Sunday, May 17, 2009
I have moved! Ok, not my house, but my blog hosting site. For various, mostly vain reasons, I have moved to wordpress.
Update your bookmarks, blog readers, etc. To entice you over to my new blog, you'll find recipes for crockpot chicken, cheddar biscuits, monkey bread, and sausage and peppers!
Prepared by Loki at 9:49 PM
I needed a recipe to take to a potluck with some friends, and I was craving macaroni and cheese. I found the highly-honored version on Molly's blog (myhappymeals.blogspot.com) and the spiced-up version on Shelly's (lovestonom.blogspot.com). This was really, really amazingly good.
Spicy Macaroni and Cheese
1 stick of butter
3 cups of milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 lb cooked macaroni
16 oz sharp cheddar cheese in cubes
8 oz swiss cheese in cubes
3 tsp paprika
3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour to make a paste. Add the chese, cut into cubes, and the milk. Allow to heat for a few minutes on low-med heat, stirring constnatly. Add the spices before the cheese is completely melted.
Grease a large caserole dish and put the cooked macaroni into it. Once the cheese is completely melted into a sauce, pour the cheese over the cooked macaroni. Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 mintues at 350 degrees.
Enjoy, and have milk nearby!
I love bread, especially crusty bread that is warm and soft inside. This recipe came from a book my Mother in Law gave me called The Good Cook - Breads, which was published the year I was born. I find it to be very good at explaining HOW bread works, and how to manipulate it. This translates to "wordy and with few pictures." I know this from other bread-making experience, but French Bread is made without fats, no butter or oil. This is why it dries up fast and really should be eaten that same day.
Of course, I did cheat a little and used my breadmaker for the rise cycle. My kitchen is very airy and cool, so getting things to rise is difficult. I highly doubt it changed anything.
Monsier Monfort's French Bread - The Good Cook: Breads
Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)
3.5 - 4 cups flour (bread)
1/4 oz yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 tsp salt
1.5 cups tepid water
In your breadmaker, following its instructions, combine the above ingredients. Generally, this means put the water in first, the flour in second, the salt around the outsides of the flour and the yeast in the middle on top of the flour. Set it on to the "rise" cycle. My breadmaker (Breadman TR875 2lb bread maker kneads the bread for 5 minutes, rests for 5, then kneads for 15, then lets it rise for 1 hour.
If you're doing this by hand, combine all the ingredients into a bowl and then turn out onto a floured surface. The dough will be tacky. Begin turning and kneading the dough using a pastry knife. Add flour if the counter surface gets tacky, but do so sparingly. Then knead by hand, occasionally throwing t
he dough onto the surface, which will allow the dough to become elastic. Wash the bowl, then grease it, placing the dought back inside. Cover tightly and set in a warm place, allow to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours or until double in size. Punch down the dough, then allow to double in size again.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface, punch it down, and keand breifly to work out the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 2 halfs, then let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Begin to work the dough slowly into the correct shape, appx. 18 inch cylinders. If the dough resists changing shape, allow it to rest for 3 to 4 minutes at a time.
Place the shaped dough onto a greased baking sheet, drape with wax paper, and allow to rise until double in size.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While the oven preheats, place a baking dish half full with water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Right before baking, spray or brush the loaves of bread with water, then use a sharp knife to make cuts in the top of the bread. Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle and make cuts along the top of the bread.
Put the bread into the oven. During the first 15 minutes of baking, spray or brush the bread with water every 3 minutes. Do this from the oven door, CAREFULLY! Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 25 to 3 minutes. A hard, hollow sound will indidate that the bread is done.
Prepared by Loki at 7:50 PM
Monday, April 27, 2009
I've had a busy few weeks, but I've also made a few wonderful things I have not had a chance to blog. Here's a preview of the recipes you can expect to see this week:
Chicken Braised in Red Wine
Zesty Macaroni and Cheese - From Shelly!
Homemade French Bread
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This is a favorite of ours and it takes about 30 minutes. Its really good and full of flavor. It makes enough for 4 people but is great leftover.
Spicy Sausage Pasta
3-4 italian sausage links
2 tbsp garlic
2 tbsp italian seasoning
2 tsp oregano
Dash of leaf basil
Dash of parsley
Red pepper flakes to taste
Tabasco to taste
1 tbsp minced onion
1 jar of basic pasta sauce
1/4 cup shredded parmersean cheese
Remove the sausage meat from the casing. To do this, carefully cut the casing along the long side of the sausage and pull the meat out. You can leave it in the casing and cut it, but I find that you get a better flavor and overall look.
In a deep frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and then add the garlic. Heat the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the sausage, broken up like ground beef.
Now you're going to add the spices. Add everything from the italian seasoning to the minced onion. Here's a hint: When you're using italian seasoning and oregano, the full flavor of these spices, when dried, isn't fully realized unless you "reactivate" the flavor. To do this, put the spices in your hand and rub them back and forth, which will crush the spices and reactivate them to give you more flavor.
Cook the sausage completely, stirring often.
Turn down the heat and add the pasta sauce. You may want to add more spices to the sauce, but there was plenty on the sausage. Sometimes I add more garlic here, as well as some salt and pepper to finish off the flavor. A few minutes before you're ready to serve, add the 1/4 cup pamersean cheese and mix completely to allow it to melt.
Boil and drain your pasta. Serve the sauce with a little more parmersean cheese on top.
So I set out to make the pie I used to ask for on my birthday every year. I never loved cake, and to this day I greatly prefer the icing to actual cake. In my head, the pie I asked for was French Silk Pie. I set out to make one for the very first time and I was very excited to learn that I had all the ingridients in house!
It wasn't until I was nearly finished when I realized: Mom always made me a German chocolate pie. Not a French silk pie. A fatal error.
My French silk pie is really very good. Its just not quite what I wanted. I have no pictures of the finished pie because I was mad at myself, and I'm too lazy to go get it out of the fridge to take a picture. He're's the recipe of the pie and the pastry shell I made.
The Wrong Pie: French Silk
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c shortening (I used butter)
3 tbsp cold water
1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar
2 oz unsweeteneed chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (you don't bake this pie... so use egg substitute)
You're going to make your pastry shell first because it needs to cool completely before you fill it. First, combine the flour and salt in a bowl, cutting in the shortening until the mixture is clumpy. I did this in my mixer using the basic mixer thingy. Sprinkle in the cold water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture is moist. Add more water if necessary to make sure the mixture stays together when you squeeze it.
Put the dough on the counter and spread into a disc shape. Chill for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge/freezer and let stand at RT for 5 minutes. Then, spread the dough into a pie plate, cutting off any excess.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then let it cool completely
For the filling, first melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then set aside to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar in your mixture until it becomes lightly colored and fluffy.
Stir in the cooled chocolate and the vanilla. Mix well, then turn the mixer up to medium. Add the eggs 1 at a time (1/4 c egg substitute at a time) and mix for 5 minutes on medium speed after each egg.
Spoon the mixture into the shell. Refridgerate for 2 hours, then serve!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Donald and I had some friends over for dinner and games this week. I was really excited for multiple reasons. 1) They're really fun to hang out with. 2) Dinner and games is our kind of evening. 3) Excuse to use fancy china.
One of our friends is allergic to garlic, which while I think it is tragic in a way, it pushed me to find some great recipes that don't use garlic at all. I decided to go with mexican and make a chicken enchilada using a tomato based sauce with gobs and gobs of chili powder, which oddly enough didn't make it all that spicy but full of flavor.
Chicken Enchiladas 2
- 3 tbsp veggie oil
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 10 oz tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp oregano (omitted, by accident)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 tortillas
- 2-3 large chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
- 1 1/2 cups cheese
Heat the oil just a little bit in a small saucepan, then add the flour. Stir into a paste, then add the chili powder. Mix and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chicken stock, spices, and salt and allow to heat for 15 minutes. It ill thicken a little during this time.
Mix 1/2 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese with the shredded chicken. If you need, you can make the sauce and chicken ahead of time and store for 1-2 days in the fridge.
Take about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture and place into a tortilla, then fold up sealing on both ends. Place into a baking pan. Top all the enchiladas with additional sauce, about 1 cup worth but more if you like them saucy. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the enchiladas.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the cheese is really melted and the enchiladas are hot.
Mmm. Homemade ice cream. This was our first chocolate-based attempt and it turned out very well, but due to the peanut butter it is very very soft and creamy. I like my ice cream to be a bit harder, but this is still really good, especially in a sugar cone. The recipe is based on Jerry's (of Ben and Jerry's) chocolate ice cream recipe.
I wanted to take more pictures of the in-process ice cream, but this stuff froze so fast I didn't have the time.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Ingredients (makes 1 quart)
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitue)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vainlla
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
In your double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate bars. You don't want the water to be boiling, just hot.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the cocoa powder. This will make the chocolate clump up like crazy and you're going to think "oh god, I really screwed this up, didn't I!" You didn't. Turst me.
So add the cocoa powder, then slowly add the milk. As the milk heats, it will slowly dissolve and further melt the clumpy looking chocolate. This will take about 20 minutes or so. Stir the mixture regularly.
Eventually, the chocolate will all be melted and it will look like this:
Set this aside and let it cool. In your mixer, whisk the eggs rapidly until they are fluffy, then add the sugar slowly. Add the whipping cream and vanilla to this mixture. Once the chocolate is cool, mix the 2 together and put it in the fridge for 1-3 hours. Now, here's where I made a mistake. I let this mixture cool almost too much because I did all of this the night before I made the ice cream. Because you're about to add peanut butter, this is going to get super thick, and mine froze too fast, and didn't churn anywhere near enough. Oh well, live and learn.
So, take the mixture out of the fridge and remove 1 cup of the cream mixture. Add the 1/2 cup of peanut butter and mix thoroughly, then add the entire thing back to the ice cream and mix.
Freeze accourding to your ice cream makers instructions.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Donald and I really love stir fry. They are easy, full of veggies, decently healthy, and so flavorful. Chicken ones are the easiest beceause I find chicken to be so much more forgiving than beef or pork. This is a very basic one, sometimes we're more adventerous.
The best things about stir frys is that you can substitute and add whatever veggies you want. A few tips:
- If you add carrots, on the veggie cooking step, but the carrots into the wok before the other veggies by 2-3 minutes. They take much longer to cook than peppers, onions, etc.
- I hate water chesnuts, but I think these go in very late in the process should you want to ruin... I mean, erm, change your dish with them.
- Chinese mushrooms. Yumm.
Classic Stir Fry
1.5 - 2 lbs chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 c soy sauce
2 tsp fresh minced garlic
2 tsp minced onion
1 heaping spoonful brown sugar
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1/2 onion (or one full small onion) sliced thin
2 c white rice (or lettuce for lettuce wraps, according to my friend Monica, this is very good!)
In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, garlic, dried minced onion, and brown sugar and stir, then add the chicken. Mix well, stir, and cover, then put the bowl into the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Consider stirring the mixture once in the middle.
Slice the green peppers and onions, set aside. In your wok, heat 2 tbsp peanut oil until spitting hot. VERY CAREFULLY add the veggies into the wok. Cook for 3-4 minutes, longer if you like your veggies more well done.
Remove the veggies from the wok and set aside. In the same wok, cook the marinated chicken for about 6-8 minutes or until it is fully cooked. Add back the veggies and allow the sauce to coat everything.
Serve over rice or in lettuce wraps.
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