Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Fruits of My Labor

Tomatoes! One of my favorite foods....I always refer to it as a veggie, but I know it's a fruit. After the second year of attempting to grow some, here's my results! Although I have grown cherry tomatoes before, I only was able to get a few. I finally got my full sized ones to grow, and I have a bunch more that are starting to ripen. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Return of Great Pizza!!!

Not all my kitchen items came with me to Tennessee when I first moved. One of the things that got left behind was my pizza stone - I just got it back and couldn't wait to use it. Growing up in Windsor(Ontario, Canada) I got so used to great authentic Italian-style pizza - from small family pizzerias, no chain stuff me! Making my own pizza on a stone is the closest thing I can get to it - I tried a new dough & sauce recipe, as well as using turkey sausage instead of pepperoni. I meant to grill the pizza, but I was anxious to use the stone again (plus we're low on propane...)

Grilled Pizza Dough
from Bella Lately

I did not grill it, or follow the directions exactly, I am only posting the parts that I followed, which is basically the ingredients. Click on the link to see the original recipe, if desired.

Makes 1 lb dough, enough for 2 (9-inch) pizzas.

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 3/4 to 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading and dredging3/4 cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Stir together yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water in a measuring cup and let stand until mixture appears creamy on surface, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn't, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir together 1 1/4 cups flour and salt in a large bowl, then add yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water and stir until smooth. Stir in enough of remaining flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup) for dough to come away from side of bowl.

Knead dough on a work surface with floured hands, re-flouring work surface and hands when dough becomes too sticky, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 8 minutes. Generously dust balls all over with flour and put in a medium bowl.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours. Dough can be allowed to rise, covered and chilled, 1 day. Bring to room temperature before kneading.

Form pizza rounds: Do not punch down dough. Gently dredge 1 ball of dough in a bowl of flour to coat, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Holding 1 edge of floured dough in the air with both hands and letting bottom touch work surface, carefully move hands around edge of dough (like turning a steering wheel) Lay dough round flat on floured surface and continue to stretch by pressing dough with your fingertips, working from center outward to edge, stretch into a about 16-18 inches in diameter. The original recipe made two 9 inch pizzas, or 4 smaller ones, but I made one large.

I put the dough on a pizza paddle that was dusted with cornmeal, and added my toppings.I preheated my pizza stone on the lowest rack at 500 degrees for 45 minutes, lowered the temp to 475 degrees and baked for 8-10 minutes.

Pizza Sauce
from me!
8 oz no-salt added tomato sauce
3 oz tomato paste
1 ts minced garlic
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a bowl,cover and let flavors blend for about an hour. It makes enough sauce for about 2 large pizzas.

For my toppings, I used part-skim mozzarella cheese, a little less than half of the sauce, some thinly sliced baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced red pepper(into rings) & small slices of red onion. I took 2 mild Italian turkey sausages out of the links, and browned it and added a few sprinkles of garlic powder & dried Italian seasoning, and added it to the toppings. A nice change & lower fat option than using pepperoni!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finally An Elegant Meal!

Many of my posts lately have been not very figure flattering or bar food. As I have been out of town and eating way to much junk, I wanted to make something pretty and sort of gourmet. My basil plant has just grown out of control, and I have made pesto quite often (although I keep forgetting to blog it...) I found these dishes on Allrecipes and they were both delicious, I made only slight changes and it definitely fit the bill - an easy elegant dinner that would be impressive enough for guests or just a nice romantic meal with your honey!

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo
from Allrecipes

2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes I used dry packed and softened them
2 tablespoons olive oil I used basil infused olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese I used both shredded Parm & Romano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Place basil leaves and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times until blended.
In a large bowl, toss together the orzo, basil-tomato mixture, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Serve warm or chilled.

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic
from Allrecipes

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced I used baby Bellas
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic I smashed 4 cloves and added first, then added 2 minced cloves when I added the vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).

Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.

Fake Out Take Out Orange Peel Chicken

A guilty indulgence of mine is the spicy orange peel chicken from two of my favorite Asian restaurants - PF Chang's and Bamboo Club. Every time I visit one of those places, I vow to try something new, but I always end up ordering the same thing - because I couldn't duplicate it - until now. I came across this recipe, and it was amazing. I made very little changes, and served it with steamed broccoli & brown rice.

Spicy Orange Chicken
adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures & America's Test Kitchen

Marinade & Sauce:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces I used chicken breasts
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest and 8 strips orange peel (each about 2" long by 1/2" wide) from 2 oranges
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar I used 2 tbsp white vinegar & 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce I used 1/2 cup low sodium
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced I used 4 cloves
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cayenne
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
8 small whole dried red chiles (optional) I didn't have them, but I added red pepper flakes, approximately 1/2 tsp....I like it spicy!

Coating & Frying oil:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups peanut oil

* Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag; set aside. Combine the chicken broth, orange juice, grated zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in a large saucepan (with at least a 3 quart capacity); whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup of the mixture and pour into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all the pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.

* Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water with the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel and chiles, if using (the sauce should measure 1 1/2 cups); set the sauce aside.

* Place the egg whites in a pie plate, using a fork, beat until frothy. In a second pie plate, which the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined. Drain the chicken in a colander or large mesh stainer; thoroughly pat the chicken 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. Place the dredged chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, repeat with the remaining chicken.

* Heat the oil in an 11-to 12-inch dutch oven or straight sided saute pan with at least a 3 quart capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees on an instant read or deep fry thermometer. Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350 degrees and repeat with the remaining chicken.

* Reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmer, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sometimes Sticky Fingers Are Good!

This is my second time making ribs. Again, I don't eat them, but Jamie gave the sticky thumbs up....keep a bunch of napkins handy...and if you use a lot, I guess that's the sign of good ribs! I pretty much stuck to the recipe, I made small ingredient and execution changes (mostly b/c I was grilling a burger for myself, and it made sense to grill everything at once)

Amazing Ribs

Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 4 Hours 40 Minutes
Ready In: 5 Hours 10 Minutes Yields: 12 servings

6 pounds pork baby back ribs
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch salt
1 pinch crushed red pepper
4 cups barbecue sauce I used Sweet Baby Ray's, I used about 3.5 lbs of ribs, so I reduced the sauce to 2.5 cups
2 (12 ounce) bottles porter I reduced beer to 1-1.5 bottles, and just drank the rest!
beer, room temperature

1. Cut ribs into small portions of 2 or 3 bones each. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season water a pinch each of salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to the water. Boil ribs in seasoned water for 20 minutes. Drain, and let the ribs sit for about a half an hour.

2. Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. I put meat on the grill after being in the slow cooker, I let the meat cool slightly from boiling, rubbed some garlic powder, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes on meat, and added the bbq sauce, meat & beer to the slow cooker.

3. Lightly coat the ribs with barbecue sauce. Cook the ribs over high heat for a 5 to 10 minutes on each side to get a nice grilled look to them. See above

4. Place grilled ribs in a slow cooker. Pour remaining barbecue sauce and one bottle of beer over the ribs; this should cover at least half of the ribs. Cover, and cook on High for 3 hours. Check ribs every hour or so, and add more beer if needed to dilute sauce. Stir to get the ribs on top into the sauce. The ribs are done when the meat is falling off the bone. The ribs were cooked completely in the first process, the rest is about flavor and texture.

I put meat on the grill for about 10 minutes to get the grill marks & flavor, and coated ribs with a little extra bbq sauce.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Move Over Aunt Jemima!

I have been meaning to pick up some pancake mix for a while now, and I just keep forgetting. A couple of weeks ago, we had a craving for pancakes and I wanted to attempt them from scratch, but I was missing a couple of ingredients. I ended up making peanut butter banana french toast (under my Breakfast tag) since I was missing key ingredients. I froze the leftover bananas from that recipe and then thawed them for this recipe. But oooohhhh...these were worth the wait! It was easier than I thought, and if I can do it, anyone can. I will never buy the pre-made pancake mix again!

Banana Pancakes
from William Sonoma

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small, very ripe banana, peeled I used 2 thawed bananas, one to mix in plus the juices as it thawed, and the other banana sliced for a topping
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup for serving
Sliced bananas for serving

Be sure an adult is nearby to help. Obviously this is a kid-friendly recipe, but I did have Jamie, my favorite sous chef & Breakfast King handy since breakfast is not my forte

Cut the butter into 3 equal pieces. Put 2 of the butter pieces in a small saucepan and set the remaining piece aside. Set the pan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a pot holder, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix with a fork until well blended.

Put the banana in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until almost smooth. Add the milk, eggs and vanilla and stir with the fork until well blended. Pour the banana mixture and the melted butter into the flour mixture. Mix gently with a rubber spatula until the batter is just blended. The batter should still be a little bit lumpy.

Put a griddle over medium heat until hot. To test if the griddle is hot enough, flick a drop of water onto it. It is ready if the drop dances quickly and evaporates. Put half of the remaining butter onto the griddle and spread it with a metal spatula. Drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle, spacing them about 3 inches apart.

Cook until a few holes form on top of each pancake and the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully slide the metal spatula under each pancake and turn it over. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is puffed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Using the spatula, transfer the pancakes to a serving plate.

Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the pancakes while still hot with maple syrup and sliced bananas. Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Smokin' Potstickers!

I don't have potstickers too often; usually when out at a restaurant, they include pork or shrimp, neither of which I like. So when Jamie requested potstickers for dinner, I was a little hesitant because I thought it would be so much work and I was a little afraid of using won ton wrappers properly. was a lot of work, but it wasn't that difficult. And if you prep ahead of time, it'll go even smoother. This recipe included some new ingredients for me - ground chicken (white meat), Napa cabbage & wonton wrappers. We loved them! I'll definitely be making these again and experimenting with new ingredients.

I don't usually include multiple pics in my posts, but I wanted to show the filling!

All lined up & ready to cook!

Better Than Takeout Chicken Potstickers

Adapted from both Julie's Foodie & Food Network

***This made a ton...well maybe 50 or so....but since making the filling and pouches is a little time consuming, I prepared the filling in the wrappers, froze on a baking sheet and then stored them in freezer bags. Let thaw shortly before use, and cook as normal! You can also freeze the dipping sauces too. Or you could use the filling for lettuce wraps.

1 lb white meat ground chicken
1/3-1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/3-1/2 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup finely diced water chestnuts
3-4 cups finely sliced or grated Napa cabbage
a dash of freshly ground pepper
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
about 50 wonton wrappers

Heat a skillet and cook chicken on medium heat till done.

Add the remaining ingredients except the wonton wrappers (add only 1 tbsp of vegetable oil), and cook for 6-8 minutes, or till cabbage has slightly wilted.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

On a dry surface, lay out the wonton wrappers. Have a small bowl of water handy, and dip your finger in the water and wet the edges of the wontons, this will be the glue that holds it together. Put approximately 1 tbsp of filling in the center, and fold the opposite edges together and press down on the edges, forming a pouch. I laid all the filled potstickers out on a flat surface till ready to cook.

In a clean skillet, heat up 1 tbsp vegetable oil over med-high heat and add the potstickers. Add 1/3 cup of water and put the lid on. Depending on how many you have, you may have to do this in batches. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the tops are steamed and water has evaporated and the bottoms are golden brown and stick slightly to the skillet. Remove from pan and serve with dipping sauce!

Island Teriyaki Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp Soy Vay Island Teriyaki sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp grated lime zest

Whisk all ingredients together, adjust seasonings.

Orange Sesame Dipping Sauce (from Julie's Foodie)

1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lite soy sauce
2 tbsp chives I used green onions
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp orange juice

Whisk all ingredients together, adjust seasoning to taste.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I've Been Cyber-Tagged!

I've been cyber-tagged by Stephanie from Steph's Kitchen!

So here are the Tagging Rules:
Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?

I was attending the University of Windsor, babysitting and partying with my friends...Friday, Saturday, get the picture. But I was also a Sunday school teacher!

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?

1. Clean the kitchen
2. Write my Maid of Honor Speech
3. Do some gardening
4. Exercise
5. Brush the kittens

Five snacks I enjoy:

1. Veggies and this garden herb dip mix that I can only find in Canada that you mix with sour cream....(fat free of course)
2. Loaded Nachos (you know, seasoned beef, beans, sour cream, tomatoes, onions)
3. Dark chocolate peanut M & M's
4. Pita chips & hummous
5. Pizza - it's more of a meal, but I love it so much, so it's on my list!

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Pay off all ours, and our parents debt & buy everyone new houses
2. Start a non-profit that help physically and mentally challenged children and their families
3. Start a non-profit animal rescue/no-kill animal shelter
4. Travel to all the places I've dreamed of going to
5. Go back to college and get all the degrees I want and try new careers...but only work part-time, b/c I don't need the money!

Places I’ve lived:

1. Starting with most recent....Murfreesboro, TN, (it's not as country as it sounds...)
2. Walled Lake, MI
3. Windsor, Ontario, Canada...yep I'm a Canuck!

Jobs I’ve had:

1. Delivering newspapers
2. Babysitting for a couple of different familes over 10 years
3. Sales at The Ambassador Bridge Duty Free (yes, I did sample a few too many yummy and overpriced chocolates, the ones you get at the door)
4. Sales at a clothing and apparel store - and I was even the model for the ads in the newspaper - watch out Tyra!
5. Marketing Assistant for an outlet shopping center...loved it but it was only temporary
6. Account representative for a cell phone provider
7. Marketing Manager for a web services company
8. Sports Journalist for a hockey team....a short term position that I loved...who wouldn't love interviewing hockey players and seeing your articles on their website????
9. Marketing Assistant for a no-kill cat shelter - I would go into work early just to play with the cats! It was more like a home - where the cats could roam & lounge on couches, look out the window, play with toys, just like a real home!

I will be tagging:


Monday, July 7, 2008

A Grown-up Wine Cooler

Remember those cheap wine coolers you may have drank when you first started drinking adult beverages...Boone's comes to mind...... But I am all grown-up & now appreciate great wine, but sometimes it feels too heavy in the 90 + degree weather. So when I came across this at Good Things Catered, I just had to try it. Even though I forgot to add the sparkling water, it was delicious, even the hubby enjoyed sipping a pretty fruity drink! This is definitely a must try for the summertime.

Sauvignon Fruit Splash

1 large bottle of a favorite, fruity Sauvignon Blanc I used Pinot Grigio since that's all I had
1 large bunch mint
1 splash (maybe 1/8 c.?) all natural grapefruit juice I added more like a 1/4-1/2 cup
1/2 c. simple syrup
1/2 c. fresh raspberries I added some blueberries too for some great color
1 bottle sparkling water I forgot to add this, but it still turned out great, I'll add it next time


-Rip mint leaves in half and lightly muddle into bottom of large pitcher

-Add a large handful of ice and pour in wine.

-Add splash grapefruit juice and simple syrup and stir to combine thoroughly.

-Add raspberries and refrigerate for at least an hour.

-Remove from fridge, add more ice, top with sparkling water and serve.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Taste of Tennessee

I don't eat dessert or bake very often, but Jamie made a request for Key Lime Pie. I had a bag of limes to use, so I found this simple recipe. I only made a couple of changes, it was very good, and was great on a hot summer night...maybe I'll try baking more often!

Easy Key Lime Pie I
from Allrecipes
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 35 Minutes Yields: 8 servings

5 egg yolks, beaten
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened
condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice After reading some of the reviews, I added the juice of half a lemon, and used 3/4 cup of total juice
1 (9 inch) prepared graham
cracker crust

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Mix well. Pour into unbaked graham cracker shell.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. I baked it for 20-22 minutes Allow to cool. Top with whipped topping and garnish with lime slices if desired.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sangria, por favor!!!

The one thing I love about going to Carraba's Italian restaurant is the Sangria. If you've never had it, it's a refreshing, jazzed up wine - there are many different variations of this, and can include many combinations of wine, liquors & fruit. This was my first time making it, and well...since the pitcher was gone by the end of the night, I'd say it was a success!

Classic Spanish Sangria
from Allrecipes

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 2 Hours 10 Minutes Yields: 6 servings

1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1 1/2 cups rum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red
1 cup orange juice

1.Have the fruit, rum, wine, and orange juice well chilled. Slice the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum and sugar. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours to develop the flavors.

2.When ready to serve, crush the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon and stir in the wine and orange juice. Adjust sweetness to taste.

If Elvis Were Alive Today....

...he would have been at my house eating breakfast! This is the first entry for breakfast on my blog - and there is one simple reason for that - I can't make it! Jamie is the breakfast king - but I had some bananas to use up, and my loaf and muffin pans seem to have disappeared. So...I found this simple and very yummy recipe for Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast on Allrecipes that would be fit for The King (not Jamie). I have never tried bananas & peanut butter together, and I was surprised at how much I liked it. I served it warm with some maple syrup...and Jamie said "Thank you, thank you very much". :)

****After a suggestion by Joelen, a fellow WC'er, I've entered this recipe in the Fruit Frenzy Blogging Event, check out her awesome blog at Joelen's Culinary Adventures ******

Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast
Submitted by: BonRated: 4 out of 5 by 68 members
Prep Time: 10 MinutesCook Time: 5 Minutes
Ready In: 15 MinutesYields: 2 servings

1 egg
1 dash vanilla extract
2 tablespoons creamy peanut
2 slices bread
1 small banana, sliced
2 tablespoons butter

1. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and vanilla together.

2. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top of each slice of bread. Place the banana slices on top of one of the slices of bread. Place the other slice of bread on top of the first, to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

3. In a skillet or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture and place in the heated skillet. Cook until brown on both sides. Serve hot.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Not Just Another Chicken Wings Recipe

You're probably sick of chicken wings, but here's yet another post...we had some in the freezer, and it is the holiday weekend, so I made them for Jamie. I like to try something different each time, and each time, he says they were awesome. I was browsing Allrecipes, and found this recipe, which I didn't really follow it too closely, but I took some of the reviews and the original recipe into consideration.

Falling-Off-The-Bone Chicken Wings

1.5 lbs chicken wings, washed, dried, separated at joints, tips discarded
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
I estimated the amounts of spices
1 1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Coat a broiler pan with non-stick spray. Mix ingredients from cayenne through garlic powder in a small bowl. Place chicken wings on pan and sprinkle wings with mixture on both sides.

Bake in oven for 40 minutes, turning halfway through.

In the meantime, heat the BBQ sauce, honey & soy sauce in a medium saucepan, cover and simmer on low

Remove wings from oven, and add to saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring to ensure all wings are coated. Place back into the oven on the broiler pan with a new sprayed sheet of tin foil (or just put on pan, but it makes it harder to clean!)

Bake for an additional 15 minutes, turning once, and drizzle some more sauce on wings after you turn them.

Remove from oven, they will be very hot, and the meat should be falling off the bone.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sub-Lime Chicken & Pasta

This is the second time I made this recipe, and I think I liked it even better this time around! I got it after browsing Amber's Delectable Delights; her recipe is a spin on the Spicy Lime Garlic Chicken from Allrecipes. I made some changes as noted in italics, because Jamie likes a little more sauce, and I like more of a limey (is that a word???) taste. Plus it's a good way to get Jamie to eat his broccoli!

Spicy Garlic Lime Pasta
(Source: Amber's Delectable Delights)

1 cup chicken broth I used 1.5 cups to make more sauce
1.5 tbsp lime juice (adjusting amount to your liking) I used approx. 2.5 tbsp
1 tbsp corn starch I used 1.5 tbsp, and I mixed it with a little bit of chicken broth and added to the sauce in the pan when at a high temp
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper I used 1/4-1/2 tsp, I like it spicy!
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder1/4 tsp onion powder1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried parsley I used 1/2 tsp
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
1 tbsp butter
Few drizzles of olive oil
8 oz pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
1-2 cups broccoli florets i used 2 cups
Optional - Parmesan cheese for topping I used some Parmigiano-Reggiano

1) Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. During the last 5 minutes of pasta cook time add the broccoli into the boiling water. Drain.

2) Mix together all the sauce ingredients (chicken broth through parsley) and set aside.

3) Meanwhile, heat butter and olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add bite size chicken pieces into heated pan. Cook chicken until no longer pink. Pour the sauce ingredients into the pan with the chicken and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.

4) Toss cooked broccoli and pasta with the chicken and sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good Things Come in Foil Packages

This has to be one of my favorite summertime meals - potatoes & corn on the cob in foil, and burgers on the grill. It's so easy, quick, and just sooooo yummy! I make some variation of this just about every week. I love adding different things to the potatoes - garlic, onion, mushrooms, butter, fresh herbs......I'll stop right there - enjoy!

Wrapped & Grilled Herbed Baby Reds

8 baby red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley

In a bowl, toss potatoes with above ingredients, except for parsley. Spray a sheet of tin foil with extra virgin olive oil or butter cooking spray. Spread out the potatoes into a thin layers (maybe two or three potatoes thick). Add additional seasonings if desired. Fold over the tin foil, press all edges and deal into a neat little packages.

Grill over medium heat, carefully flipping over once. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. (the thicker the potatoes, the longer it needs to cook) Remove from grill, and add freshly chopped herbs.

Herbed Grilled Corn

I didn't take a picture of it, but it looks just like the other grilled corn pics in my blog ;)

2 ears of corn, husks & silk removed
2 tbsp Smart Balance 50/50 blend, softened (or butter, or whatever you like!)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dried Italian herbs
a few sprigs of freshly finely chopped parsley

Spray a piece of tin foil (not too big, just enough to wrap around the corn) with non-stick olive oil or butter flavored spray. Spread butter mixture on corn, and wrap in foil. Grill over medium heat for 20 minutes, turning often to cook evenly. Remove from grill, and sprinkle some fresh parsley over corn.

Double Cheddar Burgers

1 LB ground sirloin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped or grated onion
1 tbsp BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/4-1/3 cup shredded Monterrey Cheddar Jack cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
slices of Sharp cheddar cheese
lettuce, tomato, red onion, or desired toppings

In a bowl, mix all ingredients through the garlic. Form into 3 or 4 burgers, pressing down slightly in the middle. Grill on med-high heat for 16-18 minutes or until cooked as desired, flipping halfway through, add the cheddar slices in the last couple of minutes of cooking.

I usually toast the buns when I put the cheese on the burgers. Finish off with desired toppings/condiments.