Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crock-Pot Chicken Thighs and Roasted Potatoes

Don't you love it when dinner just works! I guess the stars are aligned or some such thing. Whatever the case we had one great meal tonight.
I am always looking for crock-pot recipes that use less process, canned food. This recipe was really too simple. Place frozen boneless, skinless thighs in the crock-pot. Cover with Sweet Baby Rays Original Sauce. Yes, this is somewhat processed-but quick. Homemade barbecue sauce could be used. Cover and cook on high about 3 hours or until done. Remove chicken to plate, cover with foil. The liquid was much to runny for my likes. I strained the liquid thru a fine mesh strainer and removed the fat. I then reduced the liquid to the desired thickness. I returned sauce and chicken thighs back to the crock-pot for a final warm up.
Thanks Jill for sharing! Dad loved it.

The Roasted Potatoes were just that. Nothing fancy here. I had  6 small red potatoes that needed an assignment. I peeled them, sprinkled a little EVOO and added a few seasonings, current favorite is Peppercorn/Garlic Rub from Pampered Chef. I also like Lawry's Seasoning and Smoky Paprika. I sliced the potatoes with Pampered Chefs Crinkle Cutter, I do love cute food! These veggies cooked at 475 for about 10-15 minutes on each side. They were very tasty! Steamed spinach rounded out the meal.. I'm calling this a 30 minute meal, because it's my blog and I can do that. I guess I should say this is a 30 minute (hands on) meal.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

When your only child at home is a 22 year old boy holidays are pretty boring! Thanks to Jarom and Candise we had a fun, fun, Easter. EJ is the perfect age for Easter festivities. We decorated eggs, tried making Nutter Butter Bunnies (not a child friendly activity), put together puzzles, watched Tangled at Uncle Jeff's theater. We also managed to get in 2 Easter Egg Hunts and go to the Fire Station and see what Firemen do all day. You might say we had an action packed weekend.

Ready and waiting, along with several hundred children.

Grandpa helping EJ make a plan,

Too much sugar and excitement--meltdown! And we still have many more activities planned!

We also managed to attend Church, hear and sing beautiful hymns and talk about the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, we had a wonderful weekend. Thanks Candise, Jarom and EJ.
Eliza's favorite prize--Cotton Candy!

Looks like Grandpa has been busy!
This is one happy little gal. She said the Easter Bunny left her all of her favorite things. Cotton Candy and a Chinese YoYo.

Just a four year old funny. I was with EJ after church, we were looking for Grandpa. He meets in a warm room with several other older men. We went inside the room which was now empty. EJ took a few steps into the room looking for Grandpa. He was no where to be found but EJ commented, "It smells like men". It did!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strawberry Lemon Creme Cake Cups

I often volunteer to bring dessert, I love a chance to try a new recipe or repeat an old favorite. Tonight was Relief Society and a springy dessert was in order, even if snow was in the forecast. I found a yummy looking recipe on Real Mom Kitchen--a trifle. A trifle is a beautiful dessert and makes a stunning center piece.  But I like the idea of an individual dessert so here is my version:

Strawberry Lemon Creme Cake Cups
1 (4 3/4 oz) pkg. Strawberry Danish dessert (found by the gelatin)
2 1/2 cup cold water
2 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding
zest of 1 lemon
1 (14 oz) angel food cake, cut into about 1 inch cubes

In a large microwave safe bowl, whisk together the danish dessert and cold water. Cover the bowl with a piece of waxed paper and microwave for 6 minutes, stirring every two minutes. Cool for a least an hour.
In a large bowl, whip the cream and milk until soft peaks form. Add the dry pudding to the cream mixture and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the lemon zest.
Mix strawberries in the cooled danish dessert.
In 10 ounce clear cups layer cake cubes, danish and berries and lemon creme, repeat layers. This makes 15 servings. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. This could also be made in a Trifle Bowl.
I put the lemon creme in a pastry bag with a big tip, this was quick and looked pretty.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quiche Supreme

Do real men eat quiche? I think that was a book from the 70's, we have often joked about quiche. I happen to love quiche and have tried to get the men in our family to love it to. Do they? Well, they do love quiche, especially if it has plenty of meat in like this recipe. It must be served with a side of salsa and a dash of Cholula's. And last but probably most important, it can't be served too often. I on the other hand could eat quiche for lunch several times a week.
Quiche Supreme
9-inch pie crust--straight from the freezer section at Walmart or you could make your own
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, or cheddar, or jack--pepper jack is fun
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup ham, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 green or red pepper, diced
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
Bake unpricked pie crust for 5 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle ham, bacon, cheese, onion and pepper on crust. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, cream, lemon peel, salt, and dry mustard. Pour evenly over cheese mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with salsa or diced tomato. Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from Recipe Shoebox

Monday, April 11, 2011

TWD Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp

I was excited to make this crisp. I was going to use garden fresh rhubarb, Mother Nature had other plans. It has been snowing off and on for the last two weeks--my fresh rhubarb is still a couple of weeks away. There was no rhubarb to be found, fresh or frozen in my smallish town.
But I do love a good crisp so I purchased a bag of Dole Frozen Mixed Berries with Cranberries. It was a good choice. This crisp begins with a simple flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and melted butter crust. It gets interesting when ground ginger and crystallized ginger are added. What a great flavor addition.
Half of the crisp mix is patted in a square baker. The bag of frozen fruit was sprinkled on top. This was topped with a yummy fresh strawberry filling. The remainder of the crisp was sprinkled on top. This smelled so good as it baked, fruit and ginger filled the air.
We ate it warm topped with a little ice cream. It contains enough fruit and oats to be a breakfast food too!
Out hostess this week is Sarah she will have the complete recipe on her blog. TWD bakers come up with great substitutions and variations. I'm always amazed with their creations, I learn so much each week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stir-Fried Sesame Shrimp

Our 22 year old sat down to dinner tonight, he looked at this yummy shrimp stir-fry and said, "I'm so glad I was born to this family." That my friends is why I cook!

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in America's Test Kitchen, The Best Simple Recipes Cookbook. More than 200 flavorful, foolproof recipes that cook in 30 minutes or less. I like this cookbook because it tells me why things work and what products to use. It is a cooking class in a book. I now know the difference between fish sauce and oyster sauce. I know what Asian chili-garlic sauce is and how much heat is in each kind. I know how to toast sesame seeds and why toasted sesame oil is added as a cooking oil and a flavoring. So much to learn. If you read cookbooks like novels America's Test Kitchen Cookbooks can't be beat.
This simple stir-fry was excellent, asparagus is at its peak so make it soon. Cooking time is minimal but as with all stir fry recipes the success is in the preparation. Read the recipe carefully and have ingredients measured and ready to go. It was yummy--we will make it again soon.

Stir-Fried Sesame Shrimp
3 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Combine scallion whites, chili-garlic sauce, ginger and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in a small bowl. Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 1 minute. Clear center of skillet, add scallion mixture, and cook, mashing mixture into pan until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir mixture into shrimp. Transfer to bowl.
Reduce heat to medium. Add asparagus and water to empty skillet. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and simmer until just tender about 2 minutes. Add shrimp mixture and oyster sauce and cook until sauce is thickened and shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame seeds and remaining sesame oil. Sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve with white rice.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Oatmeal Date Muffins for Breakfast

Life is good when there are homemade muffins for breakfast. Especially when the muffins contain dates. Dates have become one of my favorite add-ins. Dates have a wonderful texture, they just kind of melt into a pocket of sweet, chewy goodness. I purchase dates from King Arthur Flour, they are pitted, chopped and ready to use. Enjoy.

Oatmeal Date Muffins for Breakfast
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup chopped dates
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with Pam or use cupcake liners.
Mix together the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and dates,. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and butter.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir together. Be sure not to over-stir, about 10 seconds of stirring should do; just enough to bring the ingredients together.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins.  I use my large Pampered Chef Scoop. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate muffin tin at 9 minutes. Cool in the pan for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe inspired by Simply Recipes

Monday, April 4, 2011

TWD Vanilla Ice Cream Tart

Think of the best ice cream sandwich you have ever eaten...Now, think of eating it 'open-faced'...
That would best describe Dorie Greenspan's Vanilla Ice Cream Tart.
 The tart crust reminded me of an almond sugar cookie. Toasted almonds, brown sugar, flour, butter and an egg came together quickly in my trusty food processor. The dough was easily patted in a buttered tart pan. The crust baked 28 minutes, which was a little too long in my oven. Once out of the oven I sprinkled the hot crust with very mini chocolate chips from KAF. The chocolate melted quickly.
Back to the food processor, toasted almonds were processed till 'almond butter' appeared. Have I mentioned that I love my food processor?? Softened ice cream was added which resulted in a delicious almond vanilla ice cream. And the rest would just be dessert history.

The complete recipe can be found on Jessica's Blog. I expect to see many fun variations of this recipe from other TWD bakers.

Fresh Strawberry Syrup

Just wanted to share this Fresh Strawberry Syrup recipe while beautiful berries are abundant (at least in Costco)! It is simple and delicious, turns whole grain pancakes into fine dining.

Fresh Strawberry Syrup
1 cup finely chopped strawberries--I used my Pampered Chef Chopper, perfect for this job
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1/8 teaspoon Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus--this seasoning includes orange peel, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. It is so good, but plain cinnamon will work.
Mix sugar, corn starch and seasoning in a sauce pan. Add berries and stir over medium high heat till mixture boils. Simmer for a minute. It will thicken as it cools. Enjoy on pancakes, waffles, french toast etc. Delish! Recipe came from Sisters Cafe.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Multi Grain Pancakes and Coconut Syrup

This recipe comes from Grandma Gilbert my daughters Mother in Law. She is one awesome lady. She is happy and hard working, one very gracious lady.
Multi Grain Pancakes are really whole grain, but don't let that scare you. These are delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For a snack just pop one in the toaster. I think they are one of Eliza Jane's favorite foods.

Multi Grain Pancakes
6 cups whole grains--I used 1 cup each of whole wheat flour, oatmeal, barley, rye, spelt and cornmeal
1/2 cup ground flax
1/2 cup coconut
Mix together and store in freezer.

1 1/2 cups whole grain mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix together, set aside.
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
Stir wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients. Mix well and let sit for 10 minutes. If mixture is too thick add additional buttermilk or water.  Cook small pancakes on a hot griddle. These may take longer to cook than traditional pancakes. Serve with Coconut Syrup.