Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Honey Glazed Chicken

Make sure to plan enough time for this meal. It is super easy, it just takes a long time to bake. It takes about an hour just to cook not including prep time. If you are short on time you can increase the heat to 375 after baking for 30 minutes. Then pour the sauce on and increase heat and cook another 15-20 minutes.

Honey Glazed Chicken

2 lbs. diced uncooked chicken breast (1 used 3 breasts)
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. butter

4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. honey
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger

Heat oven to 350. In a shallow dish combine the flour and seasonings. Dip each piece of thicken in flour mixture and coat evenly.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in shallow baking dish, large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer. Arrange chicken in pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 4 Tbsp. butter, then add honey, lemon juice, soy sauce and ginger.

After chicken has baked 30 minutes, turn each piece over and pour sauce mixture evenly over chicken. Bake another 30 - 40 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Root Beer Cookies

Yes, I know, it has been almost 2 weeks since I posted. I have been out of town on a much needed vacation. I thought I would post something sweet to get things going again.

Root Beer Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. rootbeer extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water (optional--only use if dough is too dry)

Cream butter and dark brown sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the rootbeer extract. Whisk dry ingredients together. Add a little at a time to the creamed mixture. Add the water only if the dough is too dry. It should be sticky. 

Chill for at least an hour. Roll into small balls (about 1" diameter). Place them far enough apart so they can spread without touching each other.

Whether you roll them or scoop them, flatten the tops a bit before you bake them if you like the cookies to be flatter. If not, it's fine. They are good a little thicker, too. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway through.

Rootbeer Frosting:

1 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. rootbeer extract
a few tablespoons hot water

Beat butter on high with an electric mixer until it is fluffy. Add a little powdered sugar and the rootbeer extract. Beat until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar alternately with a little hot water until a nice spreading consistency has been reached.

Frost the cooled cookies and let stand for the frosting to set up. (I made my cookies into sandwich style with the frosting in the middle.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pasta

This dish has such a great unique flavor and very easy to make. 

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
1 red onion, diced
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces penne pasta
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat (you could also use a large pot if you don’t have a skillet this big). When hot, add the chicken and onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the water, chicken broth, penne and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is almost absorbed, the pasta is tender and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Stir in the barbecue sauce and sour cream. Once mixed, add in the reserved chicken, onions and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook until everything is heated through.

Serve immediately and garnish with additional red or green onions and shredded cheese.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Puffed French Toast with Cinnamon Syrup

I made a bunch of these and sliced the bread into sticks and cooked them as directed but left off the last step of dipping in the cinnamon sugar. I placed them in the freezer and take them out every so often. Just pop them in the oven at about 450 for 9-10 minutes or until crispy. Then put on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Then dip them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. They are just as good as the first time.

Puffed French Toast
Recipe by

2 eggs
2 ½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil (not olive oil) over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour, and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it's just right.

Working quickly, take each 1/2 slice of bread and soak both sides in the milk/egg/flour mixture. If you leave it in too long, it will get soggy, but you want to make sure enough of the egg mixture has soaked into the bread. Gently shake to remove excess batter and place in hot oil. Cook until puffed, golden brown, and a nice, crispy crust has formed on each side (probably 3-5 minutes per side; you really need to babysit them and make sure they're cooking correctly) and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. While cooking remaining French toast, keep cooked pieces warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature it will go.

When ready to serve, roll each piece in cinnamon sugar

Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. water

Stir together dry ingredients in a small saucepan. Then add water and vanilla. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often. Continue boiling and stir until mixture thickens to syrup consistency. About 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

This is incredibly easy and fast to make, not to mention very good. Of course coming from a Cook's Country magazine it in guaranteed to be good. I don't think I have ever made anything from them that I didn't like.

To toast the almonds, place in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken
Serves 4

3/4 c. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. sour cream
2 tsp. fresh tarragon (I used about 1/2 - 3/4 tsp of dried)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.) pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted (see note)

Combine mustard, honey, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Transfer 1/2 c. mustard mixture to a separate bowl and stir in sour cream and tarragon: set aside.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Grill over hot fire until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter, brush with remaining mustard mixture, and sprinkle with almonds. Serve, passing sour cream mixture separately.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

All Purpose Cornbread

This cornbread is so moist and delicious it is difficult to resist. I can get my boy to do just about anything if I bribe him with this cornbread. He devours it. A warning though, keep it refrigerated, and if you don't eat it all in the first day, I suggest you freeze it. It goes bad quickly.

All Purpose Cornbread
Makes one 8-inch square pan

Before preparing the baking dish or any of the other ingredients, measure out the frozen corn kernels and let them stand at room temperature until thawed. When corn is in season, fresh cooked kernels can be substituted for the frozen corn. This recipe was developed with Quaker yellow cornmeal; a stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal will work but will yield a drier and less tender cornbread. We prefer a Pyrex glass baking dish because it yields a nice golden-brown crust, but a metal baking dish (nonstick or traditional) will also work. The cornbread is best served warm; leftovers can be wrapped in foil and reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

1½ cups (7½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (5½ ounces) yellow cornmeal (see note)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter (no substitutes), melted and cooled slightly

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl until combined; set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender, process the buttermilk, thawed corn kernels, and brown sugar until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the eggs and process until well combined (the corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

3. Using a rubber spatula, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour the wet ingredients into the well. Begin folding the dry ingredients into the wet, giving the mixture only a few turns to barely combine; add the melted butter and continue folding until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish; smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes; invert the cornbread onto the wire rack, then turn right-side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.

Recipe source: America's Test Kitchen

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Baked Chimichangas

Any time I ask my husband for suggestions on what to make for dinner, these chimichangas are usually the first or second thing he says.So I like to keep some on hand. I will make a bunch of them and keep them in the freezer for those days where I just don't feel like cooking, which is often recently. 

Baked Chimichangas
8 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, pork or beef (1 1/2 cups)
1 (8 oz.) jar salsa
1 (16 oz.) can fat free refried beans
1 (4 1/2 oz.) can diced green chili peppers, drained
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions
4 oz. reduced fat Monterey jack cheese or cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
8 (8 to 9 inch) flour tortillas
Topping suggestions:
Fat free sour cream
Green onions

Using 2 forks, shred cooked meat. In a large skillet combine meat, salsa, beans, chili peppers, and the green onions. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Stir in cheese (I don't really notice the cheese in there, so I ususally leave it out or serve on the side as a topping).

Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil; warm in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. For each chimichanga, spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture on tortialla, near 1 edge. Fold in sides; roll up.

Place in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and tortillas are crisp and brown. Serve with suggested toppings. Makes 8 servings.

*Freezing directions: To prepare, wrap the unbaked chimichangas individually in foil. Place in freezer containers. Seal, label, and freeze for up to 6 months.

*To bake: Place frozen chimichangas in a baking dish, still in foil. Bake on 350 for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until brown and crispy. You can also thaw them in the refridgerator overnight. If thawed, bake 30 minutes still in foil. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Nutritional Info per serving: 258 calories, 9 g fat, 37 g cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrates

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I came across this recipe recently and thought I would give it a shot for a party we were going to. It was very good. A warning though, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to make it because it requires you to cool the pasta and not rinse it with cold water. I didn't give myself enough time and ended up with lukewarm pasta. It still tasted great, it just would have been better cold. 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Recipe and photo source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Serves 6-8 as a side dish
1 pound tricolor pasta
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces, or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup diced red onion
¾ cup black or kalamata olives, sliced
2 teaspoons saute spice (equal parts black pepper, salt and garlic powder
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil to make a smooth dressing. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water (about 1 tablespoon kosher salt to 4 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then pour pasta into a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, pour a couple tablespoons of the dressing over the pasta and toss so that the pasta doesn’t stick together as it cools. Let it cool to room temperature, tossing now and again to help the cooling process and to prevent sticking.

When the pasta has cooled, add the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, basil, onion, olives, saute spice, and oregano and toss. Add the vinaigrette and toss again until the pasta ingredients are evenly coated. Add the cheeses and lightly toss. Chill until ready to serve.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Favorite Turkey Burger

This is a great alternative to beef hamburgers for this weekend if you are trying to watch your calorie intake. They are so flavorful and juicy.

Favorite Turkey Burger
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey (preferably 92 to 93 percent lean)
1/2 c. finely grated Gruyere cheese
4 thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c. dried breadcrumbs
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1 minced garlic clove
Salt and Pepper

Heat grill to high. In a medium bowl, use a fork to gently combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Gently form mixture into four 1 inch thick patties.

Lightly oil grill. Place patties on hottest part of grill, sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Move the patties to cooler part of the grill, continue grilling until cooked through, 5 to10 minutes per side.

Nutritional info per serving (without bun) calories 290, 9.7 g fat, 37.6 g protein, 7.1 g carbohydrates
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