Friday, March 19, 2010

Soft Cut Out Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sour cream
6 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

Roll 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes 'till just barely brown (do not overcook).

*So soft, the best sugar cookie I have ever had.  These cookies have become a tradition at our house as part of our Christmas deliveries.  However, being the start of spring, we decide to celebrate with new cookie cutters!  We made a color wheel of sorts by mixing the frostings to come up with the colors we wanted.  Lots of fun!  Makes about 5 dozen.

Ruth's Easy Herbed Lemon Chicken

4 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t sea salt (I used Kosher salt)
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2.  Arrange the chicken in an 8x8-inch baking dish.  In a cup, mix the thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice.  Pour over the chicken.
3.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink in the center when cut with a sharp knife.

(You can substitute basil or rosemary for the thyme.)

*I found this recipe in The Low-Carb Gourmet and was pleasantly surprised by a simple dish with ingredients I had on hand.  I used frozen chicken breasts and it took only a few minutes to prepare.  I great idea for a last minute meal.  I loved the lemon!  When I took the chicken out of the oven, I decided it would look better seared on a hot pan--so I did, but that of course if optional.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mexican Chicken

4 chicken breasts
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans
1 pkg taco seasons
2 cans green chilis
Cook in crock pot until chicken is cooked. Shred chicken and put back in crock pot. Serve with chips and sour cream or in a tortilla like a taco.

*I halved this recipe.  A very simple, easy, tasty meal.

Poached/Grilled/Broiled Salmon

Adapted from allrecipes


1/2 pound salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1.  Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
2.  In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Make a little foil packet for each fillet and close it up, leaving a little room for air to circulate inside. Bake the foil packets on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes.
*This salmon was delectable.  Very good with lemon and a little sprinkling of dill weed.  I actually cooked it for about 25 minutes, but I tried the frozen salmon fillets and the salmon may have not been completely defrosted.  An inexpensive way to eat salmon.  Serve with lemon wedges.

*I have made this salmon marinade two more times.  Once, I used my parent's grill (as suggested in the original allrecipe); they turned out a little dry, like blackened salmon, but still good.  The third time, I used a grill pan and this was my favorite.  Preheat the grill pan over high heat for about 10 minutes (put no oil on the pan while preheating).  Reduce the heat to medium.  Cook on each side (skin side up first) for 3 minutes.  Check to see whether the fish is opaque all along the cut edges.  If not, cook for a few seconds longer.

Rice Krispies Treats

6 cups rice krispies cereal
3 Tbs margarine
1 pkg (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
*Key: Use “fresh” marshmallows, add a little extra butter and marshmallows. Don’t use the full 6 cups of cereal.

*I like to use the microwave, melt margarine, then add the marshmallows.  Stir after 1 1/2 minutes, only microwave longer if the marshmallows don't melt most of the way.  Add cereal and press into a buttered 13x9 inch pan.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Apple-Maple Glazed Chicken

Apple-Maple Glazed Chicken

Serves 4.
When reducing the glaze in step 4, remember that the skillet handle will be hot; use an oven mitt. To make sure the chicken cooks evenly, buy breasts that are similar in size—about 12 ounces apiece. If the glaze looks dry during baking, add up to 2 tablespoons of juice to the pan. If your skillet is not ovenproof, brown the chicken breasts and reduce the glaze as instructed, then transfer the chicken and glaze to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and bake (don't wash the skillet). When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer it to a plate to rest and scrape the glaze back into the skillet to be reduced.

  1 1/2 cups apple cider plus an additional 2 tablespoons
  1/3 cup light corn syrup
  2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  Table salt and ground black pepper
  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each), ribs removed, trimmed of excess fat and skin (see note above)
  2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  1 medium shallot , minced (about 3 tablespoons)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk 1 1/2 cups apple cider, corn syrup, maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, pepper flakes, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in medium bowl. Place flour in pie plate, then season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working with one chicken breast at a time, coat chicken with flour, patting off excess.

2. Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chicken breasts skin-side down; cook until well browned and most of fat has rendered from skin, 8 to 14 minutes. (If after 3 minutes you don't hear definite sizzling, increase heat to medium-high. If after 6 minutes chicken is darker than lightly browned, reduce heat slightly.) Turn chicken and lightly brown other side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate.

3. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from pan. Add shallot and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add cider mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup (heatproof spatula should leave slight trail when dragged through glaze), 6 to 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and tilt to one side so glaze pools in corner of pan. Using tongs, roll each chicken breast in pooled glaze to coat evenly and place skin-side down in skillet.

4. Transfer skillet to oven and bake chicken until thickest part of breasts registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes, turning chicken skin-side up halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to platter and let rest 5 minutes. Return skillet to high heat (be careful-handle will be very hot) and cook glaze, stirring constantly, until thick and syrupy (heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons apple cider. Spoon 1 teaspoon glaze over each breast and serve, passing remaining glaze at table.

*This recipe seem like there are a lot of steps, but it isn't really too difficult.  We served this with mashed potatoes and the glaze made a sweet gravy to put on top.  I used regular boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Once, the kids had a bite, they all liked it.  Jeff wasn't a big fan of the shallots--they added a delicate onion flavor (he's not a fan of onions).  Personally, I thought they were perfect.  You could substitute with onions if you like, or just leave them out if your favorite person has an onion aversion.  I'll definitely be making this again.