Monday, April 27, 2009

Apple Cider Chicken

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that we LOVE!

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
2 whole chicken breasts, 4 halves, bone-in and skin on
Salt and pepper
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, 7-8 sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
3 tablespoons honey (eyeball it)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup plus apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken stock

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and add to the hot oil, skin side down. Brown chicken, about 5 minutes per side. Remove and reserve.
Add another 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, the onions, thyme, honey and the garlic. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently for about 20-30 minutes or until the onions are really brown.

Add cider vinegar, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble. Once at a simmer, return the chicken to the pot with the liquid and onions. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, flipping the chicken over in the sauce about halfway through. Remove lid, check to make sure the chicken is cooked through by cutting a small slit in the thickest part of the breast with a paring knife to have a look inside. If it is cooked through -- no pink meat -- remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat up to high and simmer until the sauce thickens up slightly, about 4-5 minutes.

You can serve the chicken right away topped with a big spoon full of sauce and the onions or you can return the chicken to the pot, turn the heat off and cover with the lid until you're ready to serve it. Once you are ready, add 1/2-3/4 cup additional chicken stock and turn the heat back on to heat everything back up.

I've also done this with thick porkchops. I serve it with my cream cheese smashed potatoes.

Family favorite sandwiches

As we all start heading outdoors fir picnics and such, I wanted to share our family's favorite Sandwiches. These were born out of my love for Einstein Bagel's "Tasty Turkey" and my extreme hate of mayo. They're pretty fabulous!

2 thick slices of French bread
smear both with onion and chive cream cheese

top with:

roasted turkey breast
salt n pepper to taste


Awesome grape salad

4 cups of seedless grapes (i mix red and green)
8 oz cream cheese
8oz sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
chopped walnuts or pecans

Wash and very thoroughly dry the grapes. Mix cheese, sour cream, white sugar, and vanilla til fluffy. Mix in grapes until completely covered. top with nuts and brown sugar. Chill until served.

*tonight I made it and added a dash of cinnamon to the sauce mixture, some diced apples with the grapes and granola on top instead of nuts... delish!!! It's also as great with reduced fat cheese and sour cream!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chewy goodness brownies

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 300 degrees . Line one 9x13 inch pan with greased parchment paper.

Combine the cocoa, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt , flour and vanilla. Mix until well combined. It should be very thick and sticky.

Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares

* I sometimes swirl in some warmed cream cheese before baking. And sometimes mix a lil raspbery preserves into the cheese, then swirl.

One pot pork chop dinner

This is what I used tonight on my pork chops. I love one pot meals. I just roasted some asparagus as a side. It was Awesome!!! Sooo tender!

8 thinly cut (about 1/2-inch thick) pork chops,
2 teaspoons spice mix, recipe follows
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 thinly sliced onions
splash balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 bay leaves
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cans water (measured in the chicken broth cans)
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes


Season both sides of the chops with the spice mix.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the pork chops, 3 to 4 at a time, and lightly brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops and transfer to a platter. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the flour and stir constantly until the roux is the color of peanut butter, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Return the pork chops to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Spices I used:

2 tbs. sea salt
1 tbs black pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumen
1tsp chili powder
2 tsp onion powder

My style

Before I start posting I just thought I'd tell you how I tend to cook. I believe cooking should be fun. I don't strictly stick to recipes. If I think it needs more oil or more garlic, I add it. When baking, yes you have to be precise, but cooking is open to interpretation. Thats probablly why I prefer cooking.

So, if you wanna try a recipe and don't have one of the spices it calls for, try it any way don't let it stop you. Try substituting a similar flavor.

Just have fun! You'll enjoy it more. =)