Tuesday, September 3, 2013
1.5 lbs chicken, chopped to bite size (about 1" squares)
2 T olive oil
In bowl or gallon zip-top bag combine:
1 packet ranch seasoning
1 T corn starch
1 T parsley flakes
1 t dill weed
1 t onion powder
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground pepper
I use a non-stick wok for cooking dishes like these. I love the wok because you can cook lots of food very rapidly. I use it for most of my chicken recipes and recommend investing in one. Pick up a non-stick version, and grab a set of bamboo tools while you're at it. That angled spatula will be your go-to for the wok. This is now my second and I've never spent over $30- so even an inexpensive one should last you 5-7 years. Well worth it to be able to cook chicken in 14 minutes!
Okay - enough about the wok. Because, you can make this in a traditional pan - just select a big enough pan that you give the pieces plenty of surface room so they can brown up.
Toss chicken in spice mix.
Preheat olive oil on high. Add chicken and toss to coat, then let sit until browned. This will happen pretty fast due to the corn starch in this recipe, so keep close watch. Stir with a downward thrust into the middle of the pan, shifting the bottom pieces up to the side, and the side pieces down to the bottom. Allow to brown again, then stir again (same motion). Once you've reached the browning that you want, just keep stirring.
With the heat on high, you don't want to let it sit very long in one place or it will burn. If you will not be able to give this pan your attention for 10 solid minutes, you should give your active time to browning and then turn the heat down to medium to continue cooking. It will just take longer. I like to check the doneness of my chicken by cutting a piece in half with my spatula. If it breaks quickly and the juices run clear, it's done. If I have to really push to get it to cut, or if the juices are still pink/red, it needs more time.
I served this over mashed red potatoes, broccoli, and some fresh pineapple I snagged on sale! We had enough for dinner and lunch, since the potatoes also helped to fill our tummies.
For dessert we had chocolate cupcakes with vanilla italian meringue buttercream. I'm a big fan of the easier preparation on the italian version, but I like the slightly denser texture of the swiss meringue buttercream. (Read: I could make myself sick on frosting shots. This from the girl who will scrape traditional buttercream frosting off a cake to avoid it. I'm a frosting snob. Sigh).
If you've never made a meringue buttercream, I highly recommend it - assuming you have access to a stand mixer, it is well worth the effort. HERE is the recipe I used for the italian version. The swiss is out of my Joy of Cooking cookbook. I used a chocolate cake mix, and added 1 T cocoa powder and 1 t vanilla. Because you can't go wrong with extra chocolate and vanilla.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
We were greeted by a friendly gal, later introduced as a neighbor who helps out when they're short handed, who gave us instructions: You'll walk out to these markers. The farther back you go in the row, the better the picking gets. When you pick, pull up, not down on the plant. And, pick only the bluest of blueberries; not green, not crimson, blue with a little white haze on them. That's how you know they're good. And if you need to taste a few to make sure you're on the right track -wink-wink- that's allowed.
Well, the 2 year old with us took that tasting part to heart - we are quite sure he ate half his weight in berries while the rest of us picked. Thankfully they know that's going to happen and had no problem with his berry-stained paws! All our fellow pickers were really friendly too.
Have you ever tasted a blueberry right off the bush? It's the most amazing thing. Ever. We will be doing this every year. A tradition that starts now.
After we had enough in our buckets, and the kids were beginning to complain about thirst and heat we went up to the little store and enjoyed popsicles and cold drinks and were regaled with a whole host of blueberry items - blueberry honey, preserves, lemonade, muffins (of course). I picked just over 2 pounds and my friend just under - and we walked away for a total, get this, under $13. Even the snacks only came up to about $5! How can you beat that for an inexpensive, delicious, get the kids out in nature, outing!? She was making a pie. I made blueberry pancakes the next morning. And we've been enjoying and sharing our prize pickings. Such a treat.
Thanks so much for the hospitality of The Berry Patch, we will never look at blueberries the same way again!
Friday, April 19, 2013
First off, you'll need some hardware - a dutch oven, cast iron or stoneware. Enameled cast iron is their preference, but they borrowed my Pampered Chef "magic pot", aka Deep Dish Covered Baker. It worked great. We'll be working with some high temps, so do check use instructions on your pot first. If you have to reduce temps, increase bake time 5-10 minutes in each step.
Then, you'll need to plan ahead. There's no kneading, or pounding... but you will have to give the yeast time to do its magic. Mix up the sponge, or dough, a day ahead (18 hours). So think of this as a "before you go to bed, and when you get home from school/work the next day", kind of adventure.
Rustic Italian Bread
30 oz (approx. 6 cups) flour, I used whole wheat and increased the water by 2 T)
1/2 t yeast
1-1/2 t salt
3 c water
1 T cornmeal
1 T flour
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in water and stir to mix. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let sit on counter overnight, or 18 hours.
Put dutch oven, with lid, in oven and preheat to 450F for 30 minutes. Just before the 30 minutes are up, put a little flour on the counter and dump the sponge/dough out onto it. Fold all four sides into the center, use a large spatula or dough scraper if you need to. Carefully take the dutch oven out of the hot oven, sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom.
Pick up the sponge and plop it down into the hot dutch oven. Yes, plop. Do a happy dance that you didn't have to knead dough. Put the lid on and return it to the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the lid. Continue baking for an additional 30 minutes at 450F.
The bread should be nice and toasty brown with a total cook time of about an hour.
Let cool for a few minutes then take out and put on a cooling rack. Allow to cool on rack (if you can bear to wait that long before digging in). Slice and enjoy! We had ours with a little butter and honey.
-- Sponge Cryostasis --
If, for some reason, you can't get to baking the sponge in the proper time, seal the bowl well with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Return the sponge to room temperature before baking as directed above.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Never have buttermilk on hand when you need it?
This is one of my favorite things. Yes, you could add vinegar to regular milk, but then you would have to have milk on hand. This way, you just add powdered buttermilk to your dry ingredients and water to your wet, as instructed.
Happy, happy day!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Grapefruits, segmented (one per 2 people)
Oranges, segmented (one per person)
Blood orange or ruby red grapefruit, 1-2 for color.
Add to taste:
Dark Rum (optional, but very yummy)
Mix together in a pretty bowl (not leaded crystal) and serve at room temperature. Store refrigerated.
Friday, December 14, 2012
1 sm. package instant lemon pudding, prepared according to directions.
1/4 cup water
Prepare pudding according to instruction on box, add water. Serve cold to room temp. with gingerbread.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Quinoa, Almond and Orange Salad
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Ranch Flavor Mix
1/2 c dry buttermilk (optional)
1 T parsley flakes
1 t dill weed
1 t onion powder
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground pepper
This is equivalent to a single packet, or about 3 T of seasoning.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
When the cubes are frozen, put them in a zip top freezer bag and enjoy at your leisure. I like to put 2-3 in my reusable water bottle. I even have a bag stashed in the work freezer!
They're especially fancy with some orange juice and lemon-lime soda in a punch bowl at a party!
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Mandarin Orange Coffee Cake
350F, 40-45 minutes in a 9x9 square pan, greased and floured
(I use the wrapper from the stick of butter and rub it all over the inside of the pan to grease it.)
2 15oz cans mandarin oranges, drained (in light syrup or in juice recommended)
2 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter (1 stick, salted)
2-1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt (I like kosher sea salt, reduce to 3/4 t if using regular iodized table salt)
3/4 c milk
1 t vanilla
1 large egg
1 t cinnamon, divided
1/2 t nutmeg
Combine flour and sugar, cut in butter. Reserve 1/2-3/4 cup of these crumbs for topping. To remainder of flour mix add baking powder, salt, and 1/2 t cinnamon. Mix together wet ingredients and combine with dry. Blend/stir until light and smooth.
Spread in greased and floured pan and top with mandarin oranges in rows, try to think of how you'll be cutting the cake and line them up appropriately. You might have some leftover oranges (you're welcome).
To the reserved crumbs, add 1/2 t cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle on top of oranges.
Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve hot or cooled. Makes 9-12 slices, depending on how you cut.
I love having serving dishes that match up to my baking dishes. I bought this square one just for my 9" square baking pan. It always looks so pretty to fill it with matching goodies! I even store them together in the same cabinet and pull them out at the same time when I bake.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Start with Trader Joe's Rice Orzo Pilaf Mix and add a 1/4 c Israeli Couscous.
Increase water to 2-1/3 c. otherwise, prepare as directed.
This makes an excellent side for chicken, steak, salmon... yeah, anything really. Tonight it's fish sticks. One pot, 25 minutes, tah-dah! Dinner!
Hope you enjoy as much as we do. And ask your Grandmothers and Aunts and dear ones for their recipes. You'll miss more than hearing their voice when they're gone.
Friday, March 2, 2012
We made Green Eggs and (Bacon)... if anyone has a suggestion for the ham, without having to mold chocolate or play with marzipan, please chime in. I thought about spray food coloring Bugles, but they still weren't quite right. And these are just TOO cute (and easy)! Melted white chocolate, green mini M&M's, and small stick pretzels.
Then, for One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish - snack cups with Sweedish Fish on top. Super easy and lots of fun. Alex got to help stir the gelatin and put the fish on top. I used Glad Press and Seal over each cup and transported them in 12-muffin tins with a small cookie sheet between each layer, in an insulated grocery sack. Ice pack on top, zip-top baggie full of spoons... worked like a charm.
For 24 Red Fish Cups:
24 10oz clear plastic cups
1 8oz package Sweedish Fish
6 3oz package Berry Blue gelatin dessert, prepared as directed.
1/2 c measuring cup (for dispensing into cups)
Did you know that Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel was married to Helen Palmer (A Fish Out of Water)? And that they worked together with P.D. Eastman on the book Go Dog, Go! Amazing to think of that think-tank of children's authors!
Now, go read a book!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
So I'll make one all myself! Thankfully, I have some cake decorating skills (thanks Mom). I can do this.
After some scrounging on the web, I merged a couple recipes and came up with this. So. Amazing. I could have licked the bowl right then and there. Unabashedly. Really. Stan laughed at me, almost giving myself a stomach ache snacking on it one spoon at a time the whole while I put the cake together. Did I say A-mazing?! Easy too!
1 c heavy whipping cream or RichWhip, thawed (in the freezer section)
1 c milk (I used Lactaid 2%)
1 5.9oz package instant chocolate pudding
1 t vanilla
Combine all, whip until peaks form (but stop before it goes into butter stage).
Tah Dah! Spread between your cake layers, liberally. Stick your face in the bowl and consume directly... mmm...
I think you could even use the all powerful ice cream scoop and portion it out to a bunch of little desert cups. Little sprig of mint on top and you'll look like a pro. I can't stress enough the beauty of a simple scoop. Of anything.
I used dark chocolate cake and dark chocolate frosting and let Alex decorate with an assortment of candies. I think it looks great and it was SUPER yummy. So much so that all the adults had a piece and all we had was a little sliver leftover. Sad, but in a good way.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I use Aldi's Baker's Choice mix for Chocolate Chocolate-Chip muffins ($1.99), prepared according to directions, adding a shredded medium zucchini (3 for $1.79).
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I'm going to use it to make some lovely ornaments out of recycled (Trader Joe's) brown paper bags and Aleene's glue using the burnt brown paper bag method and some rubber stamps. I've done it before and it works like a charm. So easy and pretty quick too if you spread out the steps. For best results make sure you're working with a candle (the soot helps the project like a lighter can't), and in a WELL ventilated area.
|from: the vintage pearl|
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Confetti Mac and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni or pipette, cooked according to package directions
1 pound frozen mixed veggies (you know, the cubes of carrots, peas, corn and greenie beenies)
Cook pasta according to package directions. When you have 1-2 minutes of cook time remaining on the pasta, add the frozen veggies. Drain and set aside.
Optional: 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dijon mustard (I like Trader Joe's)
3 cups low fat milk
1 large or 2 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 c pureed carrots (this gives it that pretty orange color our children have come to expect)
16 oz (4 cups) regular or reduced fat cheese, shredded (sharp cheddar or any mix of cheese you have on-hand)
3 T parmesan cheese
salt and white pepper to taste (black pepper will do, I just like the white because you don't see flecks of black in the pretty orange)
In a large saucepan (or the now empty large pot you cooked the pasta in...) melt butter over medium low heat. Once it stops bubbling, add the flour, dijon and paprika - whisk together to make a smooth paste, cook until this gets just a little darker, or thicker, or starts bubbling in the thin spots, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, making sure all the paste dissolves. Add the bay leaf and carrot puree. Increase heat to medium and simmer to thicken. Get some little bubbles going, but don't boil, about 5-10 minutes. Think the consistency of gravy.
Add cheeses, stirring until all melted. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add pasta with veggies and chicken. Stir well, serve hot.
Leftovers are especially awesome if you spread them in a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs tossed in some melted butter and bake at 350F until golden.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
And, by deciding against the new sink, we have remaining in the budget funds for a new front storm door. I'm excited about that too. (oh, and those tomatoes came off our plants - we're finally getting yellow tomatoes. And, just like last year, I'm having to baby the plants through our first frosts hoping to glean enough fruit to make it worth buying the gallon pot in the first place - but they're SOOOO yummy!).
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Combine jicama, oranges and parsley. Mix together remaining ingredients. Toss to coat. Serve chilled.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Pineapple Chicken with Black Beans and Rice
2-4 lbs BSCB (boneless, skinless chicken breast)
1 16 oz bottle BBQ sauce
1 22 oz can crushed pineapple, gently drained
1 16 oz can black beans (good additional source of protein)
1/2 t madras curry
2 t cinnamon (I may have been a little more generous with the cinnamon, but 2 t is close enough)
2 t dry ground mustard, or 1 T dijon mustard (like Trader Joe's)
3 c rice, cooked according to directions
Cook chicken and steam rice according to directions. I used my favorite Calrose with a dash of wild rice blend.
While chicken and rice are cooking, combine all other ingredients in a medium pot. Simmer over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Let the flavors mingle. This has a fairly high sugar content, so you'll want to stir often enough you don't scorch the bottom.
Serve by making a bed of rice, with chicken on top, and pour a generous scoop of sauce over both. We enjoyed a green salad on the side to round the whole thing out. Yay for protein!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Jarred Garlic (pureed)
Jarred Ginger (that isn't all stringy)
Sourdough Bread (Stan's favorite)
Shaving Cream (like Alba's, only less expensive)
Pink Sauce (no, not spaghetti, this is a creamy roasted red pepper spread)
Tortilla chips with Lime
Pepitas and other nuts
and did I mention Chocolate Chips!? mmm...
And I know there is a long list of other things I have forgotten. Salad dressings and candies and vitamins.
I can hardly wait!
When I make Banana Split Muffins, I use this fork to scramble the eggs and smash the bananas in the same bowl with the oatmeal. In this case, I had 4 bananas to mash for banana bread, so I smashed them on a cutting board.
I'm sure you could use a potato masher - but I don't own one. I use an electric mixer to mash potatoes (in the same pot I cook them in). But, that's another post...
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Frog Eye Salad
Prep. Time: approx. 2 hours
Serves: 16 (1/2 cup servings)
1 lb package Acini Di Pepe pasta - this is where the dish gets its name, when cooked these little pastas resemble little frog eyes. "Mmmmm.... frog eyes." Makes my son laugh every time.
1/2 c sugar
2 T flour
1/2 t salt
1 (22 oz) can crushed pineapple, drain reserving juice
1 (22oz can pineapple tidbits, drain reserving juice
1 (16 oz) can peaches, drained and chopped
1 (16 oz) can pears, drained and chopped
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
2 c mini marshmallows (optional)
16 oz whipped topping, thawed
Prepare pasta as directed, drain.
In heavy saucepan, beat eggs until foamy, whisk in flour, sugar, salt and reserved pineapple juice. Cook on low heat until thickened - but do not boil. A little simmer is ok, but if you over heat the eggs they will get grainy.
In a large bowl, combine pasta with pineapple sauce. Chill 1 hour, or until cool. While pasta is cooling, chop up fruits.
Combine pasta with cool whip, mallows and fruits. Serve chilled.
Monday, May 30, 2011
1 lemon cake mix
3/4 c oil (I used part vegetable and part olive)
1/2 c apricot nectar (Kern's or Jumex, you can freeze the other half for your next cake or drink it while baking)
1-1/2 c powdered sugar
3 T lemon juice
lemon zest (optional)
Mix cake mix, eggs, oil and juice on low for 30 seconds. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 pan and bake at 300F for 35-45 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). While still warm, prick top of cake all over with a fork and drizzle with frosting. Yummy!
16oz (1 bag) frozen sweet corn
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
4oz can mild chopped green chilies (I get the fire roasted ones)
Whisk in large bowl:
1/4 c vegetable oil (I use olive)
2 T lime juice
2 T apple cider vinegar (or what you have on-hand)
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t granulated garlic
Mix dressing in large bowl, add green chilies. Dice zucchini and red pepper. Combine chopped vegetables and frozen corn with dressing mix and stir gently. Allow corn to thaw and serve. Can be made ahead, keep chilled. Serves 6-8.
When I double this recipe, I increase the corn to 3 bags, simply doubling the remaining ingredients. I have also increased leftovers with additional corn on the 2nd or 3rd day.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
3 cups (1 lb) baby carrots
4 T rice vinegar (or 3 T white vinegar)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t dried oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t granulated garlic
Steam carrots to tender-crisp. I steam them in the microwave and like them a little more toward the soft side, but not mushy.
Rinse with cold water, drain. While carrots are still warm, drizzle on remaining ingredients and toss well. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally. Serve cold.
Monday, May 9, 2011
I so rarely get a full 24 muffins out of a batch (even with an ice cream scoop, I'm a little extra-generous) so, I always feel like doin' a happy dance when I do!
Next... re-boot the laundry and prep snacks for t-ball practice tomorrow night. Then go to bed. I need my rest (and so do you)!