Saturday, April 30, 2011

April showers bring May snow?

Yes, it's in the forecast again for tonight.  It's supposed to be a wet, cooler summer and I'm longing to bring out the grill.  The grill is great, especially the part with less dishes to wash.  With the temperature at 43, wind gusts to 28 mph and occasional sprinkles, I cooked dinner inside. 

Zesty chicken bites

You can make this with any of your favorite types of potato chips and dipping sauce.

2 lbs chicken breasts, cubed
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
3 cups Jalapeno Kettle Cooked potato chips, crushed

1. Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces.  Whisk together egg and milk with a fork.  Crush the potato chips into a plastic bag (quart size works best).

2. Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture and then place in bag and shake.  Do only a piece or two at a time.

3. Place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheets or on an Anolon crisper which works awesome.

4. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

5. Serve with your favorite sauce.

I'm off to curl up with a fleece blanket on the couch and watch season 1 of Treme.
Have a good (and warm) evening ~

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's finally Spring!

And my indoor oregano is making an appearance.  This is my 3rd herb plant that I'm attempting to grow.  So far I have successfully kept parsley and rosemary alive in my tiny kitchen.  My parents are fantastic gardeners.  Unfortunately it is not hereditary.  They have had gigantic gardens all well kept and I grow weeds.  Indoor gardening seems a better alternative for me.

Here's a recipe that is perfect for a hockey playoff party or any gathering ~

Sour Dough Cheese Bread

1 loaf sour dough bread, round
1/2 cup butter melted
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
6 ounces pepper jack cheese cut into thin slices

1. Melt butter and mix in garlic powder and parsley.

2. Cut sour dough bread into 1" squares by making slices all in one direction and then all the other direction.  Do not cut below 1/2" from the bottom.

3. Place cheese slices in each of the cuts.

4. Pour butter mixture over top.

5. Wrap in foil and bake covered for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.

6. Serve warm.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Oven Temperature: 325°F

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lemon Bread

Here's a little bit of sunshine on a mostly cloudy day ~

Lemon bread

1/2 cup butter. softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon peel
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup lemon bits (King Arthur Flour), optional
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 dash lemon bits, sprinkled on top

1. Mix together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs, milk and lemon juice.  Mix in sour cream.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.

2. Pour into greased loaf pan.

3. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.  When cool, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Sprinkle a dash of lemon bits on top for decoration.

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Oven Temperature: 325°F

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Whiskey Cheese Ball

Today is National Cheese Ball day so I'm sharing a recipe I created a couple weeks ago and shared with my co-workers to taste test ~

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp Jack Daniels or your favorite whiskey
1/2 cup peanuts, finely chopped

1. Mix together softened cream cheese and shredded pepper jack cheese.  Add in whiskey.  Add in onion flakes and spices, mix well.

2. Roll into a ball in the same bowl that you used for mixing.  Cover with plastic wrap.  You can use the plastic wrap to help mold the cheese into a ball.

3. Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Remove plastic wrap and roll into crushed peanuts.

4. Wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  Remove from refrigerator and let warm up 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta

Lately I've been craving pears in any form except a can.  Since the weather refuses to turn to Spring like the calendar says it is, I decided to make a Spring bruschetta.

3 D'Anjou pears, cut into thin slices
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Melt the butter in the bottom of a sauce pan.  Add in pears and cook slowly until they start to soften.  Let some of the juice from the pears cook down.  Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon.

While that is cooking, slice ciabatta or french bread into 1/4" thick pieces.  Bake until golden brown on both sides.

Now for the creamy goodness that holds it all together ~
2 oz cream cheese, warmed so you can mix it
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tsp honey
1 dash nutmeg

Assemble and enjoy ~

Zesty Pasta Sauce

The beginning ~
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 cherry pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 pound extra lean ground beef
dash extra virgin olive oil
Heat olive oil and add in veggies to gently soften.  After a few minutes, add in hamburger. 
You know how on all the cooking shows they show whole tomatoes being crushed by hand into the pasta sauce?  I can't recommended it.  They have people that actually come in and clean up after them and odds are that you do not.  Diced tomatoes work just fine.

After all the veggies have softened, add in ~

56 ounces diced tomatoes
15 ounces tomato sauce
12 ounces tomato paste
3/4 cup water
Now on to the spices ~
1 tsp chili powder (yes, chili powder)
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 dashes hot sauce
2 bay leaves
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup of your favorite wine (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Let simmer until all the flavors have delightfully melded together.  Freeze leftovers in meal size portions.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rainy Sunday Butter Peach Crisp

Today is a day of river watching to see if it's truly crested or if the thunderstorms and wind are going to cause more flood problems.

Since being outdoors is out of the question with a growing lake in my backyard, I headed to my woman cave and blasted some Alice Cooper while making this recipe to share.

Butter Peach Crisp

5 cups peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2  cup water
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter melted

1. Place sliced peaches in a greased 9" square pan.

2. Mix first five ingredients together and stir into peaches.

3. Sift remaining ingredients (not the butter) together, add the beaten egg and stir until crumbly.  Sprinkle over top of the peach mixture.

4. Drizzle melted butter over topping.

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Oven Temperature: 325°F

It's difficult to get nice pictures on a rainy day. 


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easy Chicken Tenders

5 chicken tenders
1 large egg slightly beaten
2 tbsp milk

1 dash hot sauce
1 cup stuffing mix, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together milk, hot sauce and egg.  Put the stuffing mix in a separate bowl.  Dip chicken tenders into egg mixture, roll in stuffing mix and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Lightly salt and pepper.

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Oven Temperature: 325°F

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/4" rounds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp  cumin
1/8 cup olive oil

1. After slicing sweet potatoes, I prefer to use a crinkle cutter to help retain the spices, put into a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil.  Mix all of the spices together and sprinkle over the slices.  Toss gently.

2. Spread out a 10 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper.

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350°F