Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Stollen?

Christmas at our house this year was a quiet one.  We did the family thing earlier in the month so good friends had us over for dinner both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so they are a blessing to us.  I made Rachel Ray's five minute fudge wreath to give to a few of my neighbors this year, and then I made this yeast free stollen for another neighbor.  I kept a tiny piece for Chandler and me to try and he loved it so much I made another one just for us on Christmas Day.  It is delicious and so easy!  Looks a little rugged because it is more like a biscuit than a yeast roll, but delicious nonetheless.  Chandler loved the name of it and kept telling me the police were coming soon to take me away since I had "stolen" bread in our house.

Stollen is a German Christmas tradition dating back to the 14th century.  My research found that Germans baked these loaves at Christmas to honor princes and church dignitaries.  They also sold them at fairs and holiday festivals.  The Catholic Church did not allow butter and milk ingredients during advent so they were originally made without those.  It wasn't until the 17th century that bakers were allowed to add milk and butter.  I cannot imagine how dry the dough must have been without milk!  The lump on the loaves represented the humps of camels that carried the gifts to the Christ Child on the very first Christmas.

Check out My Kitchen My World to see what other bakers in this group chose as a traditional Christmas treat from around the world.

Ingredients
2 + 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
 
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg 
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup candied chopped fruit
1/2 cup almonds (I used walnuts instead)
topping:
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small chunks, then blend it into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives used scissor fashion to form uneven crumbs.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, egg, vanilla, almond, and zest. Toss the fruit and almonds with the flour mixture until evenly distributed. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until most of the flour is moistened.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it two or three times until it holds together. Divide in half. Roll each piece of dough into an 8 x 7 oval about 1/2-inch thick.
  6. Fold each piece of dough in half lengthwise, leaving the edge of the top half about 1/2-inch short of the edge of the bottom half.
  7. Use the edge of your hand to press the dough to seal about 1-inch in back of the open edge; this will make the traditional stollen shape.
  8. Place the shaped stollen on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light brown around edges about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center.
  9. Remove the stollen from the oven, and transfer to a rack. Brush each one with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners’ sugar.
  10. Once the stollen are cool, brush with butter again and sprinkle with sugar. Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve. Plastic-wrapped stollen will keep well for 2 weeks or so at room temperature.






Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beatty's Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten


This is the second time I have made this wonderful cake and it will not be my last.  If you love choocolate like I do, you will love this.  Ina never fails on richness and elegance.  I would not hesitate to serve this cake to my most honored guests.   I plan to make it again at Christmas.  It is easy, moist, and just delicious.  The icing is addictive.  I love that it includes buttermilk.


Beatty's Chocolate Cake
Ingredients
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee 

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Chocolate Frosting6 ounces good semisweet chocolate1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake


If you made an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) dessert and you would like to leave your link here please do.  Click on the link at the bottom of the post.  Join our group!  The more the merrier they say.  We cook only once per month.  Next month will be Ina appetizers.  What a perfect time to join with the holidays coming up!

Also check out what the others in this group made this month.

An InLinkz Link-up

Welcome to TONGA!

In our group My Kitchen My World, we virtually travel each month to a different location and choose a recipe from that country.  This month we chose Tonga.  I do not personally know a lot about Tonga so I had to do a bit of research.  Just think polynesian.

If you do not know much about Tonga, it is located in the South Paciifc and is a group of 176 islands. The capital of the Kingdom of Tona is Nukualofa and it is also the largest city in Tonga.


One of the most popular recipes I found was the Tonga Toast.  It looks fabulous. . .all covered in cinnamon and sugar.  However, I went for the Banana Cake.  This makes a two layer cake, but since there are only two of us and we are trying to cut back on sweets, I halved this recipe and made in a loaf pan.  Looks a little more like tonga toast than cake, but cake it is.  The banana pudding in between the layers makes it so moist and rich.

Check us out at mkmw.wordpress.com and see what the others in the group came up with.  Should be interesting!
If you are feeling like a little polynesian this week, try the banana cake!  Next month we check out POLAND dishes.  Come join us!


Ingredients for 2 layers, 9-inch round:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 medium bananas mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla, or 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp banana essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 plain yogurt or sour milk
  • 1 recipe banana pudding filling (recipe given below)
  • 2 cups whipped cream with 1 tsp vanilla and 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.   Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper, butter and dust evenly with flour.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolks, bananas, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Set aside. 
  5. Sift flour, soda and salt together.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with the yogurt. Note:  if weather is very dry, additional yogurt may be needed.
  6. Immediately fold egg whites into batter.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer cakes to cooling rack for 5 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and cool completely.
  8. Fill with banana pudding between layers. (recipe given below)
  9. Cover top and sides with whipped cream.  Use a star tip and piping bag to decorate top and bottom edges if desired.
  10. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Ingredients for Banana Pudding:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla, or banana essence or banana liqueur
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed smooth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Method:
  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium high heat, place sugar, cornstarch and salt.
  2. Slowly add milk whisking constantly until smooth.
  3. Temper the eggs with 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture and return to sauce pan.  Cook a few minutes more until custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Remove from heat.  Cool to room temperature.  Add banana and lemon juice. 
  5. Cover top of pudding with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
  6. Use to fill between layers of cake.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Kitchen My World - Great Britain!


Great Britain - the land of kings and queens, princes and princesses, the stuff fairytales are made of.  Our group, My Kitchen My World, is exploring the foods of Great Britain this month.

There were so many wonderful choices this month.  My husband actually made the choice for me and asked, "why don't you make a quiche?"  So quiche it is.  However, I think the popular quiche in England is the Quiche Lorraine.  I like a little more of this and that in my quiche so I substituted ham for the bacon and I added some frozen, chopped, and thoroughly drained spinach to the mix.

Check out our website and see what the other cooks came up with for their British dish!  Click here:
mykw.wordpress.com

I cannot wait to virtually travel next month as we go to TONGA.  That one might be a challenge for me.

If you are not in the mood for fish and chips, try a quiche.  Try quiche cold on a weekend lunch.  So many variables as to what ingredients to choose.  I love artichokes in mine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 recipe pie dough or a prepared frozen pie crust
  • 1/2 pound of bacon (you can use more or less to your taste) (I used chopped ham)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated gruyere or other cheese (cheddar works too or mozzarella)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives

METHOD

1.  I prebaked my crust for about 5-10 minutes in a 350 oven.
2 Cook the bacon.  Slowly cook the bacon, turning the strips over occasionally until they are nicely browned and much of the fat has rendered out. Lay the cooked strips of bacon on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Chop the cooked bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces.
3 Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and chives and whisk a little more. Add the milk and cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate and introduce a little air into the mix – this keeps the texture of the quiche light and fluffy.
Arrange the bacon and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust.  Drain the thawed frozen spinach and squeeze in paper towels to get the liquid out.  Add to the bacon and cheese.
Whisk the egg-milk mixture hard again for a few seconds, then pour it gently into the pie crust. 
4 Put the quiche into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes by gently jiggling the quiche. It should still have just a little wiggle. (It will finish setting while it cools.) Cool on a wire rack.
Eat at room temperature, cold (a quiche will keep for several days in the fridge), or reheated gently in a 200-degree oven.  I let mine completely cool and then I froze it for later use.
Yield: Serves 6.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ina's Group - Salads, Soups or Sides?

This month in the Ina Garten group we are making salads, soups or side dishes.  I chose a side dish because it is just a little warm here for a soup!  Ina has so many wonderful and flavorful dishes it is always a hard choice.  I decided on her Broccoli and Bowties.  We always love pasta and I am trying to incorporate more fiber into our dinners so the broccoli just made good sense for us.

I have gotten into a bad habit of just microwaving our side dishes at night and my microwave died a couple of weeks ago.  It was only three months old so we were able to take it back and order another one.  It was supposed to arrive yesterday but they had us down for today's delivery between one and five.  So here I sit and it is right now five o'clock and no delivery yet.  They did call and say they were running behind but they didn't call until five o'clock.  So frustrating!!!  Anyway, I guess you don't realize how much you use an appliance until you no longer have it.  I keep going to the pantry and getting popcorn out and realizing "no microwave."  Or. .  going to heat up my lunch - "no microwave."  I have discovered my toaster oven works pretty well to heat most foods so I am surviving!  Hopefully it will get here and get installed tonight.

I have to say, this was a very easy dish to prepare, makes a lovely presentation, and is very tasty!  The lemon zest and juice give it a very tart flavor so that it is in no way as plain as it looks.  It has a bite to it which we loved.  Total cook time of 23 minutes - what's not to love about that?

You can get the recipe here online:

ALL ABOUT INA FRIDAYS:

The first Friday of the month, food bloggers from many parts of the world join together in posting a favorite Ina recipe.  This month we have Salads, Soups and Sides. 

Stop in and see what all of our fine writers are cooking up today or any day:



Thursday, August 29, 2013

VIRTUAL TRAVEL TO SWEDEN WITH MY KITCHEN MY WORLD!

!
Well hello world!  Our group this month decided to cook foods from Sweden.  The first thing that came to my mind of course was Swedish Meatballs.  But I wanted to try something a little less ordinary.  I was watching the Rachel Ray show one morning this week and she prepared a dish called Swedish Sailor's Beef and Potato Casserole.  I knew that was it for me!!

First I browned the meat.  I used bottom round steak just as Rachel suggested, but I think next time I would just go with top round steak.

Next you saute up some onions with a few seasonings and butter,


then you layer sliced potatoes, then top with onions, then meat, and repeat repeat.  Pour a bottle of light beer (I used Sam Adams Summer Ale) over it, cover it and let it cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours on 275.  As you can see, I could have used a little more steak to top it with, but for just the two of us I was trying to get buy with six slices.



Delicious and hearty! The beer makes it tender and juicy.  You can cut the steak with a fork.  I served with a slice of cantaloupe and it made a delicious meal for us.
You can get the recipe here:  http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/recipes/swedish-sailors-beef-and-potato-casserole/

Hurry over to mkmw.wordpress.com and see what delicious recipes the other ladies prepared for their Swedish visit.  Next month is Tonga.  Come join us!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Barefoot Contessa - Ina's Fridays

My friend Chaya suggested I might enjoy being in her Ina Friday's cooking group.  It meets once per month. Even though this is the fourth month for the group, I decided to join in today. This month the theme was appetizers. 

There are so many wonderful Ina appetizers I had a hard time choosing just one.  I finally settled on Ina's Herb Dip.  It will go nicely with the lasagna pizzas that I plan to prepare for tonight's dinner.  It was easy to make and tastes delicious!  When I make dips, I really wonder why I ever buy the prepared ones at the store because to make your own really only takes a little preparation and a little time.  The finished product is so delicious.


Here is the recipe:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 
1/2 cup sour cream 
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
4 scallions, white and green parts, minced 
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced 
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend. Serve at room temperature.

Here is a list of the other group members if you want to check out what appetizer they made this month.

Ansh @ Spice Roots (Ansh will return in June)
Barbara @ Moveable Feasts 
Bhavna @ Just a Girl From AAmchi Mumbai
Chaya @ Bizzy Bakes
Linda, @ Tumbleweed Contessa (Beginning in June)
Linda @ There and Back Again (beginning in June)
Martha @ Simple Nourished Living
Minnie @ The Lady 8 Home
Mireya @ My Healthy Eating Habits
Nancy @ My Picadillo
Ria @ Ria's Collection (beginning in June)
Rocky Mountain Woman @ Rocky Mountain Woman
Veronica@ My Catholic Kitchen 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Kitchen My World - Virtual Travel to the Ukraine!

Why do cabbages win at races?  Because they want to get a-head!!
This month we are cooking Ukrainian dishes.  There were plenty to choose from on the internet.  I chose for my main dish Chicken Kiev.  The queen city of Ukraine is Kiev.  I read that most Slavic people have never prepared it however because it is considered a gourmet treat.  This dish takes some preparation, but it is well worth it.  Unfortunately, my chicks suffered a minor burn in the skillet, OOPS, but not enough to mess with the taste.  Delicious!  The butter inside oozes out when you cut into it and that makes for very tender chicken.  I was surprised at the grocery store how expensive chicken has become.  Must be because gas prices are high??  I wish I had cut into this breast after it was cooked and taken a photo of the inside, but the DH was starving and ready to dig in!  Please do not let this photo deter you from making this wonderful recipe.
Chicken Kiev Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup flour
1 ½ cups fine dry white bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
Kiev Butter: 
8 T Butter, at room temperature
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
First flatten out your chicken breasts with a mallet.  Make your kiev butter.  Put about a tablespoon of butter in each chicken breast and then carefully roll up the breast.  I secured mine with a couple of toothpicks.  Dip first in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs.  Plop into heated oil on stovetop.  The oil must be deep enough to cover at least half the breast (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches). Cook for four minutes.  Transfer to a baking pan and cook in over at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Remove toothpicks before serving.

Along with my chicken, I served the tradition cabbage rolls.  I had never made these before and was excited to try them.  I think traditional cabbage rolls have a meat and rice filling, but I chose to just use a rice filling since I was serving them alongside my chicken.

Take a head of cabbage and core it.  Place it in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Gently pull off the outer leaves one at a time until you have about twenty removed.

Meanwhile, cook minute rice.  I did one cup of water with one cup of rice in the microwave.
Saute 1/4 stick of butter and add 1/4 cup chopped onions.  Cook until onions are soft.  Add to the rice.  Add salt and pepper.
Put about two tablespoons of the rice mixture in each leaf of cabbage and gently roll up and put in pan.  Once you have all the rolls in there, cover them with one 16 oz can of diced tomatoes mixed with 1/4 cup water.  Simmer covered for about an hour. 
Delicious!!! Definitely worth a little extra preparation time.
Join us at MKMW as we travel each month to explore a different country's cuisine.  Check us out at mkmw.wordpress.com


Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Kitchen My World - Let's go to Cuba!

This month in MKMW, those of us participating took a virtual trip to Cuba!  There were plenty of recipes to choose from, especially found a lot on Pinterest.  Of course some were in Spanish and since I am not fluent, I had to look for an English version!    I chose a beef dish and a salad.
I like to start my posts with a joke or two.  When I think of Cuba, coffee is what comes to mind.  I know that is not all that Cuba is famous for, but that is just what I think.  Good Cuban coffee.  So . .. .
What does Coffee say when it’s depressed? – Pour Me, Pour Me.
Why did Coffee cross the road?  Because it was tired of being ground-ed!

We have been so busy this month traveling (some fun, some not) that I really did not have the time to devote to an entire meal the way I wanted to.  I cooked the beef a long time trying to make it tender.  Maybe I overcooked it, not sure.  It was an easy dish to prepare and tasty.Oops I totally forgot the fresh parsley!   Loved the salad.  I omitted the red onion as we do not eat those!  Really loved the fresh pineapple in the salad.
Come join us for next month!  A lot of fun to try different foods from different countries!!  Check out the link to see what others made at the end of the month.
mkmw.wordpress.com





Here are the recipes:

Bistec de Palomilla
  • 3 lbs. Top Sirloin steak – sliced very thin
  • 10 garlic cloves – diced
  • juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • salt and coarse black pepper to taste
  • olive oil (twice around the pan)
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh chopped parsley

1) Rub about 2/3rds of the garlic into the steaks on both sides
2) Squeeze the juice of one of the limes onto the steaks.
3) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4) Place the steaks into a plastic ziplock bag.
5) Add the sliced onion to the bag.
6) Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow to marinate – preferably overnight, but at least for one hour.
7) Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade. Set the onions aside. 
8) Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.
9) Fry the steaks quickly about 1 minute per side and remove to a warm platter.
10) Squeeze the juice of the other lime into the pan and stir, this will “clean” any burnt bits from the pan.
11) Add the remaining marinade, onions and garlic to the lime juice and quickly stir together over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The onions should still be crisp and the garlic should not be brown.
12) Pour the onion mixture over the steaks on the platter. And garnish with the chopped fresh parsley.


Avocado and Pineapple Salad

Ensalada De Aguacate Y Pina

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
salt and pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 cups of fresh ripe pineapple chunks
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 large florida avocado, peeled and sliced
fresh lime
Directions:

1
Combine olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, and sugar in a blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to this mixture to taste. Lightly toss the lettuce, pineapple, and red onion together. Pour on the oil and vinegar mixture until everything is well coated. Adjust the amount used to your own preference, more or less.
2
Garnish individual salads with several avocado slices lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Kitchen My World - Virtual Travel to Argentina!

A man walks into a doctor’s office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. “I don’t feel so good - what’s the matter with me?” he asks the doctor. The doctor replies, “you’re not eating properly.”

That may be one of the lamest jokes ever, but it made me laugh today.  I know for a fact that I don't always eat properly, but it is not because I have vegetables in my ears.  It is because I love those foods that are not good for me!

In our MKMW group, this month we are experiencing the deliciousness of Argentinian foods.  I was pleasantly surprised when I googled to find recipes were abundant on pinterest.  I love pinterest!  I decided to treat the DH to a dish of Argentinian Garlic Chicken with Corn, Tomato, and Parsley Sauce.  I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  It had just the right amount of spicy kick to it, but not overpowering at all.  And I do think it is probably pretty healthy.  Easy to prepare.  First you grill your chicken.  Since it was cold and raining outside, I used my grill pan indoors.  I always slice my chicken breasts in half so they cook quicker.  Chicken breasts seem to be getting bigger every time I buy them. I wonder what the chickens secret is to large breasts.  LOL


Then you mix up some spices and herbs in the food processor.  Add to some cooked corn and cut up tomatoes and voila.  Your dish is ready!

This is such a fun blogging group to be a part of.  Each month we try a different country.  Come join the fun and adventure - you will not regret it!!  Check out our group website at MKMW.wordpress.com

REMEMBER TO HAVE A KNIFE DAY - SEE YOU SPOON!!  

Argentinean Garlic Chicken With Corn, Tomato and Parsley Sauce


Ingredients:
Servings:
6
Units: US | Metric
Sauce
2 cups fresh parsley leaves, fresh, stems removed
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cups sweet corn, cooked
Chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Directions:

1
Sauce: In food processor, combine parsley, onion, garlic, vinegar, oregano, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper; process until finely chopped. With motor running, slowly add oil and process until well blended but with coarse texture. Pour into bowl. Stir in half the tomatoes. Stir corn into bowl.
2
Chicken: Combine salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and garlic and onion powders; sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoons on each side of each chicken breast.
3
Lightly oil barbecue grill and heat to medium. Place chicken on grill; close lid and barbecue for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside. Serve with parsley sauce spooned over each one. Garnish with remaining tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pound Cake in Honor of Mother's Day!

My mother was a pistol as they say.  Clever, funny, smart, beautiful, talented, and a great cook.  She passed away five years ago and not a day goes by that I do not think of her and miss her.  I am sure I get my love of cooking from her.  She loved to make cakes, especially pound cakes.  She must have had ten recipes for pound cakes.  Chocolate ones, buttermilk ones, sour cream ones, swirled ones, plain ones, etc.

I must have been in my 20's when someone at church gave me their pound cake recipe.  I made one and shared with my mom and even years later we both agreed it was the best pound cake recipe around.  We never found one that was better.  We even named it "Best Poundcake Ever."

In honor of mother's day this Sunday, I baked that pound cake.  It was so moist and delicious.  I know mom would be proud of my cake.  Notice a piece missing?  That was ME tasting it right out of the oven while it was still warm.  So good!  When it gets a tiny bit stale, I like to butter it and toast it and enjoy for breakfast.


BEST POUNDCAKE EVER

1 stick butter
1 cup crisco shortening
five eggs
1 cup milk
3 cups plain flour
1/2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. salt
3 cups sugar
1 T. vanilla flavoring

Cream butter, shortening and sugar.  Add in eggs one at a time.  Add dry ingredients and vanilla.  Cook at 325 degrees for 55-60 minutes in a well-greased bundt pan.  let cool ten minutes before removing from pan.  Keep tightly covered.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wedding Day Arrives!

It was an outdoor wedding in Orlando.  The weather was iffy that day and the weathermen were saying 50% chance of rain.  The bride and groom were trying to remain positive that their dream wedding would go as planned.  It rained a bit during the day but then stopped for the wedding and was just a bit overcast.  It was GREAT.

What a beautiful ceremony!  I was so proud to be a part of it.    Small, but elegant, and every detail perfect.

The surprise of the evening came when my son told me he would be "rapping" a song in a bit.  Well I had never heard him rap, but it was great.  The crowd cheered.  A little later, he did two more songs and my other son chimed in on the last one.  He sounded awesome as well.   Proud mama me.  :)

They have just returned from their honeymoon in Belize where they had an awesome time!

I am so proud of my family.  All of them.  

Now if I could just get my house cleaned I could relax and start cooking and blogging again.  My microwave just died on me last Thursday night and I had to go shop for one today.  Lowes told me it would be 14 days before they could get me one.  I was so frustrated.  I mean. . . who knows how to cook anymore without a microwave?  It seems I use it a lot more than I thought I did.  I heat my water in it for my hot tea in the afternoon.  I heat my back pad in it.  I heat my leftovers in it.  I cook my vegetables in it most days.  I need my microwave!!!!  The good news is Home Depot is delivering one to my house tomorrow.  That makes me happy.

Now off to clean the kitchen and then to cook the "old fashioned" way.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Coconut Milk - OBSESSED!

Do you LOVE milk?  I never have.  Even as a child.  I know I need calcium for my skinny bones so I continue on my quest to find a milk that I enjoy.

I've tried Almond Milk, and Soy Milk.  This week I tried Coconut Milk.  I have always loved the taste of the milk as it flows from a fresh coconut so I thought I would try it. 

I am now obsessed with my new coconut milk.  It is so tasty and smooth.  If any of you have any pros or cons, I would love to hear from you.  I have not tried cooking / baking with it yet.  I also have not tried putting chocolate syrup in it, but I'm sure I will this weekend!!  Hmm. . . I'm thinking a glass of it would be great right now with this piece of pound cake I am eating.

Here are some advantages I found online that I thought I would share with you.  Since I am trying to GAIN weight, I was not happy to see "aids in weight loss" on the list, however some of you will be happy to see that I'm sure!

Benefits of coconut milk

Higher in calcium than regular milk and almond milk.

Nutrient Rich : Coconut milk is rich in a wide range of minerals and vitamins. It contains iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, and also the following important vitamins: C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6. Coconut milk is also a good source of protein.

Boost immune system : Half the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk are composed of lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal thus strengthening the immune system.

Weight Loss : The saturated fat in coconut is made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids which the body quickly turns into energy instead of storing as fat. Therefore, even though it’s high in saturated fat, coconut can aid in weight loss. No wonder it’s the number one recommended milk for protein shakes. It is also said to boost metabolism.Coconut milk makes you feel full very quickly because of high concentrations of dietary fiber.

Relaxes muscles and nerves: Rich in magnesium which can help relive and ease cramps, muscle pulls and muscle soreness.

Aids in Digestion : Coconut milk contains beneficial substances that allow the stomach to digest food properly. Due to the high content of lauric acid, coconut milk is anti-bacterial and it kills off bad bacteria in the stomach that can cause you to not digest food properly. So adding coconut milk to your diet will help with digestion.

Dairy Free, Nut Free and Vegan : Coconut milk is a dairy-free alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to nuts. This vegan drink is also soy-free and gluten-free.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chicken and Yellow Rice Casserole - Blast from the Past!

Years ago, and I do mean years ago, my ex-mother-in-law made a fabulous chicken casserole.  I made that casserole many, many times for my family as the kids were growing up.  While looking for a cake recipe last week, I ran across the casserole recipe and decided I needed to make that again.  It is very easy to make and just fabulous.  Delicious enough for a company main dish, or just for your family on a weeknight.  Chandler and I ate way too much of this last night and I am looking forward to having leftovers for my lunch today!  Definitely need to put this on my monthly dinner rotation.


Chicken and Yellow Rice Casserole

Boil three chicken breasts until done.  Shred meat and put in the bottom of 9 x 13 buttered casserole.
Cook one package of yellow rice, one onion chopped, four stalks of celery chopped.   Spread one can of cream of mushroom soup over chicken, then top with cooked rice mixture.  Top all with buttered breadcrumbs and bake in 350 oven for about 20 minutes until bubbly.

Delicious AND easy!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentines lasted for more than a day!

So for Valentine's this year we decided to cook together.  Now my DH is not a cook at all.  He barely knows how to open a can and heat it up.  But he was game for this.  So we started out Saturday morning making our grocery list.  I gave him one item to prepare - a side dish.  "Aren't you going to tell me what to cook," he asked.   I told him no that was part of the fun - the surprise of it all.  So I gave him a cookbook and he chose cauliflower.  Strange. . . I know, but it was delicious.  I chose to make a chicken dish I had seen on Rachel Ray's show last week and for dessert, some Nutella pastries.

Here is the cauliflower dish.  For me, it would have been better without the dijon mustard.   He did an excellent job of preparing it.  And he opened a bottle of pink champagne we had in the fridge for like four years.  I wondered if you could keep it that long, but it seemed to taste okay still.  It was so cold outside we enjoyed our night staying home.

The chicken dish was a bit bland for my tastes.  But Chandler liked it okay.  I think if I ever made this again, I would have to add more seasonings.  I forgot to put the parmesan cheese on the tomatoes.

Basically, it was a chicken breast wrapped in cheese and ham with a broiled tomato on top.  I guess that is a good way to simplify the description.  You can see the recipe here:
http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/recipes/chicken-ham-and-mozzarella-and-broiled-tomatoes/

Now let's talk dessert.  OH MY.   I will have to say, this was the easiest dessert to prepare and we absolutely loved it.  We couldn't wait the next day to have the leftovers.  This is a definite keeper and I will be making it over and over again.  Because of this dessert, I have become a Nutella freak now.  Inside the delicious crescent roll dough is Nutella spread, a few chocolate chips, and three raspberries.


okay these are supposed to be in the shape of hearts, but. .  . I didn't shape them too well.  We really enjoyed our evening of cooking together though and definitely you should try the dessert.  You can find the recipe here:
http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/chocolate-raspberry-hearts/db1da18d-3d98-4886-8578-ed8929fa5355

And now. . I am off to watch the season finale of Downton Abbey!!!!  Oh how I will miss you when you are gone.



Monday, February 11, 2013

Perfect cake for Valentines!


Every year around Valentine's I get a hankering for strawberry cake.  The best one I have made is from Paula Deen's collection.   As you can see from the photo however, my frosting is a bit runny.  I can attribute this to the fact that I "tried" to cut back on the amount of confectioner's sugar the recipe called for in an effort to be a tad healthier.  In this case, the recipe was correct and I needed to use all seven cups of sugar.  The cake itself is moist and delicious and the strawberry smell coming from your oven is divine!  Paula makes hers as a layer cake but I made mine a sheet cake just because it is easier and quicker to do a sheet cake.  Since this type of frosting is just too sweet for me, I have decided the next time I make this cake I will put a whipped cream topping on it.

You can find the recipe here:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/simply-delicious-strawberry-cake-recipe/index.html



Monday, January 28, 2013

Perfect Pancakes

I have never loved pancakes.  Even as a child.  I think now it was because I had not had the "perfect" pancake.  I've tried many recipes - all too thick and chewy for me.  The ones made with biscuit mix are the worst.  You know how it is.  You take a bite and chew and the bite just gets bigger and bigger in your mouth.  It seems like you will never get it chewed up and swallowed!  Too much work and too little flavor.

I learned several years ago how to make melt in your mouth pancakes and I love them!  For the last two Saturday mornings, I have been in a mood for pancakes. These are easy to make from scratch and I promise you will not be disappointed.  They are light and flavorful.  Always a big hit at my house.

The secret is in the eggs.

Double this recipe for four people, but for just us two, this is the recipe I use:

1 cup s.r. flour
1 T. sugar
3 T. melted margarine
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients with milk, melted butter and two egg yolks.  Beat the two egg whites until soft peak forms and then fold beaten egg whites into batter.  Make pancakes about four inches in diameter on your griddle and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Serve with your favorite syrup and melted butter.
Enjoy!