Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finger Lickin' Good Chicken

The weather is getting warmer, so it's time to dust off the grill. Jill offered to make dinner one night last week, and I was happy to let her. She purchased some chicken thighs and legs --complete with bones and skin, what?? She assured me they would be delicious. Now I'm not much into bones and skin but I trust her judgement. She baked the chicken at 400 until its internal temperature reached 165 degrees (depending on how much chicken and what kind of cut, it will take around 30 minutes). This rendered much of the fat. She then finished it on the grill over high heat for 4-6 minutes on each side, brushing it with 1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's mixed with a few tablespoons of A1 steak sauce...the A1 adds a fun "tang" to the sauce.  The chicken is already cooked through, so you are just grilling it to crisp up the skin and let the sauce caramelize.

The end result was delicious. It was finger lickin' good! The skin was crispy and the chicken was perfectly cooked. This budget friendly meal was a hit with friends and family, perfect to feed a crowd. Just make sure there are plenty of napkins available!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Giving

Every once in a while you run into a blog post that is just so good it needs to be shared. I found such a post on Danelle's blog Outnumbered.
We have so many opportunities to serve others, Danelle has just posted some great ideas on giving and serving those in the hospital. She also knows how to care for patients once they get home. Hospital stays are quite short now so patients really do need help once they return home. With her permission please allow me to share Danelle's blog post.


The past few weeks, I've taken meals in to two different friends.  One just had a baby, and the others husband had been in the hospital for a minor surgery.  Meals are always appreciated, but there are some other great things you can do for friends and neighbors when someone in the family is experiencing a hospital stay.

The Snack Basket:  This is hands down my favorite way to help someone out during a hospital stay.  When E was in the hospital after his first seizure, one of our friends raided her pantry and brought us a huge basket of snacks.  It was full of things like granola bars, fresh and canned fruit, and crackers.  It was a lifesaver! 

Often, when a family member is in the hospital, people are coming and going, but no one has time to sit down to a full meal, or do any grocery shopping.  Everyone's schedules are disrupted.  This is especially true if the hospital visit is unexpected.  During a family emergency, eating right (or eating at all) can be the last thing on anyone's mind.  We literally lived off of our snack basket for two days.  It's also portable, and can be carried back and forth to the hospital, where both patients and visitors often need or want something to eat.

Snack baskets are also quick and easy to put together.  Try picking up a few cheap baskets when you see them on sale. There's a good chance you'll have enough food in your pantry and/or refrigerator to make up a basket on the spur of the moment. You could also include things like homemade cookies, beef jerky, fruit leather, nuts, popcorn, pretzels, juice, and even some chocolate or candy. Easy Mac is great for older kids who might be home alone without anyone to cook for them.  Individually packaged portions like the 100 Calorie Packs are great for something like this too.

An Offer to Watch Children:  If you can offer to take someone's children during a hospital stay, I can tell you from experience, they will be eternally grateful.  This is especially true of mothers who are due to deliver a child and have other young children at home.  More so if they don't have family in town.  One of my biggest concerns when I was pregnant with my second and third child was what I would do with the other kid(s) when it was time to go to the hospital.  A new mom might also appreciate someone taking older kids for a few hours once she and baby have returned home.

I also know how grateful I was when a friend came to my house at 5:00 am so I could be at the hospital for a 6:00 am surgery.  She woke the children and got them dressed and ready for school so that my husband could accompany me to the hospital.  What to do with the children is always a stressful thing to consider when a family member is in the hospital, and anything that can be done to help out in that area is always greatly appreciated.

Hospital Care Kit:  Depending on the situation, you could put together a small care package to send along to the hospital.  Consider including things like books and magazines, lotion, Chapstick, snacks, warm socks, change for vending machines, and for expectant mothers, a scrunchie to hold their hair back during labor.  If children will be frequent visitors to the hospital, you might even include a few art supplies or small toys.

Freezer Meals:  Like I said, meals are always appreciated.  However, people often receive more food in the week or two after a hospital stay than they can possibly eat.  For this reason, I like to take in a freezer meal whenever possible.  Meals that freeze well include soups, Mexican dishes like enchiladas, pasta dishes like lasagna, and most casseroles.

I always splurge on disposable pans and Glad-ware when I take in a meal.  I don't want the people I'm trying to help to have to worry about returning any dishes to me.  It's the last thing someone wants to think about during or after a hospital stay.  If you're taking in a warm meal and don't want to use disposable dishes, ask if you can transfer the food to the recipient's dishes right then.  You can take your dishes home and they won't have to worry about returning them later.

Often, the most overwhelming time for a new mom or someone who has been in the hospital comes few weeks later, when everyone has stopped pampering them and the offers of help have died down.  A freezer meal will be very much appreciate then!

Gift Cards: Consider a gift card to any a local restaurant that delivers. Pizza is the obvious choice, but depending on the family, you could do Chinese or sandwiches. This is a great option for providing meal if you are busy too and don't have time to cook for your family and someone elses. And much like a freezer meal, it can be saved for a time when other offers of help have slowed down.

Mixes & Staples:  My friend Kristen recently told me that when she brings a meal, she also likes to include some homemade pancake mix, along with instructions and a few staples, like eggs and milk.

There are tons of recipes for mixes in a jar out there.  Many of them would be fun to include with a meal, and would be great on their own as well.  It might even relieve a little stress for the family members at home to be able to whip up a batch of cookies together, using a mix and other ingredients that you've provided.  People appreciate knowing that you're thinking of them.  You don't have to do something elaborate or time consuming to let someone know they're in your thoughts and prayers.

Don't be afraid to get creative and ask what's really needed!  Sometimes the answer will be meals, but there are often other things that people are in need of when they or another family member are in the hospital.  And don't forget that the time after arriving home from a hospital stay can be a difficult transition with different needs.  One thing is certain, your help will be welcomed and appreciated.
Thanks Danelle, this is one great article--all of the article including the photo's are courtesy of Danelle.

I think in the coming weeks I might post some more basket ideas or meals in a jar recipes etc.
How do you show love to those in need? Please answer in the comments section and I will compile a list for a future blog post. thanks, cindy

Monday, April 23, 2012

SCR Browned Butter Toasted Coconut Oatmeal Cookie

It's reveal day for Group 3 of the Secret Recipe Club! We have a month to stalk someones blog, get to know them and finally make a recipe from their blog. This last month I have been stalking Chelsy's blog Mangia . What a fun gal. I love her Friday Link Love--just great links from many blogs. So much inspiration. Chelsy is beautiful and fun. She describes herself as a homebody. She loves to serve others, by taking them treats or just being there for them. She talks about her little sister and her mother and how they love to get together. Chelsy sounds like someone I would like to go to lunch with!
Chelsy's blog is just plain fun! She makes many gluten free dishes but she also has plenty of dishes for everyone. I saw a yummy Cilantro Citrus Slaw that was served with bar-b-que chicken tacos. I've got to make the slaw soon!
 But... Browned Butter won my heart, it is my new favorite flavor! It smells heavenly and makes everything taste delicious. Chelsy had several browned butter cookie recipes, I had to try one! One of my new favorite flavors is browned butter, it smells heavenly and makes anything taste delicious.
I just might have a new favorite cookie recipe--thank you Chelsy!

Browned Butter Toasted Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and browned to about 3/4 C. butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup toasted coconut (sweetened or unsweetened - you choose)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (optional--yes I think there is enough going on you don't need the chocolate). Did I just say that??

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  On one baking sheet spread out the shredded coconut.  Toast coconut for about 6 minutes until browned and fragrant. Remove from oven, cool in a small bowl. Toast pecans until fragrant.
 **Please devote your entire attention to the butter browning.  This is NOT the time to multitask!  Do not answer the phone, load the dishwasher, Play Words With Friends etc.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  The butter will begin to foam and crackle as the water evaporates from the butter.  Once the crackling subsides the butter solids will begin to brown.  Keep a close eye on the butter at this time.  You may notice the smell of the butter changing. Once well browned, immediately remove the butter from the pan so it will not continue cooking and burn.  Allow the butter to cool for a few minutes

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment measure sugars. Add the brown butter and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  The mixture may look grainy, it's ok!

Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  The mixture should become silky smooth.  Add vanilla and beat.

With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients.  Beat until just incorporated.   Then fold in the toasted coconut, pecans and chocolate chips.  The dough will be thick. My dough was very thick, prpbably from adding extra coconut and nuts. I added a tablespoon of water. I bake a test cookie just to see how it looks.

Spoon by the tablespoons onto the parchment covered baking sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown but still slightly soft in the center.  Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I had some extra dough, I put it in a sprayed mini muffin pan and cooked it for 12-14 minutes.  Perfect little muffins, gooey in the inside. Great with a scoop of ice cream. So many delicious options!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Basic Brownie Mix Cookies

A popular cookbook in the 80's was Make a Mix, it was my bible for a time. I had large, young family and needed to get the most of my time and resources. A Master Mix was the beginning of many tasty dishes. Mexican Meat Mix was and is a family favorite. Basic Brownie Mix was always in my pantry. I used it for brownies, chewy chocolate cookies and a quick gift. Who doesn't love a bag of homemade brownie mix?
Where is all this going??? A young friend wanted my brownie recipe, I told her she needed to be more specific, I have 14 brownie recipes on my blog! She proceed to tell me I taught a class and gave a handout that included a recipe for a 'basic brownie mix'. This recipe is too good not to share.

Basic Brownie Mix
6 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
8 cups sugar
1 (8 ounce) can unsweetened cocoa powder
Stir ingredients together with a wire whisk. Store in a cool dry place for 10-12 weeks.

2 1/4 cups basic brownie mix
1/3 cup melted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Mix together melted butter, beaten eggs and vanilla. Add brownie mix and chopped pecans. Mix together. Spread in a 8x8 inch pan that has been lined with foil and sprayed with Pam with Flour. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and frost as desired.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
2 1/4 cup basic brownie mix
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup melted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water
Mix together brownie mix, flour and baking soda. Melt butter add eggs, water and vanilla. Add flour mixture. If desired add chopped nuts, mini M&M's or chocolate chips. Using a small scoop put on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD/BWJ Lemon Loaf Cake

Today's Tuesday with Dorie/Baking with Julia is hosted by Michelle who blogs at The Beauty of Life and Truc who blogs at Treats. Check their blogs for the complete recipe. I also saw some amazing cakes and cookies on their blogs, so spend a moment and get to know these bakers.
So...Lemon Loaf Cakes, I made this treat today. The beauty of making something at the last minute is that you can use the advice of many bakers who are not procrastinators.

This cake comes together in five minutes says the instructions. I guess this baker didn't have 4 small children under 5 in their kitchen. But it did come together quickly and in one bowl. I rubbed my lemon zest into my sugar--a trick I learned from Dorie. It smells heavenly and makes me happy. I also added the juice of a lemon to up the lemon flavor. I baked 3 small loaves in my Pampered Chef Mini Loaf Pan. I also made a frosting with a little butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice.
The verdict...delicious! The cake had a tight crumb and was very tender. I think a bit more salt would help and maybe some lemon oil to up the lemon flavor.  Next time I make this I will serve it with a fresh blueberry sauce and whipped cream.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's Official

It's official! Max and Jess are engaged. The proposal included a hand forged horseshoe, a bale of hay and lots of bling. Max Harris and Jessica Carson will be married August 3, 2012. We couldn't be happier.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quick Ham and Potato Soup

Spring in Utah is rather unpredictable. We started the week with temperatures in the 80's today we are in the 40's. So it's still soup weather.
My daughter Amber sent me this recipe, she said, "It's is quick to make, perfect for a play date." Amber has 4 children under 8--she knows plenty about play dates.
It is quick, delicious and the timing is perfect, we have holiday ham to use. So enjoy this easy delicious soup, it's not just for kids.

 Quick Ham and Potato Soup
2 cups water
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cups diced celery
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cups diced potatoes (small)
combine in a large pot. Boil 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender. DO NOT DRAIN

Cheddar Cheese Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk or Half & Half (the richer the milk, the thicker the chowder)
2 cups cheese, grated
1 cup ham, cubed
In a saucepan melt butter. Add flour and stir until smooth and bubbly. Slowly add milk using a a whisk to keep mixture smooth. Cook until thickened. Add grated cheese and stir until melted.
Add cheese sauce and cubed ham to veggies. Heat through.

                                                            Maya, Amelia, Amber

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Want To Marry You Cookies!

According to Ashley's blog From Dahlias To Doxies these cookies are good enough to catch a husband. I'm not sure about that--I have a hubby of 36 years. But they were delicious and everyone enjoyed them.
This is a fun recipe because you melt the butter and make the cookies in the pan. These are as easy as they are delicious. Allow time to chill the dough and you will have a yummy soft cookie.

 I Want To Marry You Cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon--omit if using peanut butter chips
1 cup white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips--I chopped up an imported bar of dark chocolate--yum!
Melt butter over medium heat. Add sugars and stir till smooth. Chill for 15 minutes. Stir in egg and egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour, oats baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in chips.
Scoop cookies--I used a medium sized Pampered Chef Scoop. Place on Silpat lined baking sheet. Put the cookie sheet--with the cookies in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Bake at 325 for 12-14 minutes.
I live above 5000 feet and baked mine at 350 for 12-14 minutes
Thanks Ashley for sharing a fun recipe, my changes are in red. Check out From Dahlias To Doxies for more great food.

                                                           Happily married for 36 years!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jill's Asian Chicken Salad

I've mention before that I have daughters that can cook. I've made Amber's Asian Salad many times it's always delicious. Jill put her own spin on another Asian Salad, it just might remind you of Aplebee's Asian Chicken Salad.  It has a creamy dressing  and plenty of crunchy additions. We purchased some Panko Breaded Chicken Tenders from Costco. These surprised me and were delicious. So this recipe is mostly just suggestions. It is different every time we make it. Just depends what's in the fridge that day. The creamy dressing and crispy wontons really make it. It is a perfect headed into spring salad.

 Jill's Asian Chicken Salad
Chopped romaine
Diced red peppers
Chopped celery
Sliced cucumber
Broccoli Slaw or Cole slaw mix
Mandarin oranges
Cooked sliced chicken--grilled or breaded
Sliced almonds
Crispy wontons, purchased or homemade

Creamy Asian Dressing
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Mix well and drizzle over salad
Inspired by Mommy, I'm Hungry

Friday, April 6, 2012

Orange Chocolate Bundt Cake

My last bundt post  is a family favorite. It is often requested as a birthday or special occasion cake. Orange and chocolate are a perfect combo--think about the Chocolate Oranges that appear each Christmas. You would never believe a cake this good begins with a cake mix. The recipe comes from Margurite Henderson a Utah cooking celebrity. This cake was perfect for my new bundt cake pan, it shows off the lines in the pan perfectly.
But any pan will work and this is a cake that needs to made soon. Enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake
1 chocolate cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 small package instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
¼ cup double strength hot chocolate (cooled)
2 Tablespoons orange zest
Place all ingredients in bowl of mixer and beat about 3 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured (I spray with Bakers Joy or Pam with Flour) 10 inch bundt or spring form pan. Bake 350 degrees about 50 minutes until center is set. Cool and remove from pan. Top with Ganache.


12 ounce package chocolate chips, semi sweet, milk or bittersweet (I like a combination)
1 cup heavy cream
Heat cream until just boiling. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute, stir till melted. Chill until Ganache is the desired thickness, pour over chilled cake.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Sad Loaf of Bread

Am I getting to old to multitask? We were making one of our favorite meals Teryiaki Salmon and Orzo Pasta. This meal comes together quickly but you have many things going on. Pasta boiling, marinade reducing, salmon broiling etc. etc. I burned the garlic and red pepper, so I had to chop more pepper and then realized I was out of garlic. Some where between looking for garlic powder and draining the pasta I put the bread in to finish baking but didn't realize the oven was set to broil (we just finished the salmon).
And here you have my beautiful loaf of Herb Bread.

Never bake bread on Broil!

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Our second bundt comes from Southern Living Magazine. I always have good luck baking anything from Southern Living. This delicious cake reminds one of a big chocolate chip cookie. Butter, pecans and sugar are combined and placed on the bottom for the bundt pan. This turns out to be a delicious topping on the cake. The batter is basically a chocolate chip cookie. A full bag of mini chocolate chips are added to the batter. This is one delicious cake. Try it with whipped cream and a strawberry and smile.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bundt Cake

I was lucky enough to make several bundt cakes. My friends son was leaving on a mission for the LDS church. Shortly before the Missionary leaves he speaks at our Sacrament Meeting, kind of a farewell address. After the church meetings family and friend are often invited to the missionaries home for lunch or treats.
I offered to make a Bundt Bar, several yummy bundt cakes, sliced strawberries and whipped cream completed the dessert table. It did look inviting. We use cake pedestals of different heights to display the goods. Each cake had a flag in it, the shape of the state Elder G was going to with the variety of cake.
Luckily my girls were here to help. We had fun. I wanted to post the cakes in November--National Bundt Month. But life often gets the best of me. So I'm posting them now--they would make a great Easter Dessert.

Today we will talk about a delicious chocolate bundt with a tunnel of peanut butter. I do love peanut butter so this was my first pick.
Mary the Food Librarian is the resident authority on all things bundt, she has 128 bundt recipes on her blog! I will just send you to her blog for the recipe, the photos are mine. And she will send you to Culinary in the Country for the recipe.
So enjoy this delicious Bundt cake--I would serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, delicious!