Chicken Cigars

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Holy Macaroni, make sure you read the comment left for me on my Dutch Baby post! That made my day!

This chicken cigar recipe is from Rachel Ray’s poker night episode (one of the maybe five Rachel Ray episodes I’ve ever seen). Andrew had a friend spend the night and I thought it would be the perfect boy’s night snack. The cigars were very easy to make and fun to eat. The seasonings ended up resembling a taco seasoning. The boys dipped their cigars in salsa but I would have loved to have some sour cream for mine.

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken breast
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons grill seasoning (Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
4 sheets phyllo dough
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Place chicken in a bowl and mix with spices and parsley. Place a piece of phyllo on a nonstick cookie sheet, butter it and top with a second sheet. Divide the chicken in half. Form a 1-inch thick log the length of the long side of the phyllo dough. Roll the log in phyllo tightly. Cut the chicken filled phyllo into 4 "cigars" and brush with a dab more butter. Repeat to make a total of 8 chicken and phyllo roll-ups. Bake at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.

Dutch Baby

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I’ve been sick so I am running a little behind on my posts, we made these German pancakes on Tuesday to celebrate National Pancake Day (yes, there is such a holiday)! I’ve never heard of or eaten Dutch Babies before but the recipe was posted by Connie Correia Fisher owner of The Pop Shop restaurant so I had to try it and with National Pancake Day… how could I resist! Justin and I first heard of The Pop Shop 3 years ago when FoodTV did a documentary chronicling the opening of this Collingswood, New Jersey restaurant. We have been following The Pop Shop ever since! I love their menu, their philosophy, their style… Justin and I have even talked about buying into the franchise and opening a Pop Shop here in Kansas. I love it that much! If you think I sound a bit loony then check out their menu and you will see what all the fuss is about!

As far as the Dutch Babies go… I think it’s an acquired taste. It was AMAZING to look at when it first came out of the oven. The edges were probably 4 inches tall (it looked like a bread bowl) but as you can tell by the picture it quickly deflated and fell. Justin said it tasted more like am omelet and even with powdered sugar and syrup I would have to agree. It tastes like a mix between an omelet and French toast. I won’t make it again but it was still a fun experience!

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place butter in a glass 9-inch pie plate and melt in the oven. Meanwhile, mix together remaining ingredients. Remove pie plate from oven. Pour mixture over melted butter and return pie plate to oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot with syrup, butter, powdered sugar or your choice of jelly or marmalade.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Monday, February 23, 2009

When I saw this Chocolate-Peanut Butter Triple Layer Cake recipe I immediately knew Justin would like it... chocolate and peanut butter are Justin's favorite! I only have two cake pans so I didn't make a triple layer cake but it turned out just fine. The chocolate cake was really really moist, a very delicious chocolate cake! Justin didn't like the icing, he isn't a fan of cream cheese and the flavor was too noticeable for him. So I probably won't be making this cake again since it wasn't Justin's favorite but seriously... we just had our Chocolate Torte. Can any other cake really live up to those standards? I don't think so.

... while typing this blog I had to stop and yell at Justin who was trying to "make a basket" by throwing candy into our sleeping son's mouth. Hehe, I love my husband! He is the chocolate to my peanut butter!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (not a "natural" variety)

Line three (I only used two) 8-inch round cake pans with buttered parchment circles in the bottoms of the pans. Butter and flour the pans. (Make sure to get them really buttered and floured--these cakes are really sticky!) Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt). Then add the oil and sour cream and whisk together. Gradually whisk in the water, followed by the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat well to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowls as needed. Divide among the three pans and bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes. Cool in the freezer about 30 minutes before frosting.
Frosting Directions
Beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar might not use all of it. Add the peanut butter and beat thoroughly for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Remove the cakes from the freezer and place one layer on the serving tray. Spread 2/3 cup frosting on the bottom layer; top with a second layer, another 2/3 cup of frosting, and the top layer of cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the entire cake. Chill for about an hour before serving and store in the refrigerator.

Salsa Chicken

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This is another one of the first recipes I ever made. For years we have been eating it as a main course with a side of Spanish rice and refried beans; however, when I made it this time I put tortillas on the table so we had salsa chicken, rice, and bean burritos. They were fantastic! With or without tortillas this chicken is good, juicy, spicy, and flavorful! Speaking of spicy... we got a 30 minute lecture from our 7-year-old a couple nights ago on gas consumption, food barn factories, and slavery (which if you see "you have an obligation to tell the president or Oprah" he says). He is too funny!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons taco seasoning mix
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Place chicken breasts in 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle taco seasoning on both sides of chicken breasts and pour salsa over all. Bake at 375 for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is tender and juicy and its juices run clear. Sprinkle chicken evenly with cheese and continue baking for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

French Bread Pizza

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Andrew learned this recipe in his family and consumer sciences middle school class… I can’t say that without pausing from shocked amazement that my son is in a middle school family and consumer sciences class! I remember being in that class like it was yesterday; I can’t believe how fast time is flying by!

Back to the recipe! This is very simple and surprisingly delicious! Andrew had a girly friend over who joined us in making the pizzas (again another sentence that takes my breath away).

Ingredients for 4 pizzas
1 loaf of French bread cut once vertically and once horizontally (which will create 4 pieces)
1 small jar of pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Optional toppings (we used pepperoni)

Spread sauce over the loaf
Sprinkle on cheese and toppings
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

Corkscrew Pasta Salad

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is my absolute favorite pasta salad (notice I didn’t say macaroni salad)! When we go to BBQ’s it is so difficult for me to decide if I should bring my Delicious Macaroni Salad or this Corkscrew Pasta Salad, I usually end up bringing both… I love these salads that much! This pasta salad is sweet and tangy, nothing like the usual Italian dressing pasta salad. I brought it for lunch today and all morning I couldn’t wait to eat lunch (that’s not lame, is it?). I ate lunch during a meeting but all I did was savor every bite of my pasta salad wondering why I don’t make it more often. Whenever I get those recipe emails or someone asks for my favorite recipe I always give my corkscrew pasta salad and delicious macaroni salad recipes, yumilicious!!

16 ounces corkscrew pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber (sliced)
1 green pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup red onion (chopped)
Optional- 1 cup cheddar cheese cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon Accent or any MSG
1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder

Cook the corkscrew pasta in boiling water, drain, and cool. In a large bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients. Add the pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, and onion to the sauce and stir to coat everything. Cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night. Stir before serving (the sauce tends to settle at the bottom).

White Chocolate Ice Cream

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We had a busy day yesterday so this is my belated Valentine’s Day post. We love white chocolate and this seemed liked the perfect recipe to break in our new homemade ice cream maker, yippee!! We were all so hungry and anxious to try the ice cream that we stopped the ice cream maker too early, so it ended up being soft serve but it was still delicious!

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks

In a medium saucepan warm the sugar, the milk and 1 cup of heavy cream. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the cream mixture, whisking constantly as you pour in the warm cream. Pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Pour the white chocolate into the custard and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and chill thoroughly. You can set the bowl over an ice bath to speed it up. Chill mixture thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Nothing says love better than an empty bowl and two spoons :-)


Friday, February 13, 2009

I hadn’t heard of a Fluffernutter before I met Justin. It’s one of his favorite snacks but I wouldn’t ever try it and I have to say, it never sounded appetizing to me! However, on our 10 year anniversary we went to one of our favorite hangouts in Kansas City, The Brick. They serve a grilled Fluffernutter that sounded delicious. It was funny because the chef brought it out himself because he had to meet the customer that ordered it. He said he hadn’t had anyone ever order it before, lol! Well, I have been hooked on Fluffernutter ever since! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all these years!

Peanut butter
Marshmallow fluff

Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and marshmallow fluff on the other slice of bread. In a hot skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter and lay each piece of bread in the skillet (bread side down with the fluff and peanut butter facing up like an open face sandwich). When the bread is toasted remove the slices from the skillet and put them together creating the Fluffernutter sandwich! Let the sandwich cool-down for a couple of minutes before eating or all of the peanut butter and marshmallow will squish out. Enjoy!!

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A couple days ago I discovered that Justin hadn’t ever had a loose meat sandwich, I was shocked! I’ve always known it as a loose meat sandwich but they also go by Nu-way or Maid-Rite sandwiches (named after the Midwest restaurants that sell them). There’s no cheese or ketchup here, just crumbly seasoned beef, mustard, and pickles! Man-o-man they are delicious and unhealthy!

I remember eating loose meat sandwiches a lot in the 80’s, I think they were popular because on the TV show Roseanne she had a loose meat sandwich restaurant. I have always loved the TV show Roseanne and I think the TV mom I am most similar to would be Roseanne (hey… I didn’t say I aspire to be Roseanne, I just admit that I am more like her than June Cleaver). My all time favorite Roseanne quote is “excuse the mess but we live here.” Isn’t that just the truth? Sure I cook dinner for my family every night but my house is always a mess! Yeah, my car is a mess too; we have a McDonald’s graveyard in the back seat… being a mom is rough!

2 pounds ground beef
Hamburger buns
1 can chicken broth
Lawry's seasoning salt
Dill pickles slices, room temperature

In large skillet on high heat brown the ground beef, stirring while it cooks to break up any clumps. When the meat is cooked to a dark brown, drain off all the fat and return to the burner. Sprinkle some Lawry's seasoning salt, pepper, and a few squirts of mustard (add the seasoning to your taste but I would guess I use a teaspoon of each). Cover the beef mixture with chicken broth and let the mixture cook on low until the broth has been completely absorbed into the beef. Get your hamburger buns (I like to toast my hamburger buns in a separate skillet. I melt a little butter on high heat to coat the buns and I cook the buns in the skillet for a minute on each side) and use an ice cream scooper or spoon to put a few spoonfuls of meat on the bottom of the bun and immediately top with pickle slices and mustard.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

This is probably the first recipe I ever thought up (not that I would claim ownership of this basic recipe), but I’ve been making it since I was 16 and in all these years I haven’t changed a thing! When Justin was eating it he said “you really do make a mean lasagna” and Abbott (who doesn’t like lasagna) said “that’s what’s wrong with it, it’s mean”, lol. The recipe for this lasagna isn’t an exact science (as you can tell from the ingredients), I’ve used a little more and less of things depending on what I had and it’s always turned out great.

Lasagna noodles
1-2 pounds ground beef
1 extra large jar spaghetti sauce (about 4 cups)
1 small container ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Boil lasagna noodles and set aside. Cook the ground beef until brown, drain, and add the spaghetti sauce. In a medium bowl stir together the mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Now in a 9x13 baking dish put a thin layer of meat sauce. Lay a layer of lasagna noodles on-top of the sauce. Now a layer of the cheese mixture, it won’t spread over the noodles easily so I drop small clumps on the noodles and try to smear them together. Now another layer of noodles, then another layer of meat sauce, then noodles, then cheese, then noodles, then meat sauce... you get the picture. Keep layering until you run out of room in your baking dish. Top the last layer with meat sauce. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Chocolate Torte

Friday, February 6, 2009

I did it!!! I have successfully cloned our favorite chocolate torte from Andre's Confiserie Suisse‎ in Kansas City! Last week I made The Perfect Party Cake which was my first experience making Swiss Meringue (a velvet buttercream frosting). I knew the texture matched Andre’s so I just had to figure out the chocolate flavors, and to my total astonishment… I did it! We had an Andre’s chocolate torte for our wedding cake so for me to crack this recipe is a huge personal accomplishment.

This recipe makes a massive amount the cake! You want a good 1/2 inch of buttercream in the layers so the cake ended up being 4-5 inches tall. Due to the height and richness you can only eat a sliver so this cake would feed at least 12 people. One of the best aspects of this cake however is that it gets even better with age, which is a rare trait in cakes! You must keep this cake in the fridge and after preparing it should be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before serving, but its best 2nd day. The frosting really comes into its own while in the fridge. It sets up like ice cream and melts in your mouth, a truly amazing cake!

Ingredients for cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites

For Buttercream
2 cup sugar
8 large egg whites
6 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for preparing the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and place a rack in the center. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Wisk together buttermilk and eggs and set aside. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and the cocoa powder until well-combined. Beat in the butter and extract. While mixing gradually pour in the buttermilk mixture and mix for a good 2 minutes. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them onto the rack, and peel off the parchment. Cool completely.

Preparing the buttercream: Place the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer or another large heatproof bowl. Fit the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until it has cooled, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter and cocoa powder, one stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all of the butter has been added, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 10-15 minutes. During this time, the buttercream may curdle or separate--just keep beating and it will come together again.On medium speed, gradually beat in the vanilla extract. The buttercream will be smooth and velvety. You will know it’s done when it stiffens up. You will notice the mixer beaters going through the icing and the icing will stay in the stiff peaks and not fall. Just keep mixing it, it will eventually stiffen up!

Assemble the cake: Using a sharp serrated knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard cake round or cake plate. Spread it with a 1/2 an inch of buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with the buttercream, and do the same with a third layer. Place the last layer, cut side down, on top of the cake. Use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and the top. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in freezer for up to 2 months.

Hash Brown Quiche

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I know it must appear like I’m always cooking new and exciting recipes but at least 4 nights out of the week we eat the same thing… chicken and veggies. For the most part Justin and the boys dislike beef and pork, so I’m limited to chicken or fish. However, every now and then I mix things up by making quiche… yes, in our house quiche is exciting! It’s just a nice change from our normal dinners. I’ve made a couple different versions of this quiche and this is my favorite. You can slip in a 1/2 cup of a vegetable if you want. 1/2 of onion or 1/2 cup spinach would be delicious!

3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup shredded cooked bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake at 450 for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

Kissable Cookies

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Birthday was Friday and when I went into work I was surprised with a cake, flowers, balloons, donuts, and Hershey’s Kissables candy… have I mentioned how amazing my co-workers are? I really do look forward to seeing them everyday; they are beautiful people inside and out!! Ok-ok, before I get sappy and cry about how much I love my job… on to the cookies. I wanted to thank my co-workers so I used the Hershey’s Kissables candies to make cookies to take in to work today. The cookies were a hit; even the FedEx guy took two, lol!!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Hershey’s Kissables (candy coated Hershey’s Kisses)

In a large mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients… flour, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until everything is mixed. With an electric mixer beat in the butter, vanilla extract, and eggs until creamy. Stir in the kissable candies. Drop rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Store cookies in a sealed plastic bag with a slice of bread… the bread will keep the cookies moist and delicious, very important!