Monday, January 31, 2011

Apple and cheddar cheese melts

Um, how have I never thought of this before? I got the idea from here.  What an easy way to give a simple grilled cheese sandwich a twist. 

All you do is butter one side of two slices of bread.  Put a slice of cheddar cheese, a few thin slices of granny smith apples, another slice of cheese in between the bread slices (buttered sides out).  Then, fry it in small frying pan! Voila! It was great!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chocolate Souffle

Found this recipe here. It was really good! And it happens to be gluten free!  I stupidly didn't use enough chocolate, and you know what? I think it was perfect!

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 100 grams 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, separated

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Butter and sugar four ramekins, as desired. Beat egg whites with the sugar at medium speed, until they just hold stiff peaks. Add vanilla.
  2. Mix chocolate and heavy cream and microwave for 30 seconds. Let sit for another 30 seconds and stir until combined (if chocolate is not fully melted, microwave for an additional 15 seconds). Allow to cool for a minute and then stir in the egg yolks.
  3. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Fill 4 ramekins almost to the top. Bake approximately 12-12 minutes, or until the soufflés are puffed and just set. Serve.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lemon-Herb Slow Cooked Chicken

I just made this and it was fantastic! I'm loving my new slow cooker!

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds, giblets removed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, peeled, trimmed, cloves left whole
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced and zest removed
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (about 3/4-ounce)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 potatoes, thickly sliced
  • Fresh basil, rosemary or lemon slices, garnish, optional
What you do:
  1. Rinse chicken and place in large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, basil and rosemary in bowl, stirring to combine. Pour half of basil-rosemary mixture over chicken, coating chicken inside and out. Place quartered onion and bay leaf inside chicken cavity. Tie legs together at end of drumsticks if desired and place in large slow cooker (crock pot), about six-quart size.
  3. Toss potatoes and quartered lemon in remaining half of basil-rosemary mixture. Add to slow cooker with chicken. Cover and cook 4 to 6 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low heat. Chicken is done when temperature reaches 180°F on meat thermometer. Remove chicken and vegetables to serving dish and garnish if desired with fresh basil, rosemary or lemon zest. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

sugar cookies

just made these:
They were AWESOME! will definitely make again

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Orange Chicken

I made this yummy orange chicken dish and it was surprisingly really good!  Next time I will use less cayenne pepper because it was a bit too spicy for my taste.  I didn't have a thermometer for the oil, so I heated it for 5 minutes on high heat before adding the chicken and that was perfect.  I used 2 large chicken breasts and it was plenty for two people.  I will definitely be making again!  OR, I will be making the chicken the same way, but with sweet and sour sauce from here or here.

For the marinade and sauce:
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
6 tbsp. white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
8 thin strips orange peel (optional)

For the coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups each peanut and canola oil

To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well.

Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag.  Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well.  Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.  Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth.  Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce.  Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy.  In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend.  Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels.  Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat.  Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F.  Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking.  Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces.  Serve over rice, if desired.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This version is better than my cajun chicken pasta.  It's really yummy! I modified it a bit, but here is where I got the recipe:

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb spaghetti pasta
3+ tsp Cajun Spice seasoning (I just kept adding and tasting as I went along)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 green capsicum, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 brown onion, sliced
3 tsp minced garlic
4 small tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream

1 T cornstarch mixed with a bit of warm water
1 tsp cayenne pepper / chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

What you do:

1. Sprinkle 2 tsp of the cajun spice mix over the chicken pieces, then toss to coat. Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a pan and brown the chicken over high heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.  You can also start cooking your pasta now too. 

2. Add the remaining oil and butter into the same pan, then sauté the capsicums, onion, and garlic with more cajun seasoning, along with some salt. Do this over high heat because you want the veggies to really caramelize and start to get dark (flavor!).

3. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 secs. Pour in the chicken stock and wine now, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the sticky bits incorporated into the sauce. Cook for 5-10 mins.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in the cream. Keep whisking the saucing, and sprinkling in the spices per your taste. A dash more salt, lots of black pepper, and some chili powder too. 

5. Add the chicken back, and continue to stir the sauce until the whole thing reaches a consistency you like - I just wait for the sauce to be able to coat the back of my wooden spoon. 
I added in the corn starch mixture to thicken everything up.  

6. Cook your pasta per the instructions on the box. Drain it and add it directly into the pan with the sauce. Turn off the heat, then toss the pasta, coating it completely with that awesome sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.