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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cooking Show--Girls' Night!

We filmed an episode of the cooking show last week.

My friend, Amy, cooked with me.  She suggested a theme of "Girls' Night"...she felt that she needed some different recipes to try when she gets together with friends.

We put our heads together and came up with an assortment that should satisfy all of her guests!

You may think that you don't like artichokes, but this dip will change your mind.  The first few times I made it, I told my husband it was cheese dip.

By the time he found out that there were artichokes in it, he liked it so much that he didn't care what was in it.  It's probably his most-requested appetizer now.

Just thread the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil onto the skewers, throw the vinaigrette together and drizzle it on.

This is a restaurant knock-off recipe.  There's a little bit of advance prep involved, but the finish is totally hands-off--you just smother it in mushrooms and cheese and stick the whole pan into your oven to finish cooking.

It's so worth it.

This disappeared really fast.  Poof, and it was gone.

And finally...

Rolos & Pretzels.

To make these, this is all you need to know:  

-preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.  
-Arrange mini-pretzels on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Top each pretzel with an unwrapped Rolo     
 chocolate candy.  
-Bake for three minutes.  You don't want the chocolate to melt, you only want it to soften.  
-After 3 minutes, remove from the oven and immediately squish another pretzel on top.  If you prefer,  
 you could squish a pecan half on top instead.

That's it.  We spent more time discussing what we should name these treats than actually took to make them.  And in the end, we decided simply calling them Rolos & Pretzels is a fitting name for this simple treat.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chicken and Mushrooms with Creamy Asiago Sauce

My goal: to make something so that I could use fresh chives, which happen to be the only herb in my garden that survived being buried under five feet of snow this winter.


Today's Playlist
  • "Mambo Italiano"...Dean Martin
  • "Brown-Eyed Girl"...Van Morrison
  • "Lazy Mary"...Lou Monte
  • "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)"...Domenico Modugno
  • "This Magic Moment"...Ben E. King
  • "The Way You Look Tonight"...Frank Sinatra
  • "Sway"...Rosemary Clooney
  • "Why Do Fools Fall In Love"...Frankie Lyman & The Teenagers

Chicken and Mushrooms with Creamy Asiago Sauce (4 to 6 servings)
Printable Recipe
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally into cutlets
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup light cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Gather your ingredients.  Do you notice something?

The chives are missing from this picture!  The are the raison d'ĂȘtre for this recipe, and I neglected to give them their closeup.

Whew.  Do your prep work--slice the chicken breasts into cutlets, slice the mushrooms and onions, and mince (or snip) those beautiful chives.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat.

Dredge the chicken cutlets in the cornstarch.

Saute about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  You'll know they are ready to flip to the other side when they begin to appear cooked around the edges, as they do in this picture.

Remove them from the pan when both sides are golden.  It's okay if your chicken isn't quite cooked through, because in a little bit you will be returning the chicken to the pan to finish cooking.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and stir in the tablespoon of butter.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the skillet.  You can't really see them, but the onions are under there!

Allow the mushrooms and onions to cook for two minutes, without stirring.

After two minutes, the onions and mushrooms should have started to soften.  It's okay to stir them now.  Continue to stir occasionally until they begin to brown and start to stick to the pan.

Add the chicken broth to the pan.

Pour in the light cream.

Stir in the shredded asiago.

Add the chicken back into the pan.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked.

 Sprinkle the chives on top and serve!

Be sure to spoon lots of mushrooms and onions on top of the chicken, along with the yummy asiago sauce.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cooking Show: Sandwiches!

We filmed another cooking show last week.  It wasn't hard to come up with a theme.

Sandwiches! We made lots of fabulous sandwiches.

We also added roasted red peppers, pesto, tomatoes...fill your panini with whatever makes you swoon.
Here's the printable recipe.

These are my favorite.  Layered with pear slices, prosciutto and arugula with a lemon-parmesan dressing, these are the sandwiches that disappeared after we finished taping the show.  The plate was emptied of sandwiches, the extra slices of chicken along with the fixings were demolished, the extra rolls "just in case" were put to use...if you only make one sandwich from this list, let this one be the one.  Here's the printable recipe.

So. Easy. Really!  Soooooo easy.  

I wish we had set a timer when we made these, just to show how quick they came together.  Chop up the meat from a rotisserie chicken.  Make a dressing out of apricot jam, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper & chives.  Open up a bag of broccoli slaw.  Toss it all together, toast some rolls and then load 'em up.
Here's the printable recipe.

 And finally, Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Satay Sauce.

Grill up some chicken cutlets, layer them with lettuce and crunchy shredded veggies and then douse them with a sweet/soy/peanut sauce.  So many different flavors competing for attention, but they all blend together perfectly.  Here's the printable recipe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Strawberry Bread with Almond Glaze

I wasn't planning on making strawberry bread.

My plan was to bake banana bread.

I needed three over-ripe bananas.  I always buy more bananas than I think we could possibly eat, hoping that there will be three left by the time they get soft and turn so brown that no one would possibly want to eat them. Three is the magic number for banana bread.

At 7:30 a.m. there were three brown bananas.  A half-hour later:

Ahem.  I should have known better than to count my brown bananas before my husband packed his lunch. 

I'm sure that he thought he was doing me a favor by taking a banana that he thought nobody else would want to eat, leaving better ones behind.

Yes, he left behind eight primo bananas.  And so the cycle begins again--once more, I think I bought more bananas than we can eat, I hope there will be three left by the time they turn brown and mushy.

Not enough bananas. I was forced to change my plans.  Fortunately, I had all the ingredients for strawberry bread on hand!

Today's Playlist
  • "Welcome To Paradise"...Green Day
  • "Lucky"...Jason Mraz
  • "Someday"...The Strokes
  • "Sick Boys"...Social Distortion
  • "Steady, As She Goes"...The Raconteurs
  • "Joker & The Thief"...Wolfmother

Strawberry Bread with Almond Glaze

Bread Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 12 strawberries, chopped (average-size strawberries, you should have about 1 cup chopped)
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Gather your ingredients.  Chop the strawberries.  Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or use nonstick cooking spray). 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy.

With the mixer on a medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions.  Mix in the vanilla.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a medium bowl.

Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.  Mix on a low speed just until incorporated.

Add buttermilk and mix on a low speed just until combined--do not over mix!

 Gently fold in the strawberries with a rubber spatula.

 Spread into your prepared loaf pan.  Bake in your preheated 350-degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes, testing with a toothpick to ensure it is fully baked.  (Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf; if it is dry when you remove it, the bread is done.  If there is still gooey batter, it needs to be baked a bit longer.)

Allow the bread to cool slightly before drizzling with the glaze.  It's okay if the bread is warm (in fact, I highly recommend it!), but if it's really piping hot the glaze will not set up.
While the bread is baking, prepare your almond glaze.

 Put the confectioners sugar into a small bowl.  Whisk in the almond extract and light cream.

 The glaze should be thick enough to drizzle, but not so thin that it is watery.  (If necessary, add more cream--a teaspoon at a time--or more confectioners sugar to get the right consistency.)

Pour the glaze onto your bread.

If you're a klutz like me, and you crack the bread as you remove it from the pan, the glaze will do a wonderful job hiding the cracks and imperfections!


I frosted the bread while it was still slightly warm, so that the glaze would melt a bit and drizzle down the sides.

And if you happen to glaze your bread while it's still warm, it would be a shame if you didn't allow yourself to eat it while it's warm.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chocolate Mini Muffins with Sugar Glaze

I made these mini muffins last week and I have been having an argument with myself ever since. 

To blog or not to blog?  That was the question.  

I was hoping to come up with a recipe that resembled the chocolate-glazed donut holes at our local donut shop.  The flavor that is my kids' favorite.  My husband's favorite.  I'm more of a butter crunch fan, but I digress.

I was hoping that I could come up with a mini-muffin that tasted like chocolate donuts, without all of the deep-fried calories.  Just like these Cinnamon/Sugar Mini Muffins remind me of the frozen Morton donuts I used to like in the '70's.  

I wasn't really sure that the chocolate mini-muffins duplicated the donut taste as I had hoped they would, however, so I decided not to blog about them.

That is, until Caitie said that she liked them, and then said something like, "They're a perfect little chocolate cake."

And then Mr. Terrific ate several of them, telling me between bites how much he liked them. 

That settled it.  Who am I, a butter crunch fan, to conclude that these little muffins aren't good enough to satisfy my chocolate donut-loving family?  I decided to listen to my family and blog about them, if only to have written testimony that this is a recipe that they like.

Maybe I'm just in a good mood because the snow is almost gone, tomorrow is going to be in the 60's and I feel like spring has finally arrived!

Will Clyde abandon his favorite niche by the back door to bask in the sun instead?

He doesn't quite fit there as well as he did when he was a puppy, but that doesn't stop him from trying!

Today's Playlist
  • "Come Out and Play"...The Offspring
  • "Poprocks & Coke"...Green Day
  • "Can't Stop"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "No Rain"...Blind Melon
  • "Love and Affection"...Neon Trees
  • "Here Comes the Sun"...The Beatles

Sugar-Glazed Chocolate Mini-Muffins (yield: approximately 15 muffins)          

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

We're going to start like we always do, by gathering the muffin ingredients.  It makes things so much easier to have everything ready to go!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a mini-muffin pan (or use nonstick cooking spray).

Measure the dry ingredients--the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda--into a medium bowl.

Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg, sour cream, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.  You can do this by hand or take the lazy way out as I did and use a mixer.  Your choice!

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Stir the ingredients together until just combined.

Spoon the batter (or use a cookie scoop) to evenly distribute it into the cups of your muffin pan.

Bake in your preheated 375-degree oven for 11 to 13 minutes.  You may need to adjust the time up or down by a minute or two, depending upon the heat of your oven and/or the size of your muffins.  

For the record, my batch yielded 14 fairly large mini muffins which took 12 minutes to bake in my oven.

You'll know they are done when the tops have started to crack and they spring back when touched lightly.  Or you could do the toothpick test--stick 'em with a toothpick and if the toothpick comes out dry or with moist crumbs, they're done.

While the muffins cool, prepare the glaze.

Gather your glaze ingredients:  confectioners sugar, light cream and vanilla extract.

Put the confectioners sugar into a small bowl, and whisk in the light cream and vanilla extract. 

The consistency of the glaze should be runny, but not watery.  If you feel that it is too watery, add a bit more confectioners sugar; if you feel that it is too thick, add more light cream (no more than a teaspoon at a time).

Dip the tops of the muffins into the glaze.

Place the muffins on a wire rack until the glaze is set.

I had a bit of glaze left over so I drizzled it on top of the muffins with a spoon.  

You may notice that suddenly there are only 13 muffins left.  I know nothing about that.

That's not entirely true, I do know something.  I know that warm baked goods taste fabulous.  Enough said.