Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Engagement Roast Chicken

 Engagement Roast Chicken
from Ina Garten (slightly adapted)

1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons
1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
Good olive oil
2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.
Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.
Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

{cooks note}
I have been buying these whole fryer chickens at Costco lately because they are .79 a pound.  They do take a little more effort to prep for cooking, but SO worth it.  The flavor is amazing.  I try and cook a couple at a time so I can just pick off all the meat at once and either use it that week or freeze it for later.  I got this particular recipe from Ina Garten.  It's wonderful.  If you want to roast chicken for normal everyday recipes like Hawaiian haystacks, enchiladas, etc. then just lightly coat with olive oil and salt and pepper the inside and out.  I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment paper because my chicken started to stick to the bottom of my pan.  It worked like a charm.  Also, you may want to cut back on the salt. 

I used my roast pan.  I didn't have one of these bad boys until my husband got a free one at work 4 years ago.  I really like it. 
 Place the chicken in the roast pan.
 Season the inside with salt...
 and pepper.
 Add cut up lemons.  Sorry for the fuzzy pictures that follow.  My camera was acting up.
 Stuff in your garlic.
 Tie the legs together.  I used twine I used for wrapping packages because I didn't have any baker's twine.  It worked just the same.
 Tuck the wings under...
 like so.
 Rub olive oil all over.
 Season the top with salt and pepper.
 Mix the remainder of your cut up lemons with sliced onions, olive oil and salt and pepper.
 Add them to the pan and bake.
A tender juicy chicken ready to be devoured.  I served mine with fingerling potatoes and roasted vegetables.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich

1 loaf of ciabatta bread (or any other bread to satisfy your needs)
2-3 tomatoes
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
deli ham, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bread in half length wise and broil on high just until it starts to turn light brown.  Add mozzarella cheese to one half and layer the top with tomatoes.  On the other half, layer with sliced ham and fresh basil.  Add salt and pepper and put in the oven just until the mozzarella starts melting and bubbles.  Combine the two halves and slice.  


{cooks note}

I threw this sandwich together a few weeks ago after finding some seriously soft ciabatta bread at my local H.E.B.  Wow, it was really good.  I had all fresh ingredients for this, which I highly recommend.  I added some thinly sliced deli ham to satisfy my husbands need for meat on a sandwich.  We had previously had this pizza, so I was able to incorporate all of the ingredients again for another great meal a few days later.

I kept a few of the sandwiches open faced for a little variety.  Unfortunately, my children turned their noses at this and ate peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

I can't even imagine how much better this would taste with garden tomatoes.  Someday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fudge Brownies

This brownie recipe is a definite keeper in my book  They are rich and gooey and oh so good.  I added ganache to mine because who doesn't like a little ganache.

Fudge Brownies
from Kelsey's Kitchen

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Combine the melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Gradually stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until blended.  Stir in the chocolate morsels.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove, and cool on wire rack before cutting.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat cream in double boiler until just before it boils.  Take off heat and add vanilla and chocolate.  Stir with wire whisk until smooth.  Pour over baked brownies and serve.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Smokey Bleu Cheese Burger

Whenever we have gone to Red Robin lately, my husband has been getting their Bleu Ribbon Burger.  It is SO good, so I wanted to try and recreate it at home.  Warning:  if you do not like bleu cheese, you will not like this at all.  I had no hamburger buns, so I used this recipe and it worked great.  I wouldn't ever use the recipe for rolls, though.  I think I will be making homemade buns from now on. There is nothing tricky to this recipe, except you need to have a good quality bleu cheese.  I bought a Smokey Bleu Cheese from Costco.  I have no idea what brand it was, but it was with all of the specialty cheeses and it was still in a triangle.  I highly recommend something smokey for these burgers.

I used a biscuit cutter to cut my dough out.  Very easy and helpful when wanting to get perfect circles. 

Roll the dough out so it is fairly thick.  I would say mine was about 1/2"-1" thick.  Stack two round pieces of dough on top of each other and roll until you get your desired size.  Mine was about 3 1/2" in diameter.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet and let rise for about 45 minutes.

When they are done cooking, brush with butter and let cool. 
Now on to the burger.

I had no regular lettuce, so I used a spring mix I had with spinach.  It turned out really well.  I layered our burgers with the spring mix, sliced tomato, smokey bleu cheese, hamburger with A1 sauce cooked into it, barbecue sauce and the homemade bun.

Bon Appetit!

Smokey Bleu Cheese Burger

1 1/2-2 pounds hamburger meat
Smokey Bleu Cheese
Barbecue sauce
Hamburger buns, sliced in half
A1 sauce
Other hamburger toppings of your choice

There really is no recipe for this.  I did nothing special to my meat.  I shaped it and put a little fresh ground pepper and Lawry's Seasoning Salt on both sides.  Grill the meat and add A1 Steak Sauce to it as you are grilling.  When finished grilling, assemble the hamburgers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recipes: Out With The Old, In With The New

This is one of my recipe binders.  I love this binder from russell+hazel that my husband gifted me a few Christmas's back.  It's full.  Too full. 

Every few months, I pull out my binders and take out the recipes that didn't work and add the one's that did.  I have one whole binder dedicated just to sweets.  I've pretty much stopped buying recipe books.  I'm pretty picky about them.  I like each recipe to have a picture that goes along with it.  Sometimes, that is hard to find. Unless you are awesome like her.  I've found the internet to be my one big virtual cookbook.  

I use page protectors for a variety of reasons.  They wipe clean if I should spill food on them, I can put a recipe on each side and they hold up really well.

Another view.  I have mine categorized.  For my "main dishes" section, I categorize the chicken dishes together, the beef, pork and so on.  This is what works for me.

I really like the band that goes around to secure it shut.

Since I can't afford to have multiple binders like this, I have used this as an alternative.  MUCH cheaper and still looks really good.  It's there for your downloading pleasure.  What do you think?  What works for you?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice
from Favorites

1 large tomato
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons onion
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together in blender; set aside

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup rice (white, or brown or combination)
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes

Heat olive oil in large skillet and fry rice until brown.  Add tomato mixture and simmer until some of the moisture evaporates.  Mix in 2 cups water and bouillon cubes and bring to a rapid boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.


{cooks note}

I make this rice with every Mexican dish I make.  I personally like using Basmati rice over long white rice because of the non-sticky texture.  This is very easy to make in large quantities if you are serving a lot of people.  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
from my sister Chelsea

2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
5-6 green onions
Yoshida's teriyaki sauce (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ginger
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Cut as much fat off of your chicken as you can.  Place in a container.  Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the chicken.  Let marinate overnight.  It's best to let it marinate for 24 hours.  When ready, grill chicken and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top.  


{cooks note}

This is such a simple meat to prepare and everyone will love it.  If you can't find Yoshida's sauce (like me) then substitute with soy sauce.  I used Kikkoman's soy sauce.  To me, it tastes less salty.  Start out using 1 cup and go up from there if you think it tastes alright.  You can also add some water to dilute it a bit.  I know a lot of Costco's carry Yoshida's (not mine), so get that if you can.  Also, you can use any cut of chicken you would like, but the wings are full of flavor and fairly cheap. I got a 6.5 pound bag of boneless chicken thighs at Costco for $11.39.  That's roughly $1.75 a pound.  If you buy the one's with the bone on, they are much cheaper. I just don't like dealing with the bone when I have kids to prepare for.

Marinating in the sauce.

Cooking on the grill.  Cooking time will vary.  We cooked these on a grill at the park using charcoal.  I think a gas grill would cook them much faster.  Either way, just watch the meat to determine when you think they are done.

Only cook once on each side.  Don't keep flipping your meat.  This will prevent it from drying out.  

This meat makes everyone happy.  Get ready for summer my friends, it's just around the corner.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hootenanny Pancake

Hootenanny Pancake
from Favorites

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter

Beat together eggs, flour, milk and salt for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place 1/2 cup butter in a 9"x13" glass baking dish.  Put in hot oven just long enough to melt butter.  Remove and pour beaten egg mixture into hot butter.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  Pancake will "grow" up sides of pan.  Cut into slices and top with powdered sugar and fresh strawberries, or maple syrup.


{cooks note}

Don't you love the name of this dish?  If you aren't familiar with it, it's comparable to German pancakes.  This is one of our favorite things to make for dinner when we want breakfast.  It's easy and so good.  I like to bake mine in glass pie plates...because that is how my mom does it.  For one recipe you will divide the batter up between two plates, if that is how you want to bake them.  A 9"x13" will work just fine too.  I also use half the butter it calls for in this recipe.  Adding 1/4 cup of butter to each pie plate seemed a little extreme.  If you like lot's of butter, by all means, go for it.

I realize the photos are horrible on this post.  I tried everything in my power to get them to look better, but I'm  only able to work with Picasa right now.  I still decided to post despite the fact that they either look too bright (no flash either) or too yellow looking.  BUT the pancakes are yellow, so that was part of the problem.

On this particular night, I doubled the recipe.

Melt the butter in the oven when you are mixing the batter so it is ready to go when the batter is done.

Pour batter evenly among your plates, or add all of the batter to a 9"x13" pan.

Believe it or not, this pancake had fallen quite a bit after I had taken it out of the oven. I couldn't grab my camera fast enough.  They rise a lot in the oven and your kids will think they are the coolest thing ever.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Love At First Sight

A while back I discovered an apron or two that I absolutely fell in love with.  I asked my mom to try and recreate one of the aprons for me.  She said in a week.  I patiently waited and then I started to bug.  She said it was finished and she mailed it off.  I waited some more.  Then, when my son's birthday package arrived from her, I thought surely it would be in there.  Nope.  I called her.  She tried changing the subject.  Then this weekend I got a package in the mail.  It wasn't from my mom, but there was the most beautiful simple high waisted apron inside.  I was smitten.  My aunt found out that my mom was going to make it and decided to take action.  She said it was the wedding present we never got.  It was the best wedding present ever...well worth the 7 1/2 years of waiting.  wink. wink.  I love the simplicity of it.  It's perfect in every way.
I am aware that my face is not in the pictures.  Let's just say it wasn't a good day for my face. One of these days I will make my debut.  Maybe.  I am also aware that there are wrinkles in the apron from being is made of linen.  When I tore it from the package, I put it on immediately.  I knew I would be getting some serious wear from it, so I decided I had better take picture fast.  I have barely taken it off since I got it.
Side view.
A top button closure as well as a tie in the back.
The ties are even long enough to tie in the front. I love that!

Friday, March 12, 2010

S'more Cupcakes

S'more Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Bakerella

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup oil
6 jumbo marshmallows cut in half, plus more for decorating

Graham Cracker Crumb Topping
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together with a wire whisk.
Separate the mixture in half into two bowls.

Stir cocoa into one bowl and graham cracker crumbs into the other.
Add 1/2 cup milk, one egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup oil to the cocoa mixture and beat on medium until combined.
Repeat adding the same ingredients to the graham cracker crumb flour mixture.

Prepare the graham cracker crumb topping.
Add the brown sugar and crumbs into a small bowl and pour on the melted butter.  Stir until combined.

Pour a little graham cracker cake batter into the bottom of your baking cups and then sprinkle the topping mixture lightly on the surface.  
Place a marshmallow half on top and then cover the marshmallow with the chocolate cake batter until it is about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle with more topping mixture. 

Bake cupcakes for about 15 minutes.  Place a cookie sheet underneath when you bake just in case.  I had a little bit ooze over into the oven ... oops.

This recipe will make at least 12 cupcakes.  I had some batter from each left over so you can probably get more like 14-16.

Let cool and top with ganache.

Heat the cream on the stove in a double broiler.  Heat the cream until just before it boils.  Remove and pour over chocolate.  Stir until completely melted and smooth.  Pour over cupcakes and add one more marshmallow if you desire.  



{cooks note}

If you do not have a double boiler, you can make your own.  Heat up water in a saucepan and place a glass bowl over the top, making sure the water does not ever touch the bowl.  The ganache recipe originally called for butter too, but I didn't like how thin it turns out. Plus it adds way too much fat for my liking.  The cream and chocolate are the perfect combination for a ganache.

The ingredients.

The dry ingredients for the graham cracker batter.

I crush my graham crackers right in the bag.

The dry ingredients for the chocolate batter.

Just before you add the graham cracker crumbs for the crumb mixture.

I made these just before Valentine's Day, so I used these cupcake liners.

The graham cracker batter.  Fill about a 1/4 of the cup.

Add crumb mixture and half a jumbo marshmallow.

Add chocolate batter and some more graham cracker crumb mixture.

Hot out of the oven.  See the marshmallow still bubbling?  Yeah, baby.

You can use chocolate baking squares or these chocolate chips.  High quality chips is a must for ganache.

I weighed my chips since they weren't premeasured baking squares.

Once the ganache is finished, top the cupcake with a marshmallow and ganache.  Don't even think about how you are going to eat this giant of a cupcake, just do it.