Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Big Bowl of Crabby Goodness


 



 

Spencer has a new found craving for Crab Bisque.  He has gone to a local restaurant a few times for lunch and this is his favorite thing on the menu.  He has been wanting me to taste it for quite some time so I could get the taste for it and try to recreate it but I just haven't gotten the chance.  I finally decided to start searching for recipes, since I wasn't sure when I would be able to go and try this bisque, in hopes to come across one that is similar to his new found favorite.  I think we came close with this recipe!   

It's hard to try to recreate something not ever tasting it. I was going by Spencer's memory and the recipe I found.  He was very pleased with the outcome, as was I.  I really didn't know what to expect and what the texture was supposed to be since I had never had any type of bisque before.  This recipe was awesome; it was so creamy and buttery and just full of flavor.  I could taste every flavor that was included in this recipe; the flavor of the sauteed vegetables, even though they weren't in the final product, were so evident...It was amazing.  

This recipe was incredible and there really wasn't that much to it.  Out of all the ones out there, and there are a ton, I'm glad I chose this one to follow.  Now that I've finally made a bisque I know that I will be making more; and I won't be afraid to branch out now that I know what to expect.  We enjoyed it so much, I hope you do too!  

Crab Bisque 

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped 
2 large carrot, chopped 
2 stalk celery, chopped
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken stock
1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste (I used Hunt's Roasted Garlic)  
1 Pound, 4 Ounces lump crab meat (Reserve a little to top when serving
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cooking sherry 
1 cup heavy cream, divided
Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste
2 teaspoons paprika 
Whole or chopped chives for garnish (optional)



Directions:


In a large stock or soup pot, melt one tablespoon of butter with the olive oil. Cook onion, carrots and celery over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned. Add stock and tomato purée and simmer 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve and return liquid to pot, discard vegetables. Measure out 1 cup of strained liquid and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and stir until smooth. Very slowly stir in sherry and the cup of reserved liquid. Add this mixture to the large stock pot and bring to boil, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat, add crab meat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.  Season with sea salt and white pepper.

In a small bowl, blend 1/4 cup cream with paprika. Set aside. When ready to serve bisque, whisk remaining 3/4 cup cream into bisque and adjust seasonings. Ladle bisque into bowls and top with reserved claw meat pieces. Garnish with paprika-spiced cream and chives if desired.

  



 

Adapted From: Whole Foods

 

 

 

Chipotles and Ranch...a great combo

For the Daring Baker'schallenge this month we were challenged to make pizza dough the way classic pizzerias do.  We had to toss the dough in the air and all that fun stuff.  It was quite an experience and I had a blast completing this challenge.  This dough is incredible as well, it takes a little more time since it is a two day process but it is so worth it.  For any of you that love pizza and love making pizzas at home the dough is a must try.  

For my pizza I decided to make a chipotle ranch pizza.  It turned out awesome.  All the flavors came out perfectly and blended together so well.  There are many more pizzas I want to try and I have plenty of dough waiting on me; so I can't wait to share them with you.  This recipe is a ranch lovers dream; this will quench the heaviest craving for something ranch!  I loved coming up with this pizza and we enjoyed every slice. 

Chipotle Ranch Pizza

Ingredients:

Recipe for Basic Pizza Dough 

2 Chicken breast, boiled

2 Tablespoons Tupperware Ranch Chipotle seasoning

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 Small onion-sliced and sauteed

1 Block cream cheese-room temperature

4-5 Tablespoons Ranch dressing mix

1/4 Cup homemade ranch dressing (follow directions on dressing mix)

1/4 Teaspoon dill

3/4 Cups shredded parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat baking stone on highest setting for 45 minutes before cooking pizza.

Once chicken has cooled, shred and then add salt, pepper, chipotle ranch seasoning, and dill; mix together well.  

In bowl take room temperature cream cheese and mix in dry ranch dressing mix.

In small skillet preheat a little olive oil and sautee onions.  Remove from heat once the onions start to turn clear and get nice and carmelized.

Remove stone from oven and place dough on stone and form edges.  Spread cream cheese on dough, sprinkle with chicken, add onions, drizzle ranch dressing on top, and then add cheese. 





 

Place back in ove for 5-8 minutes; until crust reaches nice golden brown.

 

   

Chipotle Ranch Recipe from: Lynsey Lou

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Pizza Dough

This was my first challenge as a member of The Daring Bakersand I enjoyed every moment of it.  The challenge this month was to make real pizzaria style pizzas by tossing the dough and everything.  What an experience!  I definitely don't see tossing pizzas in a pizzeria in my future but I sure did have a lot of fun. 

The hosts of the challenge for this month were supposed to be: Rosa of Rosas Yummy Yumms, Sher of What Did You Eat?, and Glenna of  A Fridge Full of Food.  Glenna had a little too much going on so she decided to pull out of the Daring Bakers so she ended up not being a host this month.  Sherry (Sher) suddenly past away in July of this year but before she did she had shared her idea of the pizza challenge with Rosa.  In honor of Sher, Rosa decided to keep the pizzaria pizza as the challenge.  I'm sure Sherry would have had a wonderful time doing this challenge, but in honor and as a tribute tons of pizza doughs were flying through the air in October for her.  Thanks to Sherry for finding this challenge and recipe and sharing it wil Rosa and thank you Rosa for honoring Sherry through this challenge.

I have made a few different types of pizza dough but none of the doughs I've made have been a 2 day process.  When I first read this challenge and saw the dough was going to take two days to prepare I was kind of leary.  I knew it would be better to do this challenge on a weekend so I could take my time with everything and make sure I did everything as the directions read.  This dough turned out incredible; the flavor was so light and fresh and it goes with basically any type of recipe you can create.  This recipe makes quite a bit of dough, so it's one that could be made then frozen in individual bags or containers in the freezer.  I will definitely be using this recipe again, it was awesome.   

The only guidelines to this challenge were to follow the recipe and toss it like in a pizzeria.  This challenge turned us loose in the kitchen.  As far as toppings and sauces, that was entirely up to the creator of the pizza.  I decided since I was breaking out for this challenge I would get creative with the toppings as well and try a type of pizza and sauce that I hadn't tried before.  This got the creative juices flowing and I thought of multiple other recipes that sounded so good, so stay tuned for those!  I decided to do a chipotle ranch chicken.  I know that doesn't sound as adventurous as some things but the way I went about seasoning the chicken and making the sauce was not typical.  All the flavors combined in this recipe were fabulous and everything blended well.   

So, on to the fun stuff...the actual recipe!!!

 

Basic Pizza Dough

From: "The Bread Bakers Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart

 

Ingredients:

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled

1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


Day 1:

1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.


3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

 

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

 

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

 

 

  Day 2:

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

 

 NOTE:Make only one pizza at a time.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).



NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.


11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan. 

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.


14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.


 

Here are a few pictures of the tossing process for your laughing pleasure!!!


            

      

 

Here's a picture of theChipotle Ranch Pizza

       

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

There's a Blondie in my Oven!



And they look and smell so good!!!  Is there anything better than smelling something sweet baking on a cool night, or any night for that matter?  My answer to that is no!  I love baking stuff and I love the smell of my house during and right after baking.  

I think blondies are one of my new favorite dessert items.  They are so simple to cook, there's not a lot to them and they taste wonderful.  It's been a long time since I've had blondies, my parents used to cook them all the time.  We used to just have them plain with nothing mixed in, they are wonderful that way but they are also a blank slate where practically anything can be added.  

I made pumpkin spice blondies the other day and they turned out incredible.  This time I decided to do a household favorite, peanut butter and chocolate.  Spencer loves Reese's cups, so any mixture of peanut butter and chocolate is always a winner with him!  I was really pleased with the way these turned out, they had just the right amount of everything.  Next time I'm probably going to try mixing in some peanut butter, just to enhance the flavor a little. 

Ingredients:

6-8 Tablespoons butter- softened (I used 8 in this batch)

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

3/4 Cup brown sugar

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup flour

1/4 Teaspoon baking powder

1/4-1/2 Milk chocolate chips

1/4-1/2 Reeses peanut butter chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In bowl or mixer cream butter and both sugars until smooth.  Once blended incorporate the egg and vanilla.  Sift flout and baking powder together and slowly add to mixture. 

Add chocolate and peanut butter chips and stir until evenly incorporated.

Line 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Pour in Blondie Mixture.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool before cutting.




 

Recipe from: Lynsey Lou

A little Bit of Chicken and A little Bit of Corn



This recipe was definitely one with a lot of different flavors, and some combinations that I wasn't quite sure of to begin with.  This soup had some Asian or Japanese type flavoring combinations.  To be honest I really wasn't sure what to expect whenever I started making this recipe; in the end I was pleasantly surprised.  The reason I chose to make this soup is because I hadn't been to the grocery store in a while and I didn't really have a lot of items on hand.  This was one of the few recipes that I found where I had everything it called for.

I would think this soup would be good for an appetizer, since there really isn't a whole lot to it.  We had it as our main course; I just made some bread to go with it so it would be more filling.  I'm still debating whether I will make this recipe again; I think it's growing on me though. 

Here's the recipe if you would like to try it.  I know I've just talked this up so well that your mouth is watering, right???  Haha!  You have to work with what you've got from time to time, so that's what I did.

Chicken and Corn Soup

Ingredients:

3 Chicken fillets, boiled and shredded

1 Medium-large chicken breast, poached

1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger

2 Egg whites

2 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon cornstarch paste (mix 1 part cornstarch with about 1 1/2 parts of cold water, stire until smooth)

2 1/2 Cups chicken broth

1 Can creamed corn

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1/4 Cup cooking sherry

Scallions, to garnish



Directions:

To chicken stock add 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 cup cooking sherry, mix well.

In a small bown mix chicken and 1/4 teaspoon ginger.

Beat the egg whites until frothy, add the milk and cornstarch paste, and beat again until smooth.

Blend the chicken into the egg-white mixture.

In a large skillet, bring the stock to a boil, add the corn, and bring back to a boil, stirring gently. 

Stir int he chicken and egg-white mixture.

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir the soup gently until the mixture is well blended.

Pour the soup into bowls, garnish with scallions.





Adapted from: "1000 Classic Recipes for Every Cook"

A little spice in my life...



Pumpkin spice to be exact!  Since I've discovered the pumpkin spice kisses by Hershey's I've been obsessed with them.  I've seen quite a lot of different recipes being made that incorporate these kisses.  After looking around at all the different recipes with these I decided to try my hand at baking something with them.  The result was awesome; you could definitely taste all the flavors of the kiss as well as the other flavors in the recipe.

This time I decided to bake some blondies and add some pumpkin kisses.  They turned out awesome.  I probably could have added more kisses, but since this was the first time I had baked with them I didn't want the flavor to be too much or too overwhelming.  Everything blended together nicely and this ended up being a nice, light dessert. 



Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons butter- softened

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

3/4 Cup brown sugar

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup flour

1/4 Teaspoon baking powder

6 Pumpkin spice kisses, chilled and coarsely chopped

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In bowl or mixer cream butter and both sugars until smooth.  Once blended incorporate the egg and vanilla.  Sift flout and baking powder together and slowly add to mixture. 

Stir in pumpkin spice kisses, stir until evenly incorporated.

Line 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Pour in Blondie Mixture.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool before cutting.

 

 



 

Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

Chicken Stew and Cornbread Dumplings



Soups, stews, chilis and more.  Fall and winter are the perfect time to break out the classic soup recipes that are favorites as well as try some new ones that you run across.  There are all types of soups; from the ones that make you feel cozy and warm because they are "home style" to the ones that are a little more fancy with rich tastes.  I'm a huge fan of any type of soup and I'll try anything once.


I've been looking through different cook books, catalogs and on different websites to get an idea of some different soups I would like to try this season.  There are tons out there that sound so incredible; I don't know if I will get to all of them this year!  I've definitely gotten inspired by all the different types out there and I'm honestly amazed there are endless options.


I came across one that sounded so good and it was basically a spin on the classic chicken and dumplings recipe.  Spencer loves chicken and dumplings, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was a must try.  This wasn't your typical chicken and dumplings; for starters the base was more of a cream base and the dumplings weren't ordinary dumpinlings, they were cornbread!  I love cornbread so I really didn't think you could go wrong having cornbread dumplings, plus they had cheese in them.  This treat just seemed to be getting better and better by the minute!


This was more of a stew than a soup, and it was so good.  Spencer absolutely loved this; I know it's one thats going to be on the menu from now on.  Even in you're not a dumpling fan you would probably like this recipe, these aren't your typical dumplings that are actually down in the soup.  This is also a recipe that could be made without the dumplings and with a side of cornbread instead.  


Chicken Stew and Cornbread Dumplings        


Ingredients:


1 16 ounce bag frozen, mixed vegetables
14 Ounces water and 1 chicken boullion cube
1 Medium onion, roughly chopped
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano OR 1 Teaspoon fresh
1/2 Teaspoon dried dill OR 1 Teaspoon fresh
***You could use any other herbs instead. 
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 2/3Cup milk
1/3 Cup all purpose flour
2 chicken breast poached and cubed-season with salt and pepper
1 Recipe for cornbread dumplings





Cornbread Dumplings:


In a medium bowl stir together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a dash of black pepper.  In a small bowl combine 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons milk, and 2 tablespoons cooking oil; add to flour mixture, stirring with for just until combined.


Directions:


In a large saucepan combine brother, frozen vegetables, onions, water, dried herbs (if using), salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Bring to boil.
In a small bowl combine milk and flour, stire into vegetable mixture.  Stire in checken.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in fresh herbs if using.
Drop Dumpling dough from a tablespoon into 4-8 mounds on top of the bubbling stew.  Simmer, covered (do not lift cover), over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean.  Once finished add a little more fresh cracked pepper and salt.
 







Recipe Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies


I guess you could say I've been on a peanut butter kick lately, first the peanut butter candy corn cookies and now these super, ooey gooey peanut butter sandwich cookies.  Now let me tell ya, this is a cookie!  There is nothing better than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, add a sandwich to the mix and it's awesome.  

I had been doing a lot of baking lately but none of it was stuff that I was making to stay around the house, so I decided to make some cookies that we would actually keep around the house.  Spencer is a huge fan of peanut butter, and his favorite candy is Reeses cups so this combination was the perfect choice to make and keep around the house.  They were a huge hit for him and everyone else that tried them.

The cookie recipe is one I created a few days ago, so I decided to make this my "staple" PB cookie recipe because the texture, thickness and finished product turned out perfectly.  These cookies stay chewy and moist for quite a while, they didn't get hard like a lot of the cookies do after they cool off.  I had seen quite a few different sandwich type cookies, so I decided to make the ultimate peanut butter sandwich cookie with peanut butter filling.  They turned out awesome, I know I will be making these many more times!  I hope you enjoy.       

  

Ingredients:

Cookies-

3/4 Cup butter flavored Crisco

1 1/4 Cup peanut butter

1 1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Cup sugar

4 Eggs

1 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

2 Teaspoons baking soda

3 Cups flour

1/2 Teaspoon salt

 

Filling-

3/4 Cup peanut butter

2 1/3 Cup powdered sugar

1/4 Cup milk

1 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

2/3 Cup Reeses chocolate and peanut butter chips

  

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

For Cookies-

In mixer cream crisco and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly add brown sugar and granulated sugar, mix until thoroughly combined.  Gradually add baking soda, flour, and salt; once combined add in eggs (one at a time) and vanilla.

Take a scoop of cookie dough about the size of a walnut, roll together in a balland place on prepared cookie sheet. 





Dip a fork in flour then press down on the ball of dough.





Take fork and press across the opposite way.



 



Bake on 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cookies cool on tray for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack. 

For the filling-

To make the filling place peanut butter in mixing bowl and slowly add powdered sugar, blend peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  Once combined slowly add milk and vanilla; mix completely.  Once everything is combined add chips and mix. 

Once cookies are cooled; spread filling on one cookie then place another cookie on top to make a sandwich. 

***This makes 30 sandwiches

  



PB Cookies 

Recipe Source: Lynsey Lou

Friday, October 17, 2008

There's a surprise inside

I love peanut butter, and I love it on any number of things.  I am also a huge fan of cookies, I really don't turn down anything sweet...ever.  Peanut butter cookies are one of my favorites and also a classic, which mean that pretty much any time I have one it brings back memories of my childhood.  Nothing beats a peanut butter cookie with a tall glass of milk! 

Since it's fall there are all types of fall inspired foods; both sweet and savory.  One of the new things I have come across this fall are the Candy Corn Kisses by Hershey's; they are awesome!  There are many people that have discovered these and made their own goodies using these Kisses.  I decided that I would try making something using these as well.  I decided to try to put a new spin on a classic favorite; put a Candy Corn Kiss inside a peanut butter cookie...the combination is pretty tasty.  

I think the peanut butter cookie is rich by itself; so with the kisses mixed in them it makes it that much more rich.  This is a different combination but it's sooooo good.  The burst of color that you get when you bite into the cookie is such a nice surprise and a good way to add some color for a fall themed party.

 

Peanut Butter, Candy Corn Cookies



Ingredients:

3/4 Cup butter flavored Crisco

1 1/4 Cup peanut butter

1 1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/2 Cup sugar

4 Eggs

1 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

2 Teaspoons baking soda

3 Cups flour

1/2 Teaspoon salt

60 Candy Corn Kisses





Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In mixer cream crisco and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly add brown sugar and granulated sugar, mix until thoroughly combined.  Gradually add baking soda, flour, and salt; once combined add in eggs (one at a time) and vanilla.

Take a scoop of cookie dough, roll together, press Kiss in the middle of the dough and then cover.  Once the Kiss is completely covered place on prepared cookie sheet.  Bake on 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cookies cool on tray for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack.  Let cookies completely cool before storing.



 



 

Recipe by: Lynsey Lou

White Chili

I love the fall season for many reasons, but one of my favorite things of fall are the foods.  There are so many different foods that go along with fall; but I think soups, stews and chilis are among the most popular types.  There is nothing better than having a hot bowl of chili with cornbread on a cool, crisp fall day.

Since I live in Arkansas, seasons are very rare and don't last long at all.  It seems like we go from extreme heat to extreme cool with no between period.  Any time we get semi-seasonal weather  we take advantage of it to the fullest. 

This past Saturday was a perfect fall day here and I was craving some chili.  I had recently made regular chili so I thought this would be a perfect time to try out White Chicken Chili that I've seen on so many blogs.  I had really never seen or heard of white chili before I got into the blogging world and started browsing other people's blogs.  I knew when I saw it I had to try it because it looked incredible.  Saturday was the perfect day to try out this new found chili recipe (new for me at least:) ).  

This recipe was actually pretty easy to put together.  It's also one of those recipes where you pretty much have everything on hand at all times...I love those types of recipes!  It was such a hearty chili that I didn't really need to cook any side items to go with it; so I cooked some cornbread and that was it.  The chili was a big hit with everyone, there were barely any leftovers and what we did have left over was gone pretty quickly.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

2 Cans navy beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces), plus extra for topping
1/2 cup sour cream


 

Directions:

In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.

In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.


 

Recipe Source: adapted from Epicurious

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicken Rigatoni with Cream Cheese Sauce

I love pasta dishes; spaghetti, rigatoni, lasagna...pretty much any type of pasta there is I like.  It is such a versatile dish; it can be made as a main course, side dish or even an appetizer.  I was browsing through the recipes I have posted since I've started blogging and I realized I don't have very many pasta type recipes in my blog.  I wanted to change that, so in an effort to add more pasta to my blog I decided I we would have pasta for supper. 

After determining I was going to cook pasta for supper I then narrowed it down to the kind of sauce I didn't want which was a tomato based sauce.  From there I started looking through the different recipe sites to see if there was something that jumped out at me and that is when I came across this recipe on All Recipes.  After reading this recipe it gave me inspiration for what we would have for our supper.

I made a few changes, added some things and took away others and the end result was quite nice.  I also made a cream cheese cream sauce which complimented everything very well.  This was such an easy meal to throw together; and will be a "go to" meal for those nights where I need something quick, easy and tasty. 

 

Ingredients:

8 ounces rigatoni pasta

3-4 Chicken cutlets -cubed

Olive oil-for drizzling

Fresh cracked pepper- to taste

Garlic salt - to taste

2 1/2-3 Cups sugar snapped peas-prepared as directed

Parmesan cheese-for sauce and to garnish

Cream Sauce:

2 ounces cream cheese-at room temperature

2-3 tablespoons butter

1/4-1/2 cup milk

Fresh cracked pepper-to taste

Directions:

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta, and cook about 8-10 minutes.  Once finished, drain the pasta and set aside.

Warm some olive oil in a skillet and then add cubed chicken.  Stir in chicken and season with pepper and garlice salt.  Cook about 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked entirely through.  Remove chicken to drain.

Cream Sauce:

In a small sauce pan add cream cheese and butter, melt together over low to medium heat.  Continue until the blend is smooth and creamy.  Stir in milk, fresh cracked pepper and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. 

Simmer mixture over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Once finished combine chicken, pasta, sugar snap peas and cream sauce and mix together. 

Serve with parmesan cheese on top along with fresh cracked pepper.



Pasta adapted from All Recipes

Cream Sauce by Lynsey Lou





   

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Chili Time

I love the fall and everything that comes along with it.  I have been waiting for the weather to change and actually feel like fall for quite some time now.  I love soups, chili, stews and all the other cool weather fall type foods.  I enjoy these types of food all the time but I really enjoy them when the weather is crisp and cool. 

On a cool night there is nothing better than a warm, spicy bowl of chili with cheese and Fritos.  The other night was the perfect night to make my first batch of chili for the season; it was cool outside and I was bundled up inside. 

I love deer meat; dear steak, chili, sausage or whatever...I'm a fan.  We had a deer processed and had some chili meat made so I thought I would try that out for this batch of chili.  The chili turned out incredible; it was so tasty and all the flavors blended perfectly.  The night before I browned the meat, cut up onions and peppers and got them all ready so I could just throw everything in the crockpot the next morning.  Chili is a great meal to make ahead; and that's exactly what I did.

 

Ingredients:

1 Pound Italian sausage

1 Pound deer meat (I had the processor cut up some in a chili cut)

1 Can chili with beans

1 Can chili with hot beans

3 Cans stewed tomatoes

1 Can Rotel

2 Medium/1 Large bell pepper-chopped

4-5 Medium peppers- such as jalapenos or habaneros (add more or less according to taste)

2 Tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

Pepper-to taste

Garlic salt-to taste

3-4 Tablespoons chili powder

3-4 Tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce

Cheddar cheese-shredded to go on top

Fritos

 

Directions:

Place meat in pan and cook thoroughly.  Once meat is cooked, drain, and then add seasonings.  Dice peppers and onions and mix into meat.  ***If cooking it in a crockpot place mixture in refrigerator until ready to cook. 

Once ready to cook place meat and onion mixture in crockpot; stir in rest of ingredients.  Place crockpot on low before work and when you come home you'll have a nice, hot meal ready when you get home. 

Top with cheese and a side of fritos!

 



 

Recipe from Lynsey Lou

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Put the Key Lime in the Cookie and you mix it all together!


 



I love key lime, I've never had anything key lime that I haven't liked.  One of my favorite desserts is Key Lime Pie, and I guess the pie has started my obsession with all things key lime.  I am always looking for new recipes that include key lime so that I can expand my key lime recipes.  I have seen several key lime cookie recipes on websites and blogs, that were of all different varieties. 

I came across a white chocolate chip key lime cookie recipe the other day while looking around the internet and I thought it sounded pretty interesting.  I thought about this recipe for a little bit because I was just wasn't too sure of this combination, I thought it would be good but it was just one of those things that was just a little bit different and a "branch out".  I finally talked myself into making them and while I was mixing them up my mouth started watering.  I tasted a little bit of the batter just to get an idea of what it was like I from that first taste I was addicted!  

When I first tried to get Spencer to taste it he was a little leary of the whole combination.  I waited until the first batch of cookies came out and took him one fresh out of the oven to try.  He ate it, thought about it for a few minutes and decided they were pretty tasty when he came back for another one.  These cookies have been a hit with everyone that has tried them.  If you're a key lime fan I definitely suggest trying these...they are awesome!  



Ingredients:

1/2 Cup butter-softened

1 Cup sugar

1 Large egg

1 Large egg yolk

1 1/2 Cups flour

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1/4 Cup key lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest

3/4 Cup white chocolate chips



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter, sugar, egg, egg yolk in a large bowl.  Sift flour, salt, and baking powder.  Blend in flour mixture.  Add lime zest and lime juice.  Fold in white chocolate chips. 

Refrigerate dough for about 15 minutes.  Place dough on prepared cookie sheet, bake for 8-10 minutes.  After removing from oven, let cookies sit on sheet for 5 minutes then move to cooling rack.



Adapted from All Recipes

Chocolatey, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


 

It seems like there are many people on a mission to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie with the perfect desired consistency.  I too am on that mission; there are tons of CC cookie recipes out there and I have tried multiple ones but it seems like they are too thick, too thin or just they just do not come out as I've intended or wanted. 

The other recipes I have tried have been rather tastey and awesome when they first come out of the oven, but after they are in a container for a few days they just aren't as good...in my opinion.  I was looking for a cookie that was of medium thickness, chewy (both fresh from the oven and after a few days) and just the perfect consistency.  It seems like I've finally created the perfect cookie...for me and they seem to be a hit for everyone that's tried them. 

When I was working with this cookie batter it was a matter of trial and error at first.  I mixed up the batter, made a small batch, let them sit and then tried them.  I would add a little more of this and that and then try the process again.  After about 3 little tweaks here and there I finally had my perfect cookie that I desired. 

During this time of creating this cookie I was also baking for a couple of soldiers for Operation Baking Gals, which is an awesome way to give a little back to the people who are fighting so hard for our country, so after I perfected this cookie I thought it would be a great one to send over to the troops.  I doubled my recipe in order to have enough for the troops and to be able to experiment to get the cookies exactly how I wanted. 

***I made a larger recipe in order to be able to send 2 dozen to each soldier I volunteered for but you could easily half the recipe and make a much smaller batch.  This recipe made approximately 64 cookies.      

 

Ingredients:

2 Cups butter flavored Crisco

1 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 Cup granulated sugar

3 Eggs

3 1/2 Cups flour

1/2 Cup Milk chocolate chips- melted

3 Teaspoons vanilla

2 Teaspoons baking soda

2 Teaspoons salt

1 1/2-2 Cups chocolate chips - semi sweet

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream Crisco for one mintue then add brown sugar and sugar until creamed.  Mix in eggs until well combined.  Add vanilla and melted chocolate.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt together.  Slowly add ingredients to Crisco sugar mixture.  Once mixed add chocolate chips to mixture.

Refrigerate dough for 15-30 minutes and then spoon on prepared cookie sheet, I made dough balls about the size of a walnut.  Place remaining batter in refrigerator until ready to spoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  After removing from oven let sit on sheet for 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack. 

***To get a crunchy, flatter cookie take out 3/4 Cup to 1 Cup of the flour that is called for.

 

 


Recipe Source: Lynsey

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Operation Baking Gals

 



 

I have seen the infamous "Operation Baking Gals" logo on quite a few websites since I've joined the cooking blog world.  After reading about it on other blogs I decided to visit the Operation Baking Galswebsite and see what it was all about.  It was absolutely amazing reading about it and finding out how it got started and how quickly it has grown since the first round.  

From the first story I read on the website I knew I had to be a part of this.  I contacted Susan of She's BecomingDough Messticto become part ofThe Baking Gals, Susan was very quick to respond to my email with all the information I needed.  It made me feel so good to be a part of something like this and to see just how many people were involved already and how fast it's growing.   

By joining I felt like this was a way I could give something back to the ones who are giving so much to us.  Any little bit we can do over here to show them appreciation is so worth it and probably means more than we could imagine.  We are so fortunate to live in a place like we do and have the freedom that we do.  If it weren't for these men and women fighting for our rights and all the ones before them we wouldn't have what we have today.  

Sunday night I prepared my packages of cookies to take to the post office to ship them off to the guys.  I was very moved while I was preparing them for shipping.  I was also overwhelmed when I took them to the post office on Monday to ship them.  It was an amazing feeling and ever the clerk went on and on about how much those guys would appreciate the cookies and how nice that was.  I hope when the guys receive my cookies and the rest of my groups cookies they will know just how much they mean to us and how much we appreciate what each and every one of them are doing.

 

For this round the first team I volunteered for was "Team We'll Eat Everything" hosted by Lauren of I'll Eat You.  She was such an awesome hostess and very upbeat when got everyone on her team upbeat and ready to bake.  The soldier that we had was Eddie Ortiz of New Jersey by way of York, PA.  He attended high school in York with one of Lauren's co-workers and so that is how we got introduced to Eddie.  

Eddie is 28 and a single father of a son and daughter.  He went into the Navy right after finishing high school in 1998.  He has been deployed in Iraq since August and I am unsure when he finishes his tour. 

 

 

The second team I volunteered for this round was "Team Daleske" hosted by Stephanie Flynn of "Mostly Useless Drivel".  Stephanie was an awesome hostess as well and got us all the information we needed right off the bat.  The soldier on her team was Christopher Daleske.   

 



Christopher calls Hilton Head Island South Carolina home but also claims Summit, NJ...a small town in Union County. He attended High school at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, PA and was a member of the regimental band on a music scholarship during High School. He then continued on to Jr College and was comissioned as a 2nd LT in the Army through Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne PA in 2001, transferred to Clemson University in South Carolina in 2001-2004. He joined TKE, a social fraternity, and graduated with a BA in Political Science and a BA in History (he's talented and a genius!). He was initially stationed at Fort Bragg, NC with the 18th Fires BDE, and then transferred to the 18th Airborne Corps for the current deployment.
Christopher married his college sweetheart in July of 2007, and was deployed just seven short months later, in Feb 2008. He expects to come home in the Spring of 2009. His beautiful young wife is living with her parents until he comes home, and he plans on moving them to Virginia and working for the military in some capactiy upon his redeployment.
Christopher loves to travel and is so fanatical about college football that he stays up 'til 6 AM watching the games in Iraq! He's very active, loves sports and the ocean, and after being around the dusty brown of Iraq for so long, misses the snow, rain and everything beautifully green.
Christopher is the unofficial Morale Officer to the men and women around him. He shares everything he gets from home to lighten the mood and morale for his friends and fellow soldiers over there. He even stores up any party related items he recieves from home for impromtu birthday celebrations for those around him.
Most importantly, he thanks God every single day for keeping his friends, family, countrymen and women safe and for all that they do. How about a HUGE thanks to Christopher for all that he does to keep all of us safe!Let's all pray for the safety and health of CPT Daleske, and all of our soldiers serving in the armed forces. And those of you who are so inclined, well let's bake our little hearts out and shower him with the love and gratitude he deserves!



 

 

For the guys this time I baked Chocolatey, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and Key Lime White Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The recipes will follow.

 
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