Monday, July 29, 2013

Fried Chicken

This month's Costco Connection had a recipe for "fried" chicken that looked pretty good, so we decided to give it a try.  It was pretty good.  And it wasn't too difficult, messy, or time-consuming either.  Maybe we'll try it again sometime!  Then Wayne came across some Yahoo article on the perfect fried chicken, which had an additional step of soaking the chicken pieces in a brine solution overnight before coating and frying them. He wants to try that version some day as well, so we'll keep you posted. Here's my variation of the Costco recipe.

Oven "Fried" Chicken

8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 tablespoons cooking oil

for the marinade:
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper

for the coating:
2 cups fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the chicken pieces.  Stir to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.

Grease a large baking pan with the oil and set aside.  Combine coating mix ingredients in a large bowl (or bag). Using tongs, remove a piece of chicken from the marinade, place it in the crumb mixture to coat, then in the baking pan.  Repeat with each piece.  Bake the chicken at 400° for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.  Serve warm, or chill overnight to take on a picnic.  (Use a cooler.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Raspberry Ice Cream

One of the recipes that Michelle brought home from school and wanted to try again was for Raspberry Ice Cream.  We bought the ingredients to make it for Independence Day but never got around to doing it, and used the raspberries and cream in something else. Raspberries were a good deal last week so we bought the ingredients again. I wasn't looking forward to climbing into the attic to get out the ice cream maker, so when I saw a recipe for "no-churn" ice cream in the current issue of Woman's Day, I was intrigued. I compared the two recipes (the WD one wasn't a raspberry version) and created my own. It got the "thumbs-up" from the YSA kids last night, so I think we'll try it again someday and experiment with other flavors. Let us know if you have a favorite combination!
No-Churn Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in "variation" ingredients.* Pour into 9x5" loaf pan (or another similar-sized, freezer-safe bowl/pan) and freeze until firm, at least five hours.

* Alternately, you could marble the "extras" by pouring half the ice cream mixture in the pan, topping with half the other mixture and running a knife/fork through it to marble, then repeat.

Raspberry Version:
1 package (3-4 oz.) raspberry jello
3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup ice cubes
1 cup raspberries

Dissolve the jello in the boiling water; stir in the ice cubes until melted. Set aside half the jello for another use.  (Eat it for lunch.)  Stir the mostly set, but not firm, jello into the cream mixture with the raspberries and freeze as directed.

Here are some variations from the magazine to help you come up with your own ideas.

Zesty Coconut Version:
1 tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes)
1 cup toasted coconut

Nutty Bananas Version:
1 large banana, diced
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons caramel sauce

Peach Pie Version:
1 cup graham crackers, roughly chopped
1/2 cup peach preserves

Chocolate Peppermint Version:
12 Peppermint Patties, chopped
1/4 cup chocolate sauce

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rennie's Rice Pudding

Technically I guess this comes from the Barefoot Contessa, but in our family it's Rennie's Rice Pudding.

Rice Pudding

3/4 cup white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups half-and-half, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (can mix and match with almond extract as well if desired)
3/4 cup raisins, optional (Note: the original recipe calls for these to be soaked in two tablespoons of rum first, but we don't normally do that, and since we don't even like raisins to begin with, it's not a big deal.)

Combine the rice and salt with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stir once, and simmer, covered, on the lowest heat for 8 to 9 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. (If your stove is very hot, pull the pan halfway off the burner.)

Stir in 4 cups of half-and-half and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, until the rice is very soft. Stir often, particularly toward the end. Slowly stir in the beaten egg and continue to cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the remaining cup of half-and-half, the vanilla, and the raisins with any remaining rum. Stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Crab Fried Rice

Crab Fried Rice

3-5 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic
2-3 green onions, minced
1 cup crab meat
6 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

Heat a little oil in wok and sauté garlic for a few minutes.  Stir in green onions and crab meat, then rice and heat through.  Push to edges, add a little oil in center, and scramble eggs, then incorporate into rest of mixture.  Stir in pepper and fish sauce and serve.

Note: The description for this recipe stated particularly that this was not to include peas and carrots and mushrooms, so I left them out.  However, I like extra vegies in my fried rice, so I'll probably add them next time.  It didn't state what type of oil to use.  I started with a bit of sesame oil, then added a little olive oil.  We also used imitation crab, since that was the ingredient I was trying to use when I searched for a recipe.  This was a yummy version, and we'll be trying it again some day.  Maybe next time I'll remember to take a picture!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

French Baguettes

We tried this Pinterest recipe last night, and Wayne said to be sure to pass it along to all our daughters because he knows his sons will love it.  So, here you go!
Easy French Baguettes

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon (or package) yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3-4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve the yeast and sugar into the warm water.  Stir in the flour and salt and knead briefly. Divide into four pieces and roll into thick ropes.  Twist two together and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the other two pieces of dough.  Let rise for 30 minutes, if desired. Place in oven preheated to 425°.

Pour 3-4 cups of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven and immediately close the door. (Apparently, this is the "secret" ingredient!) Bake for 15-18 minutes.
See the ice cubes at the bottom of the oven?
The original recipe called for 2 cups of water, but I knew with only 4 cups of Florida flour that would not be a bread dough, so rather than add more flour, I started with less water.  When I tossed in the ice cubes, half of them fell down the hinge area and I couldn't close the door, so I need some practice with that.  I wonder if it would work with the ice cubes placed in a cake pan? Anyway, this bread was delicious, and we won't mind experimenting with it some more. The original recipe said to serve it with olive oil for dipping; we used butter and jam last night, but the olive oil would be scrumptious and we're looking forward to trying that soon. Even though the original recipe had "crusty" in the title, one of the things we loved about our version was that it wasn't hard and crusty at all; it was soft! So, we hope you have fun trying this out some time.

11/29/2016 - Tried half recipe (so one loaf) with basically 3/4 cup wheat flour, 3/4 cup white flour, and 1/2 cup oat flour. Put the ice cubes in a cake pan.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Great Chocolate Chip Muffin Experiment

Did we tell you that Michelle is the ward choir director for the summer?  Anyway, she's doing an awesome job, and she wanted to reward the faithful choir members with some muffins last Sunday.  Her first choice would have been blueberry muffins, but we forgot to add blueberries to the shopping list.  Oops!  So, she decided to go with chocolate chip muffins.  Our usual chocolate chip muffin recipe also has bananas in it - Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins - but Michelle doesn't like banana muffins, so I went searching for a new recipe.  I narrowed it down to two - one here and one here.  Since we needed two dozen, I decided to make both and compare.  Even though I was pretty sure both of them had too many chocolate chips for our taste, I followed the recipe!  
The first recipe made drier muffins, but I liked the idea of sprinkling them with sparkling sugar, so if I make them again, the following is the adaptation that I'll use.
The "sprinkling" sugar I had on hand.

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk (or soured milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or up to 1 cup regular sized)
sugar sprinkles

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Combine liquid ingredients in large measuring cup.  Stir into dry ingredients, then add chocolate chips.  Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 375° for 17-20 minutes.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Smothered Chicken

This isn't really a recipe, but it was delicious, so if you want to try it yourself -
First, saute some mushrooms.
Remove them from the pan and add some spinach, along with some cream cheese or sour cream or white sauce (it's been so long, I'm not sure what we used!).
Place some seasoned chicken breasts in a baking dish,
Top with the mushrooms, spinach and cheese,
Then bake until they're done.
And enjoy a delicious Sunday dinner!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Classic White Bread

Here's the recipe Michelle used to make bread last week.  It was awesome!  Maybe it's just because it's been a while since I've made white bread (usually we're using our wheat flour), but maybe she's just an excellent baker!  We're definitely having this again, and I only hope that it turns out as well when I make it.
Classic White Bread

6-7 cups bread flour
(note: we used regular white flour and added 2 tablespoons gluten)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
4 1/2 teaspoons regular (or quick) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups very warm tap water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, if desired

In your KitchenAid bowl (remember this is from her cooking class - we just used our Magic Mill mixer), stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed.  Add warm water.  Beat on medium speed one minute, scraping bowl frequently.  (Our mixer only has one speed now - high.  It worked.)  Stir in enough remaining flour, one cup at a time, to make a soft dough that is easy to handle.

Put on kneading hook and knead about five minutes, or until dough is smooth and springy.  Grease large dinner plate (we used a 10" pie plate to make sure it was oven safe) with shortening.  Place dough on the greased dinner plate, turning to grease all sides.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in proofing oven** 15 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

Grease bottoms and sides of three 8x4" or two 9x5" loaf pans.  Gently deflate dough and divide into thirds.  Flatten each dough portion with hands or rolling pin into an 18x9" rectangle on greased surface.  (PAM is fine.)  Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9" side.  Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal.  Fold ends under loaf and place seam side down in pan.  Brush loaves lightly with butter.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 20 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.  (If you have two ovens, you can use one as a proofing oven and the other for baking.)

Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove loaves from pans to wire rack.  Brush with butter and cool.

**Preheat your oven to 275°.  Turn oven off, place a small baking dish filled with boiling water in the bottom, and place dough on center rack to rise.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Mousse Filling

We picked up some raspberries at Costco the other day, with the object of making a yummy dessert with them.  I searched high and low to find what I was imagining, with no success, so that meant I had to create my own recipe.  I was looking for something chocolate-y and creamy and light.  I'm not so sure this would be considered "light" but it was definitely delicious.  And the mousse was delicious all on its own, which might be the best way to serve it in the future!

Raspberry Mousse
Soften 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin in 2 tablespoons cold water.  Heat in microwave for about one minute to dissolve.  Stir in 1/2 cup raspberry jam.  Whip 1 cup of cream with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup fresh raspberries if desired. Stir two mixtures together and chill.

Chocolate Cake

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl combine egg, milk, oil and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients, and then stir in the boiling water.  Pour into a greased 9" round cake pan and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Cool
Note:  Can easily double this for a two-layer cake.

To assemble, split the cooled cake in half horizontally.  (If you want to make two layers, that's fine, but the cake part will be thicker and that's not what I wanted.)  Place one on a cake plate and top with the raspberry mousse, and then the other cake.  "Frost" with Hot Fudge Sauce and garnish with fresh raspberries.  Chill.  Serves 12.

Note: Next time I'll try making a ganache for the frosting, which is what most of my "inspiration" recipes used, but I didn't plan far enough ahead and I used all the cream in the mousse.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Bars

I'm not sure I'll ever make these, but I'm clearing off the counter and want some way to save this recipe that Fay brought home a while ago.  She brought the leftovers home, too, and they're scrumptious brownies.  I just don't normally make things from cake mixes, nor do I care to melt caramels.  However, I can always change my mind!!

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Bars

1 box German chocolate cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
2/3 evaporated milk
1/2 pound caramels
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix 1 box German chocolate cake mix with melted butter
and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Spread 2/3 of the batter
in a large brownie pan and bake 5 minutes in a 350
degree oven. Meanwhile melt caramels with 1/3 cup
evaporated milk in a skillet over low heat. Remove
the partially baked cake mixture and pour the caramel
mixture evenly over it. Sprinkle pecans over the caramel
mixture. Then sprinkle chocolate chips over the pecans.
Place the rest of the batter over the chocolate chips by
half teaspoonfuls evenly over the whole pan. Return to
the oven for 20 minutes. Cool thoroughly and cut into
small bars. These freeze and mail well.

(Sorry there's no picture!)