Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sauteed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter

When I took this picture I noticed that between the rice, chicken, and apple salad, our plate was all one color.  Oh well.  It was a delicious color, at least.

I realized while we were cooking this, that my dear husband does a lot of the actual cooking.  I station him at the range and give him directions (turn the chicken in 4 minutes; Count to 30 then add the lemon juice).  Meanwhile, I cut things up, measure things, prepare a salad and any other side we might be having.  And every so often I walk over, stir something, throw in a spice.  Essentially, Geoff does the main cooking.  He browned the butter for this, so I suppose he gets all the credit for a successful French sauce.

4 chicken breast halves, pounded until thin
Salt and pepper, sprinkled on chicken prior to cooking
a little flour, for dredging the chicken

Browned Butter:
3 Tbsp butter
2 sage sprigs (I had to look this up, the sprig is the whole twig worth of sage.  It will usually have a few actual sage leaves all connected together.  Use this to give flavor to the butter as it melts and "browns", then remove with a slotted spoon)
1 Tbsp shallots, minced
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Garnish: fresh sage leaves

Browning Butter:  Stir more or less constantly until butter browns (butter will first melt and foam.  Right when the foam is just about all gone, the butter is starting to brown.  Be careful not to burn it or it will taste bitter!)  Spoon out and discard sage.  Add shallots and thyme.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Add lemon juice.  Cook for another 30 seconds.  Serve with chicken.

Recipe from Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Serious Amounts of Pi

These were super easy to make and way cute.  It calls for a batch of double-crust pie dough, which I made from the recipe later in this post, but you might be able to do it with a single-crust batch.  I made the double-crust and had enough for these 24 mini's and for a crust for the banana cream pie I made.  Admittedly I had to re-roll the scraps of dough (I know, pie baking no-no, but it worked).  Also, if you are making these and the banana cream pie, save the 2 unused egg yolks and use them to make the banana cream.

Pecan Pie Bites

1 recipe pie dough for Double-crust pie
1/3 C chopped pecans, plus enough chopped pecans to lightly cover the bottom of each of the mini muffin tins
1 C packed brown sugar
2/3 C corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg whites

To make mini pies, roll out the pastry dough and use a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to cut out circles.  Press each circle into a sprayed mini muffin cup.  This will make 24 mini muffin sized pies - that's usually one pans worth.  I pricked the bottom of each, just for good measure then spooned a small amount of chopped pecans into each pie shell - just enough to cover the bottom.

In a large bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 C pecans with all the remaining ingredients.  Pour filling into prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 20 min at 375.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.  Top with whipped cream!

Recipe from Lion House Bakery Cookbook by Brenda Hopkin!

Banana Cream Pie

I'm so proud of myself for making this pie.  Why, you might ask.  Well, the last time I attempted to make a custard from scratch was when I was in elementary school (it must have been about 4th grade).  My neighbor and I decided we wanted to try a recipe we'd found for a chocolate custard.  I don't know if we didn't read the directions well or if the directions weren't specific enough regarding how to add the eggs.  Somehow we ended up with scrambled egg chunks inside our chocolate custard.  It was disgusting.  It was scarring.  I never attempted to make a custard again.  Until yesterday.  And it was good!  It was easy!  Hopefully my directions are thorough enough that you don't end up with scrambled egg and banana pie.

Prepared and cooled pie crust
1/4 C cornstarch
2/3 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 C milk
3 egg yolks, beaten (key word, don't skip that step - I wonder if that's what my friend and I did wrong all those years ago)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 bananas

Mix together cornstarch, sugar, salt, and milk in a medium sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly.  (Mine cooked about 13 minutes to get it thick enough.)  Pour a small amount of hot mixture into the bowl containing the egg yolks, whisking the eggs constantly as you pour.  Add the egg mixture to the pan with the remaining hot mixture and cook another 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool a moment (this would be a great time to go slice your bananas into the crust).  Now add the butter and vanilla to the custard.  Pour over bananas.  I let mine cool on a wire rack for a few hours, then I put it in the fridge until I was ready to serve it.  Top with whipped cream.

Variation:  For a coconut cream pie, mix 1 1/2 C coconut into the custard mixture at the same time you add the vanilla and butter.  Leave out the bananas.

Recipe from Logan B. whose love of pie started it all.

Double Crust Pie Dough

This crust was one of the easiest recipes I've made for pie and one of the flakiest.  It will become my new standard.  As with all pie crust recipes, do not over mix or overwork.  Also, if baking an empty pie shell, always prick the bottom and sides of the crust before baking.

2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 C shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/4 C ice water, or less.  Just use as much as it takes to get the dough to start to hold together.

Stir together flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut the shortening in until crumbly.  Stir in egg and vinegar. Sprinkle in water.

Divide dough into two.  If baking a single crust empty pie (for example, for the banana cream pie above) bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe from Lion House Bakery Cookbook by Brenda Hopkin!

We also had Geoff's favorite: key lime pie.  (For those of you worried about us eating all this pie alone, we had a full house last night.  Around 25 people and maybe 10 kids here to eat pie.)

Recipe for Key Lime Pie here!
Hope your pi day was excellent!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day!

Probably the second best day of the year, topped only by Thanksgiving (you can't beat rediculous amounts of pie on the same day you also enjoyed rolls, stuffing, and turkey - you can see my Thanksgiving priorities in the order I list Thanksgiving foods).  Today we honor the most delicious dessert pie.  I've already prepared pecan pie mini pie bites, a banana cream pie, and a key lime pie.  Pictures and recipes to come . . .

What kind of pie are you having?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Potatos & Veggie Skillet

1/2 pkg bacon (I think I did about 6 strips)
Package of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots (or more, you can put in as much as you want and just subtract some potatoes to make up for it)
1 small onion, diced
6-8 potatoes, bite-size pieces
small handful of grated cheese

Cook bacon in large skillet.  Remove bacon onto a paper towel.  Cook onion and potatoes in bacon grease.  Add veggies after a few minutes (they wont need as much time to cook as the potatoes do).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with a little cheese.

Good for me?  Questionable.  Is bacon delicious?  ABSOLUTELY!

A story about bacon:  One of my husbands coworkers mentioned at a lunch meeting that "everything is better wrapped in bacon".   At a going away party for him, another coworker brought in a cake - wrapped in bacon. Just try to picture how nasty that would be for a second before you keep reading.

OK, hopefully you have a really gross taste in your mouth at the very thought of bacon wrapped cake.  The reality:  it was rolled fondant, carefully designed to look like bacon.  The bacon, picked off and neglected; the cake, deliciously consumed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oatmeal - Apple Muffins

1 C Oats
1 C Buttermilk
1 Egg
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Oil
1/4 C Applesauce
1 C Flour (1/2 Whole Wheat, 1/2 white)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla
1-2 C coarsely chopped, pealed apple

Mix all ingredients together.  Batter will be lumpy.  Spoon into greased muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Makes about 1 dozen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm a little behind the times in posting this, as my birthday was last week.  But, Mississippi Mud Cake is delicious and needs to be posted about, no matter how many days late it is.

Mississippi Mud Cake

4 Eggs
1/3 C Cocoa
1 C Butter
2 C Sugar
1 1/2 C flour

Melt butter and add the cocoa.  Beat all other ingredients into the melted cocoa butter.  Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 min.  Top with one small jar of marshmallow cream.

Melt 1/2 C butter with 1/4 C cocoa.  Add 6 Tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 4 C powdered sugar.  Mixture will be runny.  Pour over cake and allow to cool.

Story:  When I was in elementary school I entered this into the Arvada CO Harvest Festival cooking competition and won.  Clearly even the local food judges think you should try this recipe!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Taco Soup

This recipe is pretty big, so for just two of us I cut it in half.

3-4 Carrots, diced
1 Onion, diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
28 oz stewed or diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
2-16 oz cans of beans (whatever kinds are your favorite)
1 can corn
2-3 tsp chicken bouillion
2 Tbsp taco seasoning (or 1 pkg)
1 lab ground beef, cooked

Cook carrots, onions, and celery in a small amount of water (enough to cover the vegetables).  Cook until tender.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado chunks, etc.


Original recipe from my Mom!