Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crunchy Crock Pot Chicken

After a weekend of making soups and butters to restock my freezer and pantry, I was ready for some comfort food.  I channeled my inner-Minnesotan love for hot dishes and my cookbook file for this recipe to share.

Crunchy Crockpot Chicken
This is good served either with egg noodles or rice.

6 small Chicken breasts -- boned and skinned
1 can Cream of chicken soup
1  cup sour cream
1 cup frozen baby peas
1/4 small onion, chopped fine

1 tsp dehydrated celery flakes
3/4 cup milk
2 cups chow mein noodles

Brown chicken lightly and place in bottom of crock pot.  Mix peas into soup mixture and pour over chicken breasts.  Top with chow mein noodles and cook in crockpot for 1 hour on medium heat.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple Pear Butter

Fall is definitely in the air but it was a sunny day today.  I baked a large pumpkin and froze 8 - 1 cup packages and made some apple pear butter both of which made the house smell wonderful.

Apple Pear Butter

6 large pears, peeled, cored and diced
6 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 large Red Delicious Apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice

Peel, core and dice all fruit and put into slow cooker.  Cook on high for 1/2 hour and then turn down to low.  Cook until soft.  Run fruit through fruit mill and return to slow cooker.  Add in sugar and spices and cook until thickened.  Can while still hot.

Yield: 7 half pints

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Italian Bread

Soup and a slice of warm bread is the perfect meal on a cold and windy night.  I'm ignoring the carb content due to the weather and going to enjoy my potato and ham soup and italian bread.

Italian Bread

3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp bread machine active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil

1 large egg slightly beaten
1 tbsp water

Put flour, yeast, warm water, brown sugar, salt and olive oil in bread machine and set to dough setting.

When done, remove from machine and put on a baking stone that has a thin coating of corn meal.  Cut an inch deep down the length of the dough with a sharp knife.  Let rise for about a half hour in a warm area.

Brush top of bread with the mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1 tbsp water.  Bake until a golden brown.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mint Brownies & Frosting

Birthday time at work tomorrow again for a kindred spirit cookbook and cooking magazine coworker.  I decided to make her one of her favorite combinations ~ chocolate and mint.

Mint Brownies & Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup dark cocoa
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mint chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup mint chips, melted
1/3 cup dark cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Spread evening in an 8 x 8 greased pan.

Cool brownies.

Frosting - melt mint chips and mix into butter.  Add in whipping cream and vanilla and mix with hand mixer.  Add in cocoa and powdered sugar and beat for 3 minutes.

Servings: 16

Bake for  30 minutes at 325°F

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken

This is a super easy way to make chicken with lots of flavors.  This is a beginning picture at 10 a.m. this morning.

Crock Pot Chicken (you can double or triple recipe)

2 chicken breasts
4 apple smoked bacon slices
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup blackberries
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of your favorite bbq sauce

Wrap 2 slices of bacon around each chicken breast.  Mix the diced apple, blackberries, lemon juice and bbq sauce and then spread over top of breasts.
Bake on medium low setting for 5 hours.

Final outcome ~ I served on white rice

Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins hot from the oven

The aroma of fresh baked goods is a wonderful experience, especially when cinnamon is involved.  These muffins have a cinnamon streusel topping and cinnamon chips inside.  Double the flavor.  A treat for your eyes when just out of the oven and the little pockets of molten cinnamon chips are visible on top of the muffin.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins

1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup  sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup cinnamon chips

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp butter, softened

Mix together pumpkin, buttermilk, canola oil and egg.  Add in white sugar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Hand mix in 1/2 cup cinnamon chips.   Fill each muffin cup 1/2 full.

Mix together brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and butter to make the streusel.  Sprinkle on top of muffin batter.
Servings: 12

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles & Cinnamon Syrup

I think I should spend some time decorating my home in a fall theme since it has taken over the kitchen.  Tonight I made pumpkin waffles to try something new and different.  They were so good that I'm looking forward to making this recipe over and over.  I'm glad now I bought the new liquid freezer containers for the extra syrup that I made.  The waffles and syrup were the perfect compliment for each other.

Pumpkin Waffles

1 cup pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 dash nutmeg

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  In a larger bowl, combine pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and buttermilk.  Add in egg whites.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Bake as per waffle manufacturers instructions.

Servings: 8

Cinnamon Syrup

1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 cup evaporated milk

In a large saucepan, mix together corn syrup, sugar, water and spices.  Bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir in evaporated milk.  Serve warm

Crock Pot Chili ~

I'm getting ready for the cooler temperatures forecasted for next week and what better way to do that than with chili. 

Crock Pot Chili

1 - 15 oz can Light Red Kidney Beans, drained
1 - 15 oz can Cannellini White Kidney Beans, drained
1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce, no salt added
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, cooked
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
chili powder to taste
1 tsp oregano

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Add all ingredients to crock pot.  Cover and cook on low 4 hours. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Caramel Apple Butter & Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Fall is in the air and it's my favorite season for weather and the harvest of fruits and vegetables.  Here's a snack that I like to make and I give the caramel apple butter as gifts.

Caramel Apple Butter

3 lbs apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
25 caramel candies (about 1 ounce)

Put chopped apples into a crockpot with water and lemon juice.  Cook until apples are tender. Puree apples in a food mill or food processor.

Add sugar and bring to a low boil.  Add spices.  Add in caramels and stir well.

Put into clean, dry jars leaving 1/2" head space.  Put into boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Great with caramel apple butter.

8 small Flour tortillas
3 tbsp butter melted
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut flour tortillas like a pizza into 8 wedges.  Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 5 minutes at 325°F

The cute bowls are from the Food Network Store.  I can't say I recommend them.  They look nice but they do not stack very well at all so they take up way too much cupboard space.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Iced Orange Muffins

I've wanted to make an orange muffin/cupcake to expand upon a family orange cookie recipe that is one of my favorites.

Iced Orange Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated orange peel

Beat egg whites until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add in orange juice and vanilla.  Add in egg yolks.  Gently fold in beaten egg whites.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Bake for 15 minutes at 325°F or until tops are a light golden brown.  Let cool and then ice.  Makes 12 jumbo muffins

Orange Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp orange rind
2 tsp melted butter
1 tbsp Patron Citronge (optional but fun)
orange juice to spread

A different ricotta meatballs

I already came up with one recipe for ricotta meatballs but I substituted hot Italian sausage for ground pork this time for a different taste.

Ricotta Meatballs

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
1 lb hot Italian sausage

1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together until completely blended.  I fried them in a light olive oil in a pan that I had used to heat my onions and garlic in for my sauce and then I let them finish cooking in my favorite pasta sauce.

Serve on your favorite pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sunday, September 4, 2011

White, international pizza

It started out as a simple dinner.  A white pizza with a variety of cheeses using local products.  I did make the exception for garlic infused olive oil which came from Italy, which it should. 

Next came ricotta.  Made in Minnesota...we're off to a good start.

Fresh mozzarella and feta cheeses...made in Wisconsin.  They're a cheese state and proudly wear cheese hats at football games.  Makes sense to me, plus they're relatively close.

Parmesan wedge...another Minnesota product - score!

Now we come to the fresh oregano.  My plant is still in the infancy stage and if I took what I needed, it would be depleted.  I picked up some oregano at the grocery store and the front of the package says a city in Minnesota. 
Now here's the part that was frustrating.  I opened the package of oregano and noticed on the back side it says - product of Columbia.  What?  I had visions of little Scandinavian children in a Minnesota sweat shop packaging up Columbian oregano in little plastic packages with large mosquitoes hovering and waiting to suck their souls due corporate greed.

I know that the growing season is short with 9 months of winter and 2 months of flooding but still there are green houses.  I have seen them.  They do exist. 

Here's a picture of my pizza ~

Edited to add ~ the pizza recipe is simple

I spread out the dough to the edges of the pan and applied a thin coating of the garlic infused olive oil.  Toppings were 1 cup ricotta, 2 oz feta cheese, 1 fresh mozzarella ball, 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp fresh oregano.  Baked at 350°F until a golden brown.

Long, relaxing weekend

Cheese curds.  Usually these are found at state fairs and made so unhealthy but delicious.  I had a package of them in my refrigerator and I originally wanted to do a beer batter on them.  Then I thought about the fat content, oil smell throughout the house, the settlement of them on my hips and thighs and decided to come up with a healthier version.  There aren't the prettiest but they are tasty.

Baked Cheese Curds

1 pkg white cheddar cheese curds - 12 oz
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt & pepper for your taste

Mix egg in a separate bowl.  Mix together flour, Panko and spices in a 2nd bowl.  Dip cheese curds one by one into the egg mixture and then in the flour mixture and put on a piece of parchment paper in a baking sheet.  Do this to every curd and then put tray in freezer for at least 4 hours.

Bake at 400°F.  Turn after 10 minutes and then bake until cheese is almost oozing out of the crumb casing.