Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tostada Goop

From This Week for Dinner

5 or 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream chicken soup
1 can chili peppers
1 chopped onion or less
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can black beans (just long enough to heat)

  (can cut into chunks now or cook whole then shred it up later, which is what I usually do)

Place all ingredients excpet beans into crock pot.  Cook on low all day long or until chicken is done.  Remove chicken.  Add the beans.  Shred chicken and return to crock pot.  Serve when beans are heated. 

Serve over tostadas with cheese, lettuce, guacamole, whatever you like.
*We ate these with homemade tostadas.  The tostadas themselves were a little too tough for me, but this meat mixture was good.  An easy meal that can be made into so many things.  I also really like Jane's more authentic guacamole; although my husband prefers the kind I usually make.  I'll mix up a batch of Jane's again and post that at a later day.  Her's uses less sour cream and dried minced onions.

Lemon Bread

Adapted from Allrecipes

Yummmm.  I love lemon and poppy seed.  Matched perfectly in a piece of cake they make me feel like royalty.  Treat yourself today.
6 T shortening
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t lemon lest
1/2 cup white sugar
1 lemon, juiced

1.  Wish together flour, salt, and baking powder.
2.  In a large bowl, cream shortening, 1 c sugar, and eggs together until light and fluffy. Add milk alternately with flour mixture in two parts; mix well. Stir in grated lemon rind. Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.                
3.  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
4.  Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and the juice of one lemon to make a glaze. Remove bread from pan.   Pook holes into bread.  Pour glaze over warm bread.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Very good meal--especially if your family likes Chinese food as my family does.  This is something I'll make again.

Note: if you like extra sauce, double the sauce ingredients – pour half over the chicken and follow the baking directions in the recipe and pour the other half in a small saucepan. Cook the sauce on the stovetop at a simmer for 8-10 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Serve it on the side of the chicken.

Serves 4-6

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes so it is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve over rice.

Tender Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples and Onions

4 bone-in pork loin chops (at least 1/2-inch thick)
2-3 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
1-2 yellow onions, sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2.  Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the onion slices in an even layer over the bottom of the dish. Top the onion slices with the apples. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the apples and onions.

3.  Season the pork chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the pork chops in a single layer on top of the apples and onions. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for three hours. Do not open the oven and lift the foil – the pork chops, apples and onions need to be tightly covered the whole time to work their magic (and not dry out).

4.  Serve each pork chop with Parmesan smashed potatoes and topped with the apples and onions.

*An easy meal without a lot of fuss or ingredients.  I really liked the apples and meat, though not my favorite way to eat a pork chop.  Does have a wonderful aroma to fill your home!

Refreshing Roll Dough

Taken from Toastmaster Bread Maker Guide
*We recieved our bread maker as a wedding gift and I've gotten lots of use from it, but until now, I hadn't ever tried this recipe.  I think the name doesn't do it justice--this is a recipe for sweet rolls.  These rolls rival the sweet rolls my mother-in-law taught me to make...wait, back mother-in-law's are better, but these are so simple that what you might miss in extra-sweetness, you compensate for in ease of making.  They didn't last long.

1 1/2 c water 80 degrees F
1/3 c oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t salt
4 1/2 c bread flour
2 t active dry yeast or 1 1/4 t bread machine yeast or 1 1/4 t quick rise yeast

1/4 c orange peel, grated
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c butter, melted

1.  Place ingredients into bread maker in order listed.  Set on dough setting.
2.  When maching beeps, place dough on a lightly floured surface.  Divide into pieces and shape.
3.  Combine orange peel and sugar.  Dip pieces in melted butter and then in orange peel-sugar mixture.
4.  Place coated side up in a greased baking pan.  Drizzle any remaining topping over rolls.  Cover and let rise in a warm place 1 hour or utnil double in size.
5.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until done.  Serve warm.

Banana Pancakes

From Allrecipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
4 T vegetable oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed

1.  Combine flour, while sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and bananas.

2.  Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.

3.  Heat a light oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

*We eat pancakes often on the weekends.  This was a fun mix-up from our usual plain or blueberry feast.  Great for when those bananas are ripening on the counter and are calling to be eaten!

Pancake Souffle Muffins with Jam

From Noble Pig

It's the middle of May and it's cold.  I needed a reason to turn on my oven (since I can think of turning on the furnace in the middle May!).  My children love anything that resembles breakfast food and muffins are the cream of the crop, so we thought we'd give these a try. 

Makes 24 muffins
Nonstick Cooking Spray
10.5 oz (2-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
4.5 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs) cake flour (I just used all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 oz (6 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
6 Tbs granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups buttermilk, room temperature
Confectioners sugar, jam, maple syrup
Position rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400o F. Liberally spray two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray. Don't miss a spot.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed to firm (but not dry) peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on the medium-high speed until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow, about 6 minutes. (This just looks pretty an decadent, I imagined myself working in a professional bakery while doing this.  It was lovely).

To the egg yokes, add the melted butter, sugar and vanilla; mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.

With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter, leaving some streaks. (The batter may be prepared up to this point up to 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Fill the muffin cups to the rim. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, about 20 minutes.

To remove muffins, gently swirl an offset spatula around each muffin and pop it out.

*We ate ours for lunch.  This is a bit more time intensive then I usually have patience for in the morning, but I could see it being done--perhaps if I ever managed to wake up 1 hour before my children with nothing else I wanted to do.  We ate them with homemade blackberry and strawberry jam, and of course my 6 year old had at least one of his with suryp.  Putting the jam inside made this more of a finger-food (yeah!).  The flavor of the muffins are very pancake-like, but they also remind me of a cream puff or eclair without the filling.  Cold days are for cooking and today I'm especially grateful for a toasty kitchen!

Fresh Asian Chicken Salad

*This is a delicious, hearty salad sure to satisfy any hungry appetite.  It cooks up fast and disappears every faster.  Can qualify for a healthy, simple meal any time.

Adapted from Kraft Foods

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing, divided
4 cups torn salad greens
1 or 2 navel oranges, peeled and sliced
1 cup diagonally sliced snow peas
2 carrots, cut into match-like sticks
1/2 c slivered almonds, toasted (I toasted them with butter and brown sugar...I'm mean why not?)

1.  Preheat grill.  Brush chicken with a couple tablespoons dressing.  Grill until done (165 degrees internal temp).
2.  While meat is cooking, combine, lettuce, oranges, veggies, and nuts. 
3.  Add chicken and drizzle with remaining dressing.

*Rather than drizzling the dressing all over the salad, I let everyone at my table add their own (my children think Ranch is the only dressing that can go on salad).  I really liked the sesame-ginger flavor of the dressing.  This is definitely a repeat recipe for my house.  My 6 and 4-year olds ate every last bit on their plates and my husband had at least 3 helpings.  This is definitely a meal I can feel good about.  The original recipe didn't grill the chicken so you can adapt this as needed for your family/day.

Zuppa Toscana

I borrowed this recipe from the blog of my good friend Christie.  My husband has always LOVED this soup from the Olive Garden and I've had intentions of finding a way to make it at home.  This was perfect, absolutely delicious!  In addition, it is really quite simple to make and the ingredients are low in number (though I have to admit I had never cooked with kale before).  Speaking of kale, I still have 1/2 a bunch of this spinach/lettuce/broccoli hybrid-like veggie remaining....any suggestions on how to use it?

5 c. chicken stock
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 medium potatoes (sliced thin)
2 c. chopped kale
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 pint cream
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage in a soup pot with a little olive oil. Add stock, potatoes, kale, red pepper, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes and kale are tender. Add the cream and let the soup simmer on low for 30+ minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.  Serve with breadsticks and salad.

*Just a few comments.  I used a combination of chicken broth and a chicken bullion cube with extra water.  It was great and I'm sure either would work on their own.  I used mild Italian sausage and with the red pepper flakes, it still had a nice spicey flavor, but I wouldn't mind trying hot Italian sausage.  This made more than I was expecting--would easily feed 4 to 6 hearty eaters.  So good, thank you, Christie!

An explaination....

So it's been awhile since I've posted a recipe...I'm tired of looking at those pork chops (even though they were delicious).  Believe it or not, I've got my reasons.  First, I've been without a properly working computer for more than a month.  Also, my camera needed to be replaced.  In addition, I made a couple of meals that were frankly AWEFUL, that of course threw me off my game.  And the real reason...we are expecting another baby.  I have finally started to feel life and like magic, I am back to the living again.  We are so excited for this new addition to our already chaotic home!  Over the next week or so I will try to post the dozen or so recipes I've had waiting to be published.  Until then, happy eating!