Friday, February 26, 2010

Chocolate Malt Pie

When I think of chocolate malts, I inevitably think of my Grandpa Bob. The two are so closely entwined it's hard to imagine one without the other..


Growing up I spent many summers and holidays at their home in Illinois. During our visits, usually at night, Grandpa would sit up in his recliner and ask the question we were all waiting for. "Who wants a shakey-jake?". A shakey-jake being one Grandpa's many euphemisms, in this case meaning a chocolate malt. Some of his other food related colloquial euphemisms being moo juice for milk, sky juice for water, blackies for brownies and Bobby-Food cake for Angel Food cake.

After his eagerly awaited question was asked, he sprang into action (there was no need for us to reply, the answer was always the same). He'd go out to his freezer in the garage and come back with the biggest bucket of ice cream you'd ever seen. Setting to work in the kitchen, he'd add the ice cream in the blender, pour in some milk and chocolate syrup and of course the chocolate malt powder itself. We all had certain glasses we drank our malts out of (mine being a Smurfs glass), so he'd pour what he could into the pre-arranged cups and handed them out. He always made sure the dogs got a little taste as well.


Since moving to Texas, with the whole family living nearby, we don't have many of those casual nights with no prepared desserts and thus the opportunity for one of Grandpa's famous shakey-jakes. That doesn't stop us from talking and dreaming about them though!


 This pie doesn't taste exactly like chocolate malt, but it's certainly reminiscent of one.


Tips:

  • I actually chopped the malt balls on a cutting board with a chef's knife. It's a lot easier than you would think with small, round pieces. If you prefer to crush them, just place inside a zip-loc bag and bang with a meat mallet or roll a rolling pin over it.
  • For more texture, add 1/2 cup of malt balls to the filling of the pie as well as the garnish. It adds more crunch as well as more "chocolate-malty" flavor.
  • Many grocery stores now have a gourmet candy section that offer up different flavors of malt balls (as well as specialty stores like Harry & David). I've seen flavors like mint-chocolate, peanut butter, cookies and cream and even tiramisu. Try using some different flavors next time you this pie out.
  • You'll find malted milk near coffee, tea and cocoa in most grocery stores but it will occasionally pop up on the baking aisle as well.


  

Chocolate Malt Pie

1 prepared graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust

Filling
1/3 cup brown sugar,  firmly packed

3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half/half
1/3 cup chocolate malted milk powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 container Cool Whip, thawed

Topping
1 small package white chocolate pudding
1 teaspoon malted milk powder
1 cup milk

Garnish
10-15 crushed chocolate malt balls


Add brown sugar, cornstarch, salt and malted milk powder in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour milk into a medium saucepan and whisk in the dry ingredients. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and vanilla until the chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for at least a half and hour. Gently stir powdered sugar into the Cool Whip and fold into chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Spoon filling into prepared pie crust.


To prepare topping stir together the vanilla pudding mix and 1 teaspoon malted milk powder with 1 cup of milk and refrigerate until thickened (about 15 minutes to fully set). Spread over the entire top of pie. Sprinkle with crushed malt balls. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until ready to serve.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ranch Dressing Mix

This recipe was given to me by a friend of mine many years ago. It's nice to have around when a recipe calls for a packet of Ranch Dressing mix and you don't have one on hand.

Tips:
While the MSG is optional (some people are allergic to it), it is part of what gives the dressing an "authentic" taste.

Ranch Dressing

Dry Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons MSG or flavor enhancer (optional)

For Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use. To make dressing combine mayo and buttermilk with 3 1/2 teaspoons of dry mix.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Bars

This great recipe was a Pilsbury Bake Off winner in 1974. It tastes a lot like a Black Forest cake but easier to prepare and a little richer thanks to the chocolate frosting.


Chocolate Cherry Bars


1 (18.25-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Moist Supreme® Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs, beaten

Frosting
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter
1 (6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 15x10x1-inch baking pan or 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine all cake bar ingredients; stir until well blended. Pour into greased and floured pan.

2. Bake at 350°F. until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For 15x10x1-inch pan, bake 20 to 30 minutes; for 13x9-inch pan, bake 25 to 35 minutes.

3. In small saucepan, combine sugar, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Pour and spread over warm bars. Cool 1 1/4 hours or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Maple Monday-Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

This is an easy, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce that is fantastic on ribs. It looks like a lot of ingredients but you probably have 75% of them in your pantry right now.

Tips:
  • If you want to make this even easier, combine 4 cups of your favorite bold and spicy barbeque sauce and add 3/4 cup of apple butter and 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Follow the rest of the directions for the recipe below.
  • Taste the sauce after it has simmered for 20 minutes and adjust sweet or spicy levels to your tastes from this point. Add more maple syrup, brown sugar or apple butter to make it sweeter or more cayenne or hot sauce to make it spicier.
  • When I store it, I like to place a small bay leaf on top of the sauce before I seal it up. It gives it a nice, interesting flavor that doesn't overpower the apple butter or maple flavors.


Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

1 29oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup apple butter
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it begins to boil turn the heat down to low and let simmer for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Use immediately or cool slightly and refrigerate for up to 30 days.

Friday, February 19, 2010

French Bread

I found this recipe in the manual that came with KitchenAid Stand Mixer several years ago. It's a classic, rustic French Bread recipe that is unbelievably easy (at least in the realm of bread making) and tastes fantastic. There is something so earthy and natural about making homemade bread and the smell of a fresh loaf baking in the oven can't be beat.

Tips:
  • This recipe makes 2 large loaves. You can freeze one, but I don't think French bread tastes nearly as good after it's been frozen. If you won't eat them both, I'm sure a neighbor or a friend would be happy to take one off your hands!
  •  You can add herbs, minced garlic or grated cheese to the egg wash mixture for a more flavorful bread. If you're unsure about what would taste good, brush one loaf with the plain egg wash and then mix seasonings in with the remaining mixture to brush on the second loaf. Parmesan, garlic powder and oregano work well together.
  •  If you are using Instant Rise Yeast that doesn't need to bloom in water that's fine. You still need to dissolve it in the 2 1/2 cups of warm water for this recipe though.
  • During the colder months it can be hard to find a warm, draft free place for the dough to rise. I usually put a tea towel in the dryer before I start mixing the ingredients. Once the dough is mixed I loosely cover it with plastic wrap and then wrap the entire bowl in the warm tea towel to insulate it.

  
French Bread

2 packages active dry yeast 
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white cornmeal

Egg Wash
1 egg white
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon cold water

 

 
Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add salt, butter, and flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer, turn to Speed 2 and mix about 1 minute or until well blended. Continue to knead on Speed 2 for about 2 minutes longer. Dough will be slightly sticky.

 
Put dough in a large greased (I use olive oil, but cooking spray works as well) bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and divide in half.Roll each half into 12" x 15" rectangle. Roll dough tightly, from longest side, tapering ends, if needed/wanted. Put loaves on greased baking sheets that have been dusted with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. With sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf. Bake at 450F for 25 minutes, then remove from oven. Beat egg white, melted butter and water together and brush each loaf with this mix. Return to the oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Spaghetti Bake

This is wonderful comfort food dish that will please the whole family. I combined a couple different recipes for chicken spaghetti, added my own twist and this is the yummy result!



Chicken Spaghetti Bake

2-3 lbs boneless chicken
1 package spaghetti, 12oz
1 package Velveeta (cubed), 16oz
1 can cream of chicken soup, 10oz
1 can evaporated milk, 12oz
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup French fried onions


Boil chicken in a large stock pot for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from water and set aside to let cool. Keep the water boiling and add spaghetti noodles, cook according to package directions (usually 7-9 minutes). Drain noodles and return to pot. Pour in chicken stock, cream of chicken soup, evaporated milk, celery seed and cubed Velveeta cheese. Stirring occasionally, simmer over medium-low heat until cheese is completely melted. Cube chicken and add to pot. Pour mixture into a large, greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, sprinkle French fried onions on top of dish and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm.


Click HERE for a printable version of this recipe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mom's Banana Bread

This recipe comes from my mom whom I believe got it from my grandma.  When I was little I always looked foward to Mom making this banana bread. We would eat it for dessert, as a snack and even smeared with  butter for breakfast. When mom would make this she almost always saved me a little bit of batter (my all time favorite batter by the way) and if she knows I'm coming over she still saves me a little even today!

Tips:
  • Use ripe or even slightly over-ripe bananas, you want just a little bit of brown to them. The flavor and texture just blends better that way.
  • This recipe calls for shortening, don't try to substitute it with butter or vegetable oil because it will not work!


Mom's Banana Bread

1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together mashed bananas, shortening, sugar and eggs. Slowly add in flour, baking powder and salt and beat well to combine. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Maple Monday-Warm Apple Slaw with Maple Bacon Dressing

Using similar techniques and ingredients as a wilted spinach salad, this broccoli slaw is a warm variation of the classic dish. It pairs perfectly with Asian inspired dishes like teriyaki chicken and fried rice or even basic barbeque fare like pulled pork and ribs.

Tips:
  • The broccoli slaw can be found in many supermarkets (Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, etc). You will find it with the pre-packaged salads in the produce department.
  • To make your own broccoli slaw take 1 1/2 pounds of fresh broccoli and trim about 3 inches off the stems. Chop the rest into 1/4" pieces. Add 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage and 1/4 cup grated carrots.
  • You can grate the apple if you wish but I think the flavor comes through more when they are a little thicker (about the width of shoe-string french fries).
  • Though technically you could omit the bacon grease, you would be losing the very heart of the dish itself. The salty flavor of bacon paired with the sweet maple syrup is what really gives the dish it's depth and flavor.


  
Warm Apple Slaw with Maple Bacon Dressing

2 tablespoons bacon grease (3-4 slices of bacon should yield enough)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup diced green onion (2-3 green onions)
1 package of Broccoli Slaw
1 tart apple (like Granny Smith)
1 medium cucumber, peeled and shredded


Prepare your apple by slicing into thin strips about 1/2" long and 1/8" wide. Toss with broccoli slaw. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thin strips of cucumber and add to the slaw and apple mixture. Toss together and set aside.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling add green onions and simmer until onions are soft (about 3 minutes). Add the slaw mixture to pan and stir or toss to coat. Cover pan with a lid and let simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until slaw is tender. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of vinegar dressing and serve warm.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day-Ghiradelli Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets





Ghiradelli Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets

Chocolate Crust:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 1/2 cups cake flour

Chocolate Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
14 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3 cups fresh raspberries


To make the chocolate crust, combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process until blended. Add the cocoa and process until smooth. Add the flour and pulse until the mixture is crumbly but can be pinched to hold together. Divide the dough into six equal pieces, flatten each piece into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Remove one piece of dough at a time from the refrigerator and roll it into a 6-inch circle between two sheets of plastic wrap. If the dough gets too soft, refrigerate until firm before continuing. Remove the top sheet of the plastic wrap; invert the dough circle over a 4 1/2 -inch nonstick tartlet pan with a removable bottom. Keeping the plastic wrap on top, press the dough onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim any excess dough and carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining dough to make six tartlet shells. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prick the bottoms of the tartlet shells all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough looks dry. Allow to cool completely.

To make the chocolate filling, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then whisk gently until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Pour 1/3 cup of the chocolate mixture into each tartlet shell. Refrigerate the tartlets at least 1 hour, until the filling is firm. Carefully remove the tartlets from the pans. Arrange the raspberries decoratively on top of the filling

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Silk Pie

This lovely recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Pie by Ken Haedrich. This pie takes the terms "rich and decadent" to the extreme! It's exactly the kind of dessert that would make any Valentine's dinner special.  The texture hovers somewhere between fluffy and creamy, which is why this type of pie is referred to as "Silk" or "Satin". 

Tips:
  • A stand mixer works best for this recipe because of the amount of time spent mixing, but any electric mixer is fine.
  • If you taste it before ALL the ingredients are added, you may notice a grittiness to it.  Don't worry this should go away after the eggs and vanilla are added. It tastes best after it's chilled as well, so don't be discouraged if you don't totally love the flavor when it's still in the bowl.
  • Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. If you don't, it may not set up correctly and some of the ingredients may not get blended in properly (you don't want a spot of unsweetened chocolate in the middle of the pie).
  • If you wish to use bittersweet chocolate, reduce the amount of sugar to about 3/4 a cup.
  • Whipped cream really helps to cut the richness of this dessert and compliments it well. I suggest using it if you can.


Chocolate Silk Pie

3 ozs unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let chocolate cool, set aside.
Using an electric mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the melted chocolate and beat just until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed for 4 minutes after each addition (12 minutes total), scraping down the sides intermittently. Add in the vanilla and beat for 15 seconds. The mixture should be light and creamy, resembling a chocolate buttercream frosting.
Add the chocolate mixture to the Graham cracker crust, cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve with a garnish of whipped cream as desired.


Chopped Chocolate


Whipped Butter


Finished Pie

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beef Tips and Gravy

This recipe is so easy you wouldn't think it would be any good...but it really is!

Tips:
  • The cider vinegar helps to tenderize the meat, it won't lend a vinegar taste to the finished dish.
  • You can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker quite easily. Just combine all ingredients plus cooked noodles or rice and 1/3 cup water, and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • I like the flavor the Caraway seeds add to the dish (the seeds are what gives rye bread it's distinctive flavor), but I've made this dish without them before and it's just as good.
  • If pressed for an exact measurement for the Caraway, I would say 8-10 individual seeds would be about right.
  • You really don't need to add any salt to this dish, the canned soups provide it for you. If using low-sodium soups, then you may want to salt to taste.

Beef Tips and Gravy

2 lbs cubed stew beef
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can French onion soup
A "pinch" of Caraway Seeds, optional
pepper, as desired

Toss beef in vinegar and brown in a large skillet or saute pan. Add both soups, Caraway seeds and pepper to pan and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Serve with noodles or rice.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Maple Monday-Maple Roasted Potatoes

Potatoes and maple may not seem like they would go together but somehow they do. The maple flavor is subtle and plays well with the starchy potatoes.  Make sure to use REAL maple syrup and not maple flavored syrup in this recipe. The flavored stuff can burn before the potatoes are done, pure maple syrup won't burn quite as easily.

Tips:
  • You can easily add baby carrots to the mix, adjust syrup and olive oil mixture accordingly (about an  additional 3 tablespoons per half pound of carrots).
  • If someone in the family doesn't like or won't eat onions, you can omit the onion and add 1 tablespoon of dried onion (found near spices at most grocery stores). They work surprisingly well with this dish.

Maple Roasted Potatoes
4-6 medium potatoes (Russet or Reds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (no substitutes)
1  yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Clean and scrub potatoes (or peel if you prefer) and cut into squares. Toss potatoes and diced onion with all other ingredients. Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, stir or toss potatoes (to prevent syrup from burning) and continue cooking another 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Mousse

I've made this mousse many, many times and used it in a variety of ways. I've served it alone, in several types of pies and even as a filling between a layer cake. One particular time I made this stands out though.
About 2 years ago my sister and her now husband, Kevin were visiting from out of town and we were all gathered at my parents house one evening. I made some proclamation about wanting to make a pie and asked if anyone had any requests. My brother-in-law's notorious sweet tooth twinkled a little as he made a request for a peanut butter pie with red-raspberry jam and a chocolate crust. Knowing how great this mousse makes as a pie filling, I told him it was as good as done and I would bring over for dessert the next night.

I went to the store to gather ingredients on my way home and found they were out of seedless raspberry jam. It was already late so I didn't have the time or energy to go running around town looking for seedless jam so I purchased the kind with seed and went on my way. I got home and began running the jam I had purchased through a food mill, that eliminated about 60% of the seeds. I pressed it through a mesh strainer several times until the jam became about 95% seedless and I was content with that. The problem with that though is that the jam lost all of it's "jiggly" quality and had taken on the texture of thick syrup. I decided that I would spread this mixture directly atop of the chocolate cookie crust instead of on top of the peanut butter filling as I had planned. The result looked great but a little plain, it needed some garnish to liven it up a little. I dug through my pantry looking for peanut butter cups, baking chocolate or even chocolate chips. All I found was some chocolate almond bark so I melted it down, stuffed it in a pastry bag and went to work with the idea of making a decorative spider web design on top of the mousse.

Now let me give you a little insight on the limits of my dexterity. Take a toddler and spin them around until they stop laughing and ask you to stop, now hand them a pastry bag full of melted chocolate and ask them to draw a perfect circle with it. My result was almost as good as that.

I thought well, maybe when I run the knife through it to create the webbing effect it will look better. Hahaha...WRONG! It looked absolutely dreadful and not in an "oh well it's not that pretty but I'm sure it tastes good" kind of way, but in a totally unappetizing, makes you think the janitor sprinkling sawdust on it kind of way. I still had some almond bark left so I used all I had and spread it out thickly over the entire top so it was a smooth surface of chocolate. It looked delicious at that point so I tossed it in the refrigerator until I brought it over to my parent's house the next night.

I was excited for everyone to try the fruits of my labor and especially for Kevin who requested the blasted thing. My mom brought it out after dinner and we all kind of looked at it for a minute. Remember how I used almond bark to top it off, well the thing with almond bark is that it hardens into a thick shell as I had somehow forgotten. I had used a whole lot of it to coat the top and cover my mistake up with. The finished pie now had a half inch thick layer of rock-hard chocolate preventing any penetration to the peanut butter and jelly pie that lay beneath! My mom had to practically saw the thing in half just to garner one piece. Of course the piece, and each there after were so mangled they made my attempted spider web design look positively inspired! The overall flavor of the ingredients really did taste delicious (if you didn't break a tooth on the solid chunks of almond bark). I hung my head in embarrassment as my sisters laughed at the failings of my much lauded pie making skills. Thankfully Kevin only cared about the taste and was as nice about it as anyone could be (he's not blood related so he doesn't have that mean streak like the rest of us do). After that, I knew I would make this peanut butter mousse in the future but vowed to never get artistic with a pie again!


Tips:
  • For a lighter version you can use Cool Whip, though it certainly tastes better with real whipped cream!
  • Try adding chopped up Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Pieces or Nutter Butter cookies in or on top for a delicious variation
  • Both prepared chocolate cookie crusts and graham cracker crusts turn this mousse into an instant pie.
  • Make thick brownies or chocolate cupcakes and scoop out a small section of the middle (about 3/4 of the way down) and fill with mousse before frosting.
  • You really can't taste the sourness of the cream cheese in this, it in no way tastes like a cheesecake in case you were wondering!
  • Don't top the entire thing with melted almond bark!  :)


Peanut Butter Mousse

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, powdered sugar and vanilla. Gently fold in whipped cream. Spoon into pie crust or serving bowls and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe for chicken and dumplings isn't exactly traditional but the taste is. Instead of boiling chicken on the bone in salted water, I boil boneless chicken breasts in chicken and vegetable stock (not broth).  As a matter of preference I use rolled dumplings but you could do drop if you choose.
I can't think of anything more comforting than settling down under a cozy quilt on a chilly night with a big bowl of chicken and dumplings.  Grab yourself a bowl and enjoy!



Chicken and Dumplings
 
2 cartons Chicken STOCK, 32oz ea. (not broth)

1 can (or small carton) vegetable stock, 10oz
2-3 lbs of boneless chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dumplings, recipe below


Bring the chicken and vegetable stocks to a boil. Add chicken, bay leaf and onion powder. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Skim the fat from the top of the stock with a slotted spoon and remove bay leaf. Add salt and pepper and the dumplings (recipe below). Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the dumplings have thickened the stock to a gravy like consistency, stirring occasionally. Cut the cooked chicken into chunks or cubes and add to the pot. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes and serve warm.

Dumplings

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until smooth and let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. On a floured surface roll out the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch rectangles (or 1/2 inc if you prefer smaller dumplings) and drop each one individually into the simmering stock.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Black and White Cheesecake Bars

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!


BLACK AND WHITE CHEESECAKE BARS


Crust
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
2 c. graham cracker crumbs

Filling
1 package cream cheese, 8oz
1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14oz
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract


TO PREPARE CRUST:
In medium saucepan over low heat melt chocolate chips and butter. Stirring until smooth. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Remove 1/4 cup of this mixture for later use. Press remaining mixture evenly in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.


TO PREPARE FILLING:
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in condensed milk, egg and vanilla. Pour over the prepared crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crust. Bake until set, about 25 - 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool in refrigerator until cold, about 2 hours. Cut into squares.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maple Monday-Maple Chili Sauce

Spicy and sweet, this sauce makes a wonderful marinade or glaze for chicken or pork chops!

Tips:
  • Before baking/grilling the meat, coat in half of the sauce. During cooking, baste once and once again after the meat is done.
  • This recipe makes enough for about 4 chicken breasts or pork chops, or about 12 chicken- wings/drumsticks. You can easily double the recipe, just increase simmering time to 10 minutes.


Maple Chili Sauce


1/2 cup prepared chili sauce (I use Heinz)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce ( I use Frank's Red Hot Sauce)
In a medium saucepan bring all ingredients to a boil over medium heat.. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sauce from burning.
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