Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Apricot Glazed Chicken Thighs

This is one of my new go-to recipes! So easy to make and soooooo yummy! I am really liking how tender the chicken thighs are and have been trying lots of new recipes with them...(which I will post eventually!) I'm sure if you have an aversion to the darker meat you could do this with boneless, skinless chicken, but I don't think it would be as moist and tender....I will have to give it a try and let you know!

Apricot Glazed Chicken Thighs

(adapted slightly from For the Love of Cooking)

*I double this recipe for my family of 6 *

3 T apricot preserves

2 T red wine vinegar

2 T olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat

Sea salt and pepper to taste

garlic salt to taste

Combine the apricot preserves, red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 T of the olive oil, and the minced garlic. Mix with a wisk until combined and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Heat the remaining 1/2 T of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the seasoned chicken thighs when the pan is hot and cook until golden brown on both sides. Place chicken in a 8x8 baking dish (or 9x13 if you are doubling the recipe) and pour the apricot sauce over the top of the chicken. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

So yummy with roasted red potatoes and asparagus!!!

Asian Beef Noodle Soup


I have a sister in law who makes the best Pho you have ever tasted. (Pho is a vietnemese noodle bowl with steak and broth and lots of other yumminess). It quickly became a favorite of ours and we would request it every time we would visit. The problem is the original recipe takes all day to make and try as I might I could never duplicate her deliciousness. So when I found this recipe, I was hopeful that it would be a quick and close substitute that I could make on a weeknight. We weren't disappointed! While of course it isn't too authentic the flavors are there and the kids and hubby devoured it!

Asian Beef andaa Noodle Soup

(adapted slightly from Cook's Country)

8 c. chicken broth

1 T. greated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T fish sauce (found by the asian foods in the supermarket)

1/4 t. chinese 5 spice powder

4 (3 oz) packages of ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded)

1 small flank steak, cut lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise into 1/4 inch slices

1/2 medium hadaa napa cabbage sliced thin (about 4 cups - I just bought the preshredded package at the grocery store)


1/4 c finely chopped cilantro

sliced green onions

a couple limes cut into quarters
soy sauce

Siracha chili sauce

Bring broth, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and 5 spice powder to boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Add noodles to simmering broth anda cook until nearly tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in beef and cabbage and simmer until cabbage is wiltedaa anda beef is cooked through. Top with your choice of any of the above toppings and serve immediately!

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Freshly grated parmesan cheese – optional
1 pound potato gnocchi – can buy this in the gourmet section of many supermarkets
Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil, over medium heat when the onion becomes translucent, add the flour, and make a roux, let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half.
Cook gnocchi according to package directions.
Into the roux add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings, simmer until soup is heated through.
Comments about this recipe: You can add more chicken if you like. While you could use left over cooked chicken breasts, I really think using the rotisserie chicken that are found in many grocery stores is the best way to get the optimal flavor of this soup. If you want to make the soup lower calorie you can use milk instead of half and half. Half and Half, does taste better, and it also reheats better than milk does.
Serve with some homemad breadsticks on a cool fall evening!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Double Decker Cake with Berries and Whipped Cream


2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons melted butter

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

berry whip cream frosting:

1 10 oz bag frozen stawberries - thawed

1 10 oz bag frozen raspberries - thawed

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extr


fresh strawberries - pint

fresh raspberries - pint

1 tablespoon sugar

slice the strawberries and combine in a bowl with the raspberries. sprinkle the sugar on top of the berries and gently stir. let macerated (sit at room temp) while you prepare the cake.

frozen berries:

chop the strawberries if they are large (which they probably will be). you want them in small pieces because they will be folded into the whip cream.

cakes: preheat oven to 375 degrees. prepare two 9 inch cake pans by buttering the pans, lining the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. then butter again and dust with flour. tap out the excess flour.whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. combine the raspberries and strawberries in a bowl. sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. mix to combine. set a large glass measuring cup or bowl whisk butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and lemon zest until smooth. combine the wet ingredients into the dry. mix until just combined. do not overmix.divide the batter equally between the two pans. bake for 20 minutes (make take up to 25 minutes). check at 15 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cakes. it should come out clean. cool on drying rack for 10 minutes. turn out of pan, remove parchment paper and flip upright. cool completely.whip cream frostingin a stand mixer whip the heavy cream. when it starts to have bubbles add the confectioners sugar and vanilla. beat until stiff.
gently fold half of the frozen berries into the whipped cream. set aside the remaining half.assemblyplace one layer of the cake on a cake plate or stand. with a skewer poke holes in the cake. this will allow the juices from the frozen berries to penetrate the cake. put the remaining frozen berries on top of the cake and spread them out with the back of a spoon or spatula to cover the cake. put about 1/3 of the whip cream mixture on top of the berries and gently spread it out to the other cake layer on top. scoop another third of the whip cream on top of the cake and gently spread it out over the cake. gradually add more of the whip cream to the top gently coaxing it over the edges. with an off-set spatula bring the whip cream down over the edges. smooth the whip cream over the whole cake.take the fresh berries and their juices and mount them on top of the cake. the juices will run over the sides

Olive Oil and Rosemary Rolls

There is something about the smell of baking bread with rosemary in it that is just comforting to the soul! Such a delicious combination and it went beautifully with the honey roasted chicken!

(from Recipe Girl)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 T chopped, fresh rosemary
2 1/4 t (1 packet) active, dry yeast
1 c. warm water
3 1/4 c bread flour
1 3/4 t sea salt or kosher salt
extra flour for dusting
1/2 c butter, melted and slightly cooled
nonstick spray

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and rosemary and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Pour yeast into 1 c. of warm water, stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand for 5-10 minutes, watching for it to foam and bubble. Insert a paddle attachment into your stand mixer. Pour yeast mix into mixer bowl, add 1/2 c of flour anda the salt and mix on low speed until incorporateda. Keep adding 1/2 cups of flour until all flour is used up and mixed in. Remove the paddle attachment and replace with a dough hook. knead on low speed while slowly pouring in oil and rosemary. Increase to speed 3 and knead for about 2 minutes. Remove the dough andaa shape quickly into a ball. Dust lightly with flour anda place in a ziplock bag, pressing out all the air and sealing the bag. Let rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Punch down inside the bag anda let rise again for an additional hour. Punch the dough to deflate and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball and place on prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about an hour, until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove plastic wrap anda lightly brush each roll with melted butter. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 andaa bak an additional 10-15 minutes, until browneda and hollow sounding when tapped.

Honey Roast Chicken

I have to be honest with you, roasting a whole chicken scares me, almost as much as cooking a turkey...There are so many things that can go wrong! Overcooking, undercooking, dry meat, and on and on....That being said, I attempted this recipe and actually came out with a moist, perfectly cooked bird. It was amazingly delicious! I served it with roasted veggies and everyone was licking their fingers clean!

Honey Roast Chicken
(from Cook's Country)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 t. paprika
2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 lbs each), giblets discarded
1 t. cornstarch
1 c. plus 1 T water
1/2 c. honey
5 T cider vinegar
1 c. chicken broth
1 t. minced, fresh thyme
2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
Prep chicken:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1 T salt, 2 t pepper, and paprika in a small bowl. Pat chickens dry with paper towels. gently loosen the skin of the chicken from the meat by sliding your fingers underneath between the meat and the skin. Rub the spice mixture under the skin andaa then over the outside of each chicken. Tuck the wings behind the back, and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Make Glaze:
Stir cornstarch and 1 T water together in a bowl until no lumps remain; set aside. Bring honey and 4 T vinegar to simmer in saucepan over medium high heat. cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 c, 3-5 minutes. Slowly wisk cornstarch mixture into glaze. Return to simmer and cook 1 more minute.
Roast chicken:
Arrange chicken, breast side down on a V rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast until just golden, about 35 minutes. Remove chickens from oven and using a wad of paper towels, flip to breast side up. Raise oven temp to 450 degrees. Pour 1 c of water and broth into roasting pan. Return chickens to oven and roast until meat thermometer registers 165-170 degrees, about 30-40 minutes. Brush chickens evenly with thick layer of honey glaze and continue to cook until glaze is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer chickens to a cutting board, brush with remaining glaze and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Make sauce:
Meanwhile, pour pan juices and any accumulateda chicken juices into a saucepan; skim fat. Stir in thyme, bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce is slighly thickenedaa anda reduced to 1 cup, about 1o minutes. Off heat, wisk in butter and remaining vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Carve chicken and serve, passing sauce at table.

Easter Dinner Sampler

Ok. So one day in a perfect world, I will be able to post meals right as we eat them, not a month later. But it is not a perfect world, and I have 4 kids who are very happy and busy and I don't get to sit and type recipes daily. Most of the time, I type after they are in bed, the laundary is folded, house is cleaned, bills are paid, and all the stars are aligned just right.... which doesn't happen very often. Anyhow, here is a little taste of what we had for Easter, I will get to posting the recipes sometime before Halloween....

Cake with Berries and Whip Cream frosting: Deliciously moist honey roasted chicken:

Olive Oil and Rosemary Rolls:

Roasted veggies:

Doesn't that just make your mouth water? Recipes to follow....

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Pasta, and Parmesan Cheese

I was browsing through some of my favorite foodie blogs the other day and found this skillet meal on "My Kitchen Cafe". She happens to love skillet meals (as do I). I mean what could be better than a delicious meal made all in one pot???? This one is a keeper and will be adorning my table frequently from now on!!!

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Pasta, and Parmesan Cheese
(from My kitchen cafe)

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch squares
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces ziti (penne makes a great substitution – I’ve used both with great results)
4 1/4 cups water
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-5 cups broccoli florets (depending on how much broccoli you want)
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped coarse
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (asiago was the cheese in the original recipe and can be interchanged, but I always have parmesan on hand so I used that)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of the pink color has disappeared and the chicken is lightly browned around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the pasta, 3 cups of the water, and the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is very thick and syrupy and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, and 1 1/2 c water and cook 2-3 minutes. Uncover and return heat to medium high. Stir in cream, parmesan, and reserved chicken and continue to simmer, uncovered until sauce is thickened and chicken is warmed through. Off the heat stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper. Serve.

Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

This is my favorite poppy seed cake recipe! I love to have something sweet around, but this didn't last long! Thanks Kristi for sharing!

Poppy Seed Cake

1 white cake mix
1 pkg of vanilla instant pudding mix
½ cup of oil
4 eggs
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 tsp almond extract

Beat eggs first, then add the rest of the ingredients until water and beat for 5 minutes. Add poppy seeds and extract and beat again until mixed. Butter and flour a bunt pan and sprinkle the bottom with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Pour batter in and cook at 350 for about 40 minutes.

I also made a glaze with orange juice and powdered sugar to drizzle over the top of each slice..It was to DIE FOR!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Creamy Lemon Crumb bars

Lemon is the greatest...Anything lemon rocks. Tangy, refreshing: LOVE IT. So anyways, when I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website, it just was screaming SPRINGTIME. I tried it and was not dissappointed. See the crumbly topping, the creamy lemon center - It is DIVINE ( and very easy to make!!). Thanks Ree for another keeper!

1-⅓ cup All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 stick (1/2 Cup) Butter, Slightly Softened
1 cup Brown Sugar (lightly Packed)
1 cup Oats
1 can (14 Ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk
½ cups Lemon Juice
Zest Of 1 Lemon

Mix butter and brown sugar until well combined.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add oats and flour to butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine.
Press half of crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 inch pan.
Mix together condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread onto the bottom layer of the crumb mixture. Top with the other half of the crumb mixture, but don’t press.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow pan to sit on counter for 30 minutes after baking. Cut into squares and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until cool.
Serve cool.


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