 hour.
  2. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the oats mixture. Combine wheat flour and bread flour in separate bowl. Add 2 cups of flour mixture to oats mixture and combine well. Continue adding flour mixture to mixing bowl by ½ cup increments until dough pulls together. This will happen when between 5 ½ & 6 cups of flour has been added. You may not need the last ½ cup of flour.
  4. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Or add your bread hook to your mixer and knead for a few minutes.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hr. (I preheat the oven for about 5 minutes then turn it off, make sure it’s warm but not hot and put the bowl in there to rise, this seemed to work best because for this recipe is there is much more flour than yeast).
  6. Deflate the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place in 9 x 5 greased loaf pans and cover with damp cloth & let rise again until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. (I return the pans to the oven for this step too.)
  7. Preheat oven to 375. While oven is preheating mix milk and honey together in mug and microwave for about 20 seconds. Brush warm milk mixture over loaves and generously sprinkle with rolled oats.
  8. Bake loaves at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool before removing from pans.

** I use half bread flour and half All purpose flour, a total of up to 6 cups. Only because I don’t have wheat flour in my pantry yet.

Chicken Avocado Soup source: My friend Christina

1 1/2 TBS olive oil

1 white onion, diced fairly big

8 cloves garlic, minced

2-4 jalapeno, sliced

1 Qt. chicken stock

chicken breast, diced; or I use leftover chicken and shred it

1/4 c fresh lime juice

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

salt and pepper to taste

cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Saute jalapeno and onion for 3-4 minutes and garlic and saute another minute or so. Stir in chicken stock, chicken, lime juice, salt and pepper. Gently simmer until chicken is done. In the last few minutes of cooking add avocado and cilantro. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve with flour tortillas.

Flour Tortillas:

Ingredients:

1 3/4 c All purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 c Hot water

1/4 c shortening, butter, or lard (using butter tastes better than shortening but tortillas get hard quick)

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter until flour mix resembles a coarse mill. Add hot water mix until just combined.Knead for 3 minutes. Dough should be fairly stiff but easy to work with. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Roll each ball out super thin. Cook on a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When cooking tortillas bubbles should form on top, once top starts to form bubbles flip tortilla and allow to cook until light brown circles form on the 2nd side. Place cooked tortillas in a tortilla warmer or in a clean kitchen towel wrapped in foil. Serve immediately while they are warm.

For her party I made 4 different types of pizza, cheese, pepperoni, sausage and buffalo chicken along with a side salad. She wanted a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and roses on her cake. This is what I came up with. I am pretty proud but let me tell you buttercream frosting is not my friend in August. It was so soft that I had to put it in the freezer to cool it down enough just so I could frost the darn thing. It was good and oh so pretty if I do say so myself. Cierra loved it too, that’s all that really matters anyway right?!

Strawberry Layer Cake
Yield: 3 x 8″ round layers

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups (12 oz/350 g) granulated sugar

1 (3 oz/85 g) package strawberry flavored gelatin (such as Jell-O)

1 cup (8 oz/227 g) butter, softened

4 eggs (room temperature)

3 cups (10.5 oz/300 g) sifted cake & pastry flour

1 tablespoon (15 mL/17 g) baking powder

3/4 teaspoon (3.75 mL/5 g) salt

1 cup (236 ml/8 liquid oz) whole milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup (2 liquid oz/4.5 oz/130 g) strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (puree itself should be closer to room temp, not frozen or icy)

Method:

1. 1. If you’re making your own strawberry puree, remove frozen strawberries (about 2 handfuls) from freezer and place in a single layer in a flat dish to thaw slightly. Place into food processor and puree the strawberries until smooth. Stir to ensure it is nice and smooth and not icy. Measure out 1/4 cup for cake and 3 tablespoons for frosting, and freeze the remaining puree for another use.
2.Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter, line with parchment, and flour three round 8-inch pans, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the milk, strawberry puree, and the vanilla. Set aside.

4. Sift and whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy–about 5 minutes.

6. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with spatula.

7. Add the wet & dry ingredients to the creamed mixture by alternating–beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing just enough after each addition to incorporate, but not overmix.

8. Divide the batter in three, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh each pan filled with batter, to ensure 3 even layers.

9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cakes at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

10. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten day one.

Whipped Strawberry Frosting (or, shall we call it Strawberry Ice Cream Frosting?)

Ingredients:

3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (13 oz/375 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

4 cups sifted (18 oz/500 g) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk

1 1/2 teaspoon (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (if you want the frosting seed-free, you can put the puree through a sieve before adding to frosting)

Method

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4” on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except strawberry puree, and mix on low-speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Add strawberry puree (can be cool, but not frozen or icy) and mix until incorporated.

4. Best used right away, but can be covered in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

*I colored my frosting with Winton gel dye. A mix of red and pink.

Orange Chicken

23 Feb

Trying to save a bit of money lately by not going out so much but one of the things my husband misses about going out, or ordering in I should say, is Orange Chicken. So I went to one of my favorite blogs to see if Annie has made any orange chicken. Yup she has. I can always rely on her blog if I need a good recipe. Anyway, I made it last night and it was so good. I never get orange chicken when we eat Chinese food but like I said it’s one of my husbands must-haves. Since I don’t have any reference point I can’t say that it’s better than the one at a fast food joint but I’m betting it probably is 🙂

 

Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

For the marinade and sauce:

¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth

¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

6 tbsp. white vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. cold water

8 thin strips orange peel (optional)

For the coating and frying:

3 large egg whites

1 cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups peanut or canola oil

Directions:

To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well.  Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag.  Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well.  Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.  Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth.  Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce.  Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy.  In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend.  Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels.  Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat.  Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F.  Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking.  Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces.  Serve over rice, if desired.

**My notes:

I used 1/2 cup fresh orange juice because I only had 2 oranges, I used 1 cup chicken broth to make up for not having enough orange juice. I omitted the orange zest because my husband doesn’t really like that in his orange chicken.

You could double the sauce recipe if you like a little extra sauce to drizzle over you rice. This recipe makes just enough for 3 chicken breast.

Source: Annie-Eats

 

Chicken and Dumplings

8 Feb

Well a couple of weeks ago I made Chicken and Dumplings for dinner and had plenty of leftovers for another meal. I froze the rest in a Ziplock Freezer bag and defrosted it today for dinner tonight. I love when I don’t have to make dinner when I’ve been out all day and when the boys have a basketball game at night. It’s a no brainer. This recipe was really good and you can leave out the dumplings if you want and you will have a great chicken soup. I modified the recipe a little I didn’t have dry sherry on hand so  I just substituted chicken broth. There are a lot of ingredients but nothing crazy and there are a lot of steps but I think it’s worth it especially when you can get 2 meals out of it.

Lighter Chicken and Dumplings adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, September 2009 serves 6

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (about 2 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped fine (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 celery rib, chopped fine (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dried sherry or dry white wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley

For the dumplings

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 5 minutes
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook until skin is crisp and well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and brown on second side, 5 to 7 minutes longer; transfer to large plate. Discard all but 1 teaspoon fat from pot.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in sherry or wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in broth and thyme. Return chicken thighs, with any accumulated juices, to pot and add chicken wings. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until thigh meat offers no resistance when poked with tip of paring knife but still clings to bones, 45 to 55 minutes (as a side note, when I halved this recipe it only took 35-40 minutes to reach this point).
  3. Remove pot from heat and transfer chicken to cutting board. Allow broth to settle 5 minutes, then skim fat from surface using wide spoon.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin. Using fingers or fork, pull meat from chicken thighs (and wings, if using) and cut into 1-inch pieces. Return meat to pot
  4.  Whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps; whisk in egg white. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl.
  5. Return stew to simmer; stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using greased tablespoon measure (or #60 portion scoop), scoop level amount of batter and drop over top of stew, spacing about ¼ inch apart (you should have about 24 dumplings). Wrap lid of Dutch oven with clean kitchen towel (keeping towel away from heat source) and cover pot. Simmer gently until dumplings have doubled in size and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 13 to 16 minutes. Serve immediately.

A couple of weeks ago I made Chicken and Dumplings for dinner. The recipe makes a big batch and we had plenty of leftovers for another meal. I froze the remaining in a Ziplock Freezer bag and defrosted it today for dinner tonight. I love when I don’t have to make a dinner on days when I’ve been out and when I know that the boys have a basketball game. Here is the recipe, I used chicken broth instead of the sherry because I didn’t have any in the house when I made this. Really good recipe there are a lot of ingredients and quite a few steps but I think that it is worth it for a good bowl of dumplings, plus you can leave out the dumplings and you have a really good chicken soup with a lot of flavor.

Source:

Pink Parsley

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