Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crock Pot Bayou Gumbo

Lee asked for shrimp so I gave him gumbo, but then I couldn't find the shrimp in the freezer so I only put sausage into it, either way it was really good!  I had to add some broth to this recipe because it was way too thick.

6 tbsp all purpose flour
6 tbsp oil
1/2 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups frozen cut okra
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (12 oz) package frozen shelled deveined cooked medium shrimp, rinsed
1 1/2 c uncooked regular long-grain white rice
3 c water
In small saucepan, combine the flour and oil; mix well.
Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until mixture turns reddish brown.
Place flour-oil mixture in 3 1/2 to 4 quart crock pot.
Combine all remaining ingredients in the crock pot except shrimp, rice and water.
Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.
Add shrimp to gumbo mixture in the crock pot and mix well.
Cook on low setting for an additional 20 minutes.
Serve gumbo over cooked rice.

Adapted from The Crockpot Blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Cucumbers

I love cucumbers!  Back when I used to always go to the lake we would take cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions and cut them up and pour Italian dressing over them and refrigerate overnight and they tasted really good.  I haven't done that in years but when I ran across this recipe I knew I wanted to try it and it was really good.  I still have some in my refrigerator that I'm eating on.  Makes a good side or just something good to snack on. 

Sweet & Spicy Cucumbers
2-3 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar, seasoned or regular
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp minced red onion

Place cucumber slices in a colander sitting over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss well.  Let sit for 1 hour refrigerated.  Toss the cucumbers a few times while they drain as well.  While cucumber slices are draining, prepare marinade below.  (this is to remove some water from the cucumbers)

Combine vinegar, water, sugar, red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the onion.  Let mixture cool to room temperature. 

Pat cucumbers dry and place in a bowl(or airtight container) and pour the vinegar mixture over them.  You can serve immediately or refrigerate for a little bit.  I recommend letting them cool, I ate some immediately but they tasted better a couple hours later!

Adapted from Our Best Bites.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Island Chicken

If you only try one thing on my blog then try this...I promise you won't regret it!  The first time I saw this recipe I was hesitant but after we tried it, we loved it, and I've made it ALOT!  It's really rare for me to make anything more than once every couple of months or so but this I've probably made atleast once or twice a month for the last 4 months.  And the best thing about it is you take 5min. in the morning to put it together and then in the evening take a minute to throw it in a dish and into the oven.  And then throw a vegetable with it like green beans or broccoli and your good to go.  I don't know if you've ever used the Ziploc Zip and Steam but I'd suggest putting some broccoli in one of those and you heat it for less than 5 minutes (directions on bag) and then you have fresh steamed broccoli.  You will have spent about 10 minutes of actual labor in the kitchen for a meal that tastes so good.  By the way this is a good meal to recommend to your friends that say eating out is so much quicker/easier because once they try this meal then they'll hopefully realize you can eat at home for less money and it's usually healthier!  This meal is so easy your teenagers (or husbands...Lee has made this atleast a couple of times) can cook it.

Island Chicken

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 lb. of chicken

Combine all the ingredients except chicken in either a Ziploc bag or a air tight container and shake/whisk ingredients together.  Add Chicken and make sure the marinade is covering the chicken, seal the bag or place the lid.  Refrigerate up to 10 hours. 

When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them.  Bake in the oven about 45 minutes. 

Adapted from one of my favorite blogs, Annie's Eats.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Embrace Photography

I am lucky to have 2 friends that do photography, I posted a picture earlier on of my other friend that had allowed me to use her picture for one of my posts.  Both of these ladies went to high school with my sister, sister in law, husband, and myself.  One of them was one of my close friends and the other was one of my sister's and Lee's close friends.  Anyways I was so So SO lucky to of had pictures done by Brittney Hejl last weekend and I would like to share some of the pictures.  For those of you that know me & Lee's story know that we got married after only 7 weeks of dating and we got married last year and it was quite a busy year with all my surgeries so we never had time to get engagement pictures done.  So I feel very happy & blessed to of gotten these pictures!  If you would like to check out her blog then click here.  If your in need of a photographer and you live in Texas I would suggest contacting her.

Lee & I have matching tattoos that represent our anniversary, March 13th.

My sister's family along with me & Lee.

My sister and her family!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Royal Icing

As promised I am posting today about Royal Icing.  I used a recipe that used egg whites instead of meringue powder because I didn't want to invest my money in meringue powder yet.  I'll be decorating cookies with my sister for Halloween and she has been using this recipe from Annie's Eats that does require meringue powder so I'll let you know in another week if it's better or the same.  I can tell you that as of right now I think this recipe is perfect the way it is and why buy a $4-$5 thing of meringue powder when egg whites do just fine.  Actually better than tastes great and it is very workable! 

2 large egg whites
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Place egg whites & lemon juice in mixer and mix until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and mix on low to medium speed till combined and smooth.  Transfer to airtight container or use immediately.  When using cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place your decorating bags in a small glass of water with your tip pointing down to keep from drying out.  Royal icing hardens when exposed to air.

*My instructions are great for experienced decorators or for those that are familiar with it but if you are new to it all I would suggest checking out Annie's "How to Decorate with Royal Icing" post.  Hopefully one day I will have my own step by step picture instructions but until then please check out her site.

To decorate I used Wilton disposable bags with couplers and tip #3, I also used Wilton colors.  To decorate the cookies outline the cookies first and then you will flood the cookies to "color" it in.  Before you flood it I would add a small amount of water to your icing, mix in 1 tsp. at a time until it's your desired consistency.  There is many methods to flood it, you can use a spoon to pour icing on the cookies and your finger to spread it, use a ketchup/mustard bottle you get at a dollar store/restaurant supply store, or squeeze bottles that you can buy in the cake decorating department.  And  then let dry and harden before you stack them or place them in bags. 

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sugar Cookies

I made these sugar cookies along with the cake balls for a friend and I think they turned out much better than the cake balls, and they were ALOT of fun to make!  So much fun that at 3am I decided to make another batch!  The first recipe though had almond extract and I used my last drop of it so I decided to just try out another Sugar Cookie recipe, I planned to try to compare and see which was better but I couldn't decide.  I will be posting tomorrow about Royal Icing.  If you love to bake I strongly recommend baking some Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing...SOOOOO much fun!

Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ cup flour

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 6-8 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~40 cookies.

Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Alton Brown's Sugar Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp. vanilla (optional, I added this just because I LOVE vanilla) 
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Chill dough until firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out dough to 1/4" on surface covered in powdered sugar.  Cut into desired shape and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 5-7 minutes.  Let cool for a couple of minutes before removing.  Ice or serve plain, store in airtight container up to a week.

Adapted from the Food Network.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cake Balls

Please excuse the horrible picture, I had a huge mess and was super tired so I only have pictures from my Iphone!

(the green is Mike & Ike's, I would suggest this over the tic tac's that Bakerella suggests!)
I had never even heard of Cake Balls until my friend Kourtney had mentioned them last year for me to make for her family for Christmas.  They sounded interesting so I looked them up and that's when I found Bakerella's website which is awesome, I don't know how she does it.  When I was trying to decide something to make for another friend I really wanted to make some more Cake Balls because they tasted really awesome and I thought it would be a good little treat for kids and easy where you didn't have to deal with cutting a cake and serving on plates.  This was the 2nd time I made them and the first time actually trying to decorate them rather than just rolling them in chocolate so I've learned a few things that I'll share at the bottom.  Also if you have experience with cake balls I welcome any advice you can give me!

First off let's start off with explaining what Cake Balls are...All they are is a cake mix mixed with icing, then shaped in balls (or whatever shape) then rolled/dipped in chocolate!  easy Easy EASY!  For these I used just plain white cake mix with white icing, the last time I made them they were Strawberry with maybe cream cheese icing, I'm not sure I can't remember.  I've seen alot of people do Red Velvet and cream cheese icing!  You could always make a homemade cake and icing but I'd suggest taking the easy way with the boxed cake mix or you could actually buy a store bought already made cake and just crumble it all together in a bowl and mix!
Cake Balls

Cake Mix and the ingredients listed on the box
Tub of Icing
Almond Bark or Candy Melts
Muffin/mini cupcake liners

*If you want to decorate them all cute then I'd suggest going to Bakerella's site or buying her book, she has ideas for all holidays plus so much more.

Bake the cake as directed on the back of box.  After it's cooled to touch take the cake and crumble it in a bowl.  Mix in 3/4 of the icing, after it's mixed well then you need to decide if you want to use the whole tub, I used it all but I've read multiple sites saying they like to only use 3/4.  Roll into balls and place on wax paper.  Set in the freezer for at least 30minutes or longer. 

Melt your almond bark/candy melts.  Pull out the balls from freezer and coat them with the chocolate.  There are several techniques to coat the balls but you just have to play around with it until you find the perfect way for you.  You can place the balls in the chocolate and roll it, place the ball on a fork and pour chocolate over it, and I'm sure many other techniques.  I honestly can't tell you what's best because I don't have enough experience and I'm not the greatest at it. 

After you have coated them place back on wax paper and freeze till hard, then set in muffin/mini cupcake liners.  I store them in the refrigerator but I'd serve at room temperature.

Additional tips or things I've learned:

*I hated using the candy melts, I couldn't get it thin enough to work with and they did not turn out as pretty and smooth as I wanted.  You can add some shortening to them to thin it but it didn't thin it as much as I would've liked. 
*Almond bark is the way to go in my opinion, next time I'm going to use white almond bark and tint it whatever color I want it. 
*If you are wanting to do a white cake then add 1t. almond extract and 1t. vanilla to your batter, the cake will taste like it's homemade!
*Plan plenty of time to do these because coating the balls is not a quick task unless your a pro! 
*I started out using a medium size cookie dough scoop and that was entirely too big, the smaller the easier to coat with chocolate!
*Also if you plan on using a edible marker like I planned on doing then don't waste your money, they do not work well on chocolate, atleast not the Wilton Edible Marker's, I was really disappointed because I planned on making the pumpkins into Jack o Lanterns.  And it took me forever to do the ghosts face, should've used chocolate. 

Adapted from Bakeralla.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Smokey Spanish Chicken

Above is the chicken without the cream cheese, below is with the cream cheese!

Have I told you all how good of husband I have?  Well let me tell y'all he is amazing, last week he brought me home a cookbook and then we went to Williams Sonoma and I got another cookbook so be looking out for recipes from them.  This chicken recipe is from the cookbook he picked out, it's a Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook.  And I got lucky with this recipe because I was looking for something, anything to cook as long as we had all the ingredients already.  Oh yeah the very last step is to add the cream cheese and I forgot to add it but then I remembered before I ate so I scooped my food back into the skillet and added it then fixed my plate again!  I had already taken a picture for the blog before I added the cream cheese but then I snapped a quick picture again to show you what the color is suppose to look like. 

1 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1 onion, slivered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tsp. paprika
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup Cream Cheese Spread
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Place half of the oil and the chicken in a skillet and brown chicken on both sides.  Remove chicken and set to side.  Use the other half of the oil and add the onions and garlic and cook on medium heat until the onions are crisp-tender.

Stir in flour and paprika, cook for one minute.  Add broth and tomatoes.  Return chicken to skillet and cover and let simmer for 15minutes or until chicken is done. 

Add cream cheese, stir frequently until melted.  Sprinkle parsley over chicken. 

Adapted from Spread a Little Joy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bacon & Onion Green Beans

This recipe and picture is from my Mom, I guess kind of like a guest blogger, I have made and had these green beans though plenty of time to be able to tell you they are AMAZING!  If you haven't ever had green beans like these then you need to try them and if you don't want to use fresh green beans then you could always use a can of green beans but I recommend fresh!  This would also make a good side dish for your Holiday dinner, we usually have this for Christmas with my Mom.

Bacon & Onion Green Beans
1 lb fresh Green Beans, snip ends but leave whole
1/2 cup chopped Bacon
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1 to 2 Tablespoon White Vinegar
Lawry's Season Salt
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Lemon Pepper
Boil Green Beans until almost tender, still a little crisp, drain.  Fry bacon until almost crisp, add onion, fry until soft.   Drain all fat from Bacon and Onion mixture.  Add Green Beans.  Season to taste, with Lawry's Season Salt, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Lemon Pepper.  Toss till warm, remove from heat and sprinkle with Vinegar. 
Recipe came from my Mom, Sheri Klish. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Easy Cheese Sauce

Lee loves cheese fries so when I came across this recipe I knew I needed to add it to the list of recipes to try.  You can also eat this cheese sauce with chips/nachos, baked potato, burgers, and whatever else you think it sounds good on.  And it was really easy to make, took about 5-7 minutes. 
Easy Cheese Sauce

8oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 can evaporated milk (12oz)
2 tsp. Frank's hot sauce

In a small saucepan place the cheese and corn starch in there and mix together, add the Frank's and then half of the evaporated milk.  Turn the  heat on medium.  Whisk the entire time, once the cheese has melted add more evaporated milk until you reach your desired consistency.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Light Brioche Burger Buns

I never ever would've imagined making my own burger buns but when I saw this recipe I knew I had too!  My Mom tried it out first and said it was good so when I was planning to make Burgers with fries and homemade cheese sauce (I'm posting this recipe later on in the week) I figured I might as well go one step further and make my own buns!  And this recipe is wonderful, I've eaten one bun all by its self as breakfast even and it makes your burger 10x as good.

Light Brioche Burger Buns

3 Tbsp. warm milk (I heated mine for 30 seconds in the microwave)
1 cup warm water (I let my warm water run for a minute, it gets really hot)
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

For topping:
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
Sesame seeds (optional, I did not use them)

Add the milk, water, yeast, sugar, salt, and egg to your stand mix fitted with a paddle attachment and mix real quick till it's combined.  Add the flours and mix again till combined, then add the butter and mix.  Switch to a dough hook and then knead for 6-8 minutes.  The dough will be somewhat tacky but you want to avoid adding too much flour because it will make tough buns, I didn't add any extra flour.

Now you can either take your dough out and oil your mixer bowl or you can get another bowl and oil it and put your dough back in it to rise.  I always turn my oven on 200 degrees and crack it open and put my dough on the edge of the oven to rise.  You need to let it rise 1-2hrs, until doubled, doing it my way it only took a little over an hour. 

Now the original instructions say to line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat but I just oiled a baking sheet and mine turned out fine.  Divide your dough to 8 equal pieces, roll into a ball and place 2-3 inches apart.  Let rise again for 1-2hrs, until doubled.  For this I shut my oven door but I did keep my oven on and set my dough on top.  I could have let mine rise a little longer but I only let mine rise another hour. 

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I was up late one night, like I am most nights and I felt like baking something.  Well I hate having sweets in the house because I will eat them so I figured I'd make something for my Dad.  Once I decided who I was making something for I had to decide what next and my Dad had asked for Snickerdoodle cookies a couple of months ago and I hadn't made them yet for him so I thought of those.  I looked at a bunch of different Snickerdoodle recipes and I found out I couldn't make them because all the recipes called for Cream of Tarter and my Cream of Tarter got damaged during our move so I threw it out and haven't replaced it yet.  And then luckily I ran across this recipe and it sounded perfect and it tasted perfect too!  And if your like me then more than likely you'll have all the stuff to make them because most of the ingredients are all staple items! 

Snickerdoodle Blondies

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9x13 pan and set to the side.

In a small bowl mix together the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and flour.  (if you have a kitchen aid mixer or another stand mixer then you can do the next step first and do this step while the mixer is doing the work for you!)

Beat the butter and brown sugar at medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then add the vanilla.  Then beat in the dry mixture, a little at a time, until it's blended smooth. 

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon.  Spread the batter in the pan and then sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over it.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

(The darker color at the bottom is probably the reason why you should bake this on a wire rack on a baking sheet, doing it in a Pyrex dish did result in the meat baking in juices/leftover crumb mixture but it still tastes really good!)
So a couple weeks ago we went to a wedding and they had a Herb Crusted Pork Loin at the reception and it was wonderful so of coarse that made me go on a search for the perfect recipe to make it at home.  I probably looked at 15 recipes until I found one that looked good, and boy was it good.  It originally came from Cook's Illustrated so you know it has to be good coming from them!  Also after tasting it, it made me think of Thanksgiving.  When I told Lee that he looked at me and asked if I thought it tasted like Turkey and of coarse it doesn't but there's just something about it that reminded me of Thanksgiving.  With that being said I think this would be a great alternative to a Turkey at the holidays, or if your family makes more than a Turkey then I would suggest adding this to your menu!  But of coarse this would be a great meal just for the family, though this is being put on my list of meals to make when we're having company. 

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

3lb. Pork Tenderloin
Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium shallot, minced
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. olive oil
Ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves, minced (I didn't use fresh)
2 tbsp. minced fresh thyme leaves (I used 1tsp Ground Thyme)
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary (I didn't use fresh)
1 large clove garlic, minced

The recipe says to score the meat but I did not do this and feel like it tasted fine w/o so do it either way you please.  Dissolve 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup sugar in 2qt of water (I used a 2qt pitcher and the meat/water fit perfectly but I did have to put the meat in over the sink because water overflowed!) and put plastic wrap over the top.  Refrigerate for 1 hour. 

About 15-20 minutes before your 1hr is up start mixing the herb paste and bread crumb mixture together.

Place breadcrumbs, 2T. Parmesan, shallot (I gave my shallot a quick turn in my food processor), 1T oil, 1/8t of salt and 1/8t of pepper.  Using a fork, toss mixture until everything is coated with oil.

Put parsley, garlic, thyme, rosemary, 1/8t of salt, 1/8t of pepper, 6T of Parmesan, and 3T of oil in food processor and process until smooth. 

Move your rack to middle/lower position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Now take your meat out of the refrigerator and rinse meat with cold water and pat dry.  Heat 2t. oil in skillet and brown all sides of meat, takes about 10 minutes.  Then the recipe says to transfer meat to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil but I just used a Pyrex glass dish and it worked just fine!  (But look at what I wrote under the pic at the top)

Cut a pocket in the tenderloin and spread 1/4 of the herb paste in it.  Now close it and spread the remaining paste on the outside of it and top with bread crumb mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 60-90 minutes.  (I baked mine for 90)

Remove from oven and cut in 1/2in. slices and serve. 

Adapted recipe from Sugar & Spice by Celeste.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cheesesteak Sub

I'm not sure if this deserves a post or not, it's not really a recipe it's more of things I threw together and I don't even have exact measurements on all of it but this is really one of those that is measured by taste not a measuring spoon.  This was really delicious...I was inspired to try to make this from listening to the TV when Lee was watching one of those shows on the Food network about Philly Cheesesteaks.  They looked so good and even though I doubt this is anywhere close to being as good as them it's still pretty darn good!  Oh and the plus side it's quick!

Cheesesteak Sub
*This makes about 3 subs.

2lbs-steaks of your choice
subs, rolls, or whatever your choice of bread is
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp.-A1 Steak Sauce
2 Tbsp.-Worcestershire Sauce
liquid smoke
salt & pepper
Cheese, I would suggest provolone or cheez whiz

Cut the steak in really thin strips and place in a skillet.  Mix the sauces and garlic with the steak.  Shake as much salt, pepper, and oregano as you choose.  I didn't put a whole lot of oregano, just a few shakes, but I did put quite a bit of salt and pepper.  Then add just a little splash of liquid smoke.  You could probably leave that out but I just love the flavor it adds so I wouldn't.  Cook until the meat is done.  Then place the meat and cheese on bread and if you want any other kind of topping add that as well...and there you go...a quick delicious Cheesesteak sub. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pancakes! Pancakes! Pancakes!

Yeah I know this pic. would look better with syrup and butter but I took this pic. while I was still making the rest so I wasn't ready to "doctor" it up
When I feel bad which is typically the majority of the time, I look at lots and I mean LOTS of other food blogs for inspiration or for new recipes.  And it seems like I typically see pancakes or waffles everywhere.  Usually they aren't plain pancakes...there's pumpkin, banana, chocolate chip, blueberry, red velvet and the list goes on but Lee just likes plain pancakes and I happened to come across this recipe and couldn't resist.  I also saw someone post on Facebook that they had breakfast for dinner and that sounded like a great idea for the next night.  And the BEST thing about this recipe is more than likely you have everything at home already!  (That was another reason why I made them, we haven't been REAL grocery shopping in weeks and pancakes enabled us to put shopping off one more day!)  For all of you out there with kids I would highly suggest trying this recipe, it's very easy and you can double the recipe and have enough for the freezer to heat up during the week. 

*I typically don't just copy and paste the recipes but I am going to for this because Lori at Culinary Cover's has great info on how to freeze or make with buttermilk or yogurt.  Also check out her blog, I just ran across it this last weekend and I love the idea of her blog and she has some awesome recipes and tips!

 Basic Pancakes
ingredients:1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
assorted toppings such as butter, maple syrup, confectioner’s sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, or chocolate syrup
instructions:1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees F; have baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg.  Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not overmix; a few small lumps are just fine).
3.  Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium.  Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.
4.  For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 Tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into around (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).
5.  Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes.  Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven.  Continue with more oil and remaining batter.  (You’ll have 12 to 15 pancakes.)  Serve warm, with desired toppings.
Serves:  4
Make and store extra mix:
Whisk together 3 cups flour, 6 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp. salt; store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (this makes enough for 12 servings of 3 to 4 pancakes per person).  To make 4 servings from this mix, place 1 1/4 cups mix in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup milk, 2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter or oil, and 1 large egg; add to dry mix, and whisk just to combine.  Proceed to step 3 of the basic pancake recipe above.
How to freeze pancakes:Stack cooled pancakes between squares of waxed paper; place in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container.  Freeze up to 3 months.  Reheat on a baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree F. oven or toaster oven.  (Avoid reheating pancakes in a microwave as they tend to get rubbery.)
Pancake variations:
Buttermilk:  In step 1, add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to dry mixture.  In step 2, replace milk with low fat buttermilk.
Yogurt:  In step 1, add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to dry mixture.  In step 2, replace milk with 2/3 cup plain low fat yogurt and 1/3 cup milk.
Whole Grain with Yogurt:  In step 1, replace the flour with 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup each of cornmeal and wheat germ, and 1/2 tsp. baking soda.  In step 2, replace milk with 2/3 cup plain low fat yogurt and 1/3 cup milk

Source:  EveryDay Food, September 2006 (This was Lori's source but I got the recipe from her over here at her blog and I followed her recipe exactly!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pizza Roll, PB&J Roll, Club Roll...

I was inspired to make this when I made a Philly Beef and Cheese roll with basically the same concept almost as this but a little different.  In the future I plan on posting the exact recipe for it because it's definitely a delicious quick weeknight meal.  Also I'm showing you the pizza version but I've seen recipes where you put peanut butter and jelly or Lee has even made one of these with ham, roast beef, turkey, and like a Club.  The possibilities are endless...  I would love to hear of any varieties you have tried!

Pizza Roll

Refrigerated Pizza Crust Dough
Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
or any other toppings you would put on your pizza!

Preheat your oven to the temperature the Pizza Crust package has on it.

Roll out the dough and place all your toppings in the middle.

Roll it up and press down the seams to seal it.  Also pinch the ends and tuck them under to secure them.

Bake in the oven for about 15minutes or until done.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cornflake Crumb Chicken with a Twist!

I grew up eating cornflake crumb chicken and I'm pretty sure all my mom did was dip the chicken in buttermilk, milk, or maybe even melted butter and then into cornflake crumbs.  Which it was awesome and one of my favorite meals ever as a kid, I used to dip mine in ketchup and I loved it!  Well when I ran across this recipe I knew I had to try it because it was the basic cornflake crumb chicken but with more flavor and I love cooking with spices!  So if you are like I was making just a boring cornflake crumb chicken then the next time you make it try it this way, it doesn't take anymore than maybe 3 extra minutes plus you probably already have the ingredients and it definitely gives an old favorite a new twist!

Cornflake Crumb Chicken with a Twist

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 lb. chicken tenders
*cornflakes or cornflake crumbs

*I usually buy already crushed cornflake crumbs but I was able to find Kellogg's Cornflake cereal on ad plus used a coupon and bought some for about 25 cents so I used those but either work.  The original recipe says to used 1 1/2cup of Cornflake cereal and crush them to medium crumbs but I just always eyeball stuff like this.

In a bowl combine the garlic, spices, and buttermilk and mix together.  Add the chicken and mix together.  Let sit in the fridge for 1 hour, covered. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Coat the chicken tenders with the cornflakes and place on baking sheet, repeat until finished.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until done. 

Adapted from Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook.