Monday, March 23, 2009

Spiced Chicken with Oranges

I found this recipe in a recipe binder I created years ago. In fact, I just checked the date on the print out and it says "07/23/2003". I have had some Chinese Five Spice powder in the cupboard, unopened, for probably 6 months. I couldn't tell you why I bought it, for whatever reason I never made whatever I intended to make.

I really like the PF Changs Orange Peel chicken, and this is what I had envisioned this recipe to be, so when I started cooking and smelled the licorice, I was a bit concerned. Chinese Five Spice has cinnamon, star anise, ground cloves, licorice & fennel. I did not know this until the hubs said "Smells like licorice". My expectations went way down. I am not really a fan of licorice unless it comes in the form of a Twizzler. But I kept on.

Spice Chicken With Oranges
Bone Appetit (Feb 2003)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used tenderloins)
2 tsp chinese five spice
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium red onion (I used yellow)
1/2 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp hot pepper oil (I used canola oil & cayenne pepper)
2 seedless oranges, peeled & sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch thick sections
**I also used some flour

Mix salt, pepper, five spice, sesame seeds & flour in a bowl. Toss chicken in the mixture.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown & cooked through. Using tongs, transfer to a plate.

Add onion to drippings in the skillet (if you dont have enough add some more butter). Saute until tender. Add OJ, soy, and pepper oil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes. Add oranges and stir until just heated through. Return chicken to skillet to reheat.

I served this with some asian rice & steam broccoli. It was better than I had anticipated, but not as good as I was hoping.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shrimp & Sausage Hash

I won't lie, I was little skeptical about this recipe. I read the ingredients to the hubs and he said "well that sounds freaking awesome!" so I put it on the menu. I mean, it didn't even call for ranch and he thought it sounded good. I think maybe my issue with the recipe is b/c I don't really like all my food to touch. I don't know why, but I just don't.
So hash is a mixture of meat, potatoes, onions & spices. I had some smoked sausage in the freezer and needed to figure out something to make with it. I went to the Armour-Eckrich website and found this recipe.

Smoked Sausage & Shrimp Hash


1 cup chopped red potatoes (1/2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
1 package (16 ounces) Eckrich® Smoked Sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup chopped peeled sweet potato (1/2-inch pieces)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


1. Place red potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil 2 minutes. Drain. Remove potatoes from saucepan; drain on paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add shrimp; cook and stir 30 seconds, or until shrimp just start to turn pink. (Shrimp will not be fully cooked.) Remove shrimp from skillet; set aside.

3. Add sausage and yellow onions to same skillet; stir. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook and stir 6 minutes, or until sausage and onions are lightly browned. Add red potatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and garlic; cook 6 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add shrimp and green onions; cook and stir 1 minute, or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in salt and black pepper.

**Some of my changes--> I didn't have yellow or red peppers, but I still had a ton leftover from our garden in the freezer. So I just used those. I wish my potatoes had been more browned than mushy. I am not sure why they got mushy-maybe my pan wasn't big enough. I used normal sized shrimp, so I had about 10-12 of those.

I was surprised at how much I liked this. The hubs loved it (meat & potatoes kind of guy he is) and I think if you used turkey sausage it would be pretty healthy.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

There has got to be shorter name for these bad boys! They are absolutely wonderful though. I found them over on Stacey's blog. As soon as I saw her post on them I knew I needed to make them ASAP! I have been wanting to make something with the oats I have in the pantry, but I didn't want oatmeal raisin or butterscotch oatmeal.

PB, CC, Oat cookies

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1 c peanut butter
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg plus
1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, oats, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, vanilla, and peanut butter. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips. I didn't follow this next step. I just used my good old PC cookie scoop. Although I did use parchment paper and refrigerate my dough for a bit. For an illustration of step 3 click here

3. Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.I found the trick to these cookies was taking them out of the oven before they looked like they were done. They stayed moist on the inside but slightly crunchy on the outside.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

I was waiting to post this b/c I had left the recipe at home. However, when I got home I realized I threw the recipe away & its no longer available online. So I will have to write this one from memory.

I got this recipe from Williams-Sonoma years ago. When I found the cinnamon buttermilk recipe, I also stumbled upon this recipe too.

Chicken Cacciatore

4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
2lbs chicken (either pieces or boneless skinless), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, diced
12 white button mushrooms, halved
2 garlic cloves
2 cups diced tomatoes (I used 2 cans diced tomatoes drained)
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth

1. Cook bacon, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside
2. Season chicken with salt & pepper. Add chicken to the same pan with the bacon grease (if you have a lot of grease, drain some of it). Cook until browned. (not completely cooked). Remove from pan & set aside.
3. Add onions to the pan & cook until translucent. Add garlic & saute a little longer.
4. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover & simmer, about 30 minutes. This will bring more flavor to the sauce.

I served this over some Parmesan mashed potatoes. You could use pasta, we just had too many pasta dishes on the menu for the week. This made a lot. I had enough for 4 servings, plus I was able to freeze 2 additional servings of the sauce.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Busy Bee

3 1/2 weeks until my due date and boy have we been busy. Between baby showers, getting the house put together & childbirth classes, we haven't had time for much else. I finally had time this weekend to do a little baking, although I sat there the entire time thinking about how I should be cleaning out the bathroom cabinet to make room for the baby stuff, but I knew a little baking would make me feel better. I even had time to make a menu plan for the week that didn't consist of sandwiches or eating out. So we may have some updates this week!

Whenever I go to the store and I buy buttermilk I almost ALWAYS buy too much. I just can't ever remember how much I need for my recipe. So I am trying to use up some that I have in the fridge. I came across these cinnamon buttermilk muffins & whipped them up Sunday morning.

Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins
For the muffins:
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I used dried)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 9 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.

To make the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

To make the topping, in a small, shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Holding the bottom of a muffin, dip the top into the melted butter, turning to coat it evenly. Immediately dip the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it evenly, then tap it to remove excess sugar. Transfer the muffin, right side up, to the rack. Repeat with the remaining muffins. Let cool completely before serving. Makes 9 muffins.

Note: These cakelike muffins are made from a batter similar to that used for preparing doughnuts, but they are baked instead of fried

As the note says at the bottom, these are like donuts but much healthier. They were so light and not too sweet. Williams-Sonoma recipes have never done me wrong!

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Cousin Gina

Some of the best recipes are the ones you acquire from a family member-especially the ones that don't have an actual recipe. My cousin Gina made Italian Sausage & Peppers one year at Christmas. They were to die for. She graciously told me how to make them and while mine are pretty darn good, they don't handle a candle to hers.

Her recipe:
First & foremost get some good Italian sausage. I prefer something that is a little spicy. Cut up the peppers like I did and toss them with some olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, a little crushed red pepper, and oregano. Then just mix them in with the sausage and put in the oven at about 400. I'd say it probably takes about an hour. Check them every 10-15 minutes and stir it up so the sausage cooks on all sides. When it starts to get fairly brown (about 40 minutes) put in some chicken broth. You can also use a little white wine if you'd like. You want that to get a little dark which will happen with the browning of the sausage. I sometimes add a little more oregano, pepper, etc...if it seems to need it. I like to have a good amount of juice (its great for dipping bread) so I often end up adding a little more broth close to it being done if there doesn't seem to be enough.

I follow this word for word. Sometimes I skimp on the sausage & I think that is why mine aren't as good as hers.

This time I wanted to make some homemade bread for dipping. I pulled out the recipe for the Garlic Swirl bread

Garlic Herb Swirl Bread
3 ¼ cups bread flour, divided
1 tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. active dry or quick-rising yeast
½ tsp. salt
1 cup very warm water (115-125°)
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened or melted

For the filling:
4 tbsp. butter, softened
5-6 cloves roasted garlic
1 tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer combine 2 cups bread flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add in water and butter/margarine and mix by hand or on low speed for 1 minute. Add in remaining flour ¼ cup at a time until the dough is moist but not sticky.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 40-45 minutes.

Grease a 9×5” loaf pan. Punch down the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle no more than 9” wide. Combine butter, garlic, parsley, oregano, basil and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Spread the butter mixture over the surface of the dough rectangle. Tightly roll up the dough into a cylinder shape, pinching and tucking ends to form a tight seal. Place seam side down in prepared loaf pan. Oil the surface of the loaf and cover loosely with a clean cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 20-45 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for about 30 minutes more. To prevent over-browning, cover with foil toward the end of baking if necessary. Bake until crust is golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer from pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Source: adapted from Amber’s Delectable Delights

I had a hair appt so the hubs filled in for me while I was out. I mixed it all up & left right as it needed to rise. He did the rest. Thanks Hubs!