Friday, January 28, 2011

Stay Tuned...Pumpkin Pancakes

I'm off to visit my family in Tennessee tomorrow for some much needed R&R. While I'm there we plan to cook up some of our family favorites and do some recipe testing so I can come back and share all the yummies with you.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a recipe from my recipe box.  
Indulge yourself and have some pancakes over the weekend.  They're good!
When I come back in a week, I'll join you!



Pumpkin Pancakes


INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cup flour
1  t Pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs (separated)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cups pumpkin (one 15 ounce can)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
4 T melted butter, slightly cooled


DIRECTIONS

Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
With a hand mixer, whip egg whites until stiff but not dry.
Mix together buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and butter. Make a well in the dry ingredients and fold in buttermilk-pumpkin mixture; do not over mix. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
Cook on a hot grill until bubbles form at the edges. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak



Who doesn't love chicken fried steak?  If you said yes, then leave the room immediately!

This dish has been a staple in my family since forever.  I mean generations and generations of Landon and Corzine women folk have been cookin' up this dish for hungry men and their children since before time began.   

What would life be without chicken fried steak?  Borrrrring!

Now the secret to great chicken fried steak is in the coating.  I needs to be crispy and crunchy on the outside while the steak is still tender and moist on the inside.

I got a craving for it the other day and decided to whip some up for dinner for my love, MGG, and myself .  Now MGG is kinda a "health nut"..anything with the word "fried" in it and he shys away.  But I didn't really tell him that...I said, "Baby, it's not really fried!  It's just cooked in the manner of fried chicken with the technique!"

Well that worked and I got him to eat it and he gobbled it up and was ready for seconds before I got two bites down!


Let's try our hand at chicken fried steak.

First you want to set up your breading stations.  I use pie pans, cause that's how mom taught me.

Put about 1 cup of flour in one pie pan, and salt an pepper the flour liberally.  I find this way of seasoning works best.  Then beat 2 eggs and some milk in the next pie pan and whisk it together for the egg bath.

Before you begin your coating, get a skillet on the stove and put some canola oil in the pan to coat the pan about 1/2"  deep.  You don't have to use much oil to fry.  Get the oil good and hot using a medium high heat.

Now for the breading.  I do a 3 dip method which I find makes for a thicker, crispier crust.  This is important...so follow this method.

First you take your cube steak, dip it in the flour, pressing lightly, coating both sides.


Next you dip the steak in the egg bath, make sure it is completely coated.



Lastly you dip the steak back in the flour.  This time you press down with your fingers or a fork to really get the flour to stick and coated all over.  Both sides.


Check your oil, make sure you see ripples, or drop a spot of flour in it...it is foams and sizzles it's ready.  You want the steak to sizzle immediately, otherwise your oil is not hot enough and your steak will absorb too much grease.

Once all the steaks are in the pan another trick is this...turn up the heat just a little....just a little.  Cooking this at a higher heat will help the coating become crispy and the inside will stay moist.  Don't worry the steak is thin and will cook all the way through.  Now cook on the first side for about 4 min.


Turn it over and cook the other side about another 3 min.


Place the steaks on some folded paper towels to absorb any excess grease.

WooooWeee!    Would you look at that?




Enjoy!



Chicken Fried Steak

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 cube steaks
1 cup of flour
salt and pepper
2 eggs
splash of milk
canola oil for frying

Directions:

Place 1 cup of flour in a pie pan.  Salt and pepper flour liberally and mix well.

Place 2 eggs and a splash of milk in another pie pan.  Beat together.

Dip cube steak in flour, lightly coating each side.  Dip steak in egg bath and coat each side.  Dip steak back in the flour mixture and press down in the flour with a fork or your fingers to press the coating in to the steak on both sides.

In a skillet over med-high heat add enough oil so that it is 1/2" deep.  Heat up oil until hot.  Place coated steaks in the oil.  Turn heat up just a little bit on the skillet.  Cook on the first side for about 4 min.  Turn over and cook for another 3 min.  Cook in batches if need be. 

Place cooked steaks on folded paper towels to absorb any excess grease.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Homemade Taco Seasoning


I love tacos, but I can't stand all the sodium you get in those seasoning packets!  So I came up with my own version through trial and error, and I think this is a winner.

Now this has red pepper flakes in it, so if you don't like it that spicy, just adjust accordingly.

Try it and let me know.   :)


Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red
pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together all spices. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie Pockets



Ok, so I have to use up the rest of my shredded chicken white meat from my segment on "How to Poach a Chicken" segment.

Have you ever tried those Hot Pockets?  or the Lean pockets?  They are a quick and easy meal, and kids seem to love them.  But these puppies are expensive!  I mean out here you can drop $5.00 for 4 little pockets.  I can do better than that!  And I can make them so that you can freeze them.  Did you hear that....you can freeze them!

Yep, freeze them before you bake, freeze them after you bake...whatever, it works.

So let's make some.

You will need, diced finely carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion.  A heaping cup of the cooked shredded chicken, Parmesan cheese, 2 pie crusts (dough), and chicken broth.

Dice up the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onions.  I used baby portabella mushrooms cause that's what I had, but you can use any variety you like.


Put a couple of tablespoons of butter (I know, I know...) in a hot skillet and add the vegetables.  Saute for about 6-7 min. until tender.



Add 2 Tablespoons of flour, just sprinkle it in.  Cook for another minute.



Add 1 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, bring to a simmer.  Let this cook about 4-5 min until your sauce get thickened up a bit.




Now add the chicken and cheese, salt and pepper.  Taste it...Yummy huh?




That's all for the filling!  Now put it in a bowl and stick it in the frig to get chilled.  Go do your laundry or something ( I hate doing the laundry!) and when you come back it should be chilled enough.  About 1-1 1/2 hrs.



Now for the pastry part.  This is easy....trust me.

Flour a work surface so the dough doesn't stick.  Unroll one of the pie crusts, and roll it out a little with your rolling pin, so it isn't so thick.


Take a bowl that is about 5" in diameter and use it as a cookie cutter to cut out the circles.  I got about 5 out of mine by re-rolling the scraps.



Take about 1/4 of the filling and put it on one side of the circle.



Fold the circle over, ensuring all the mixture is inside securely, and pinch the edges to seal.


Repeat with all the circles and filling.

Take a fork and crimp the edges of the pocket to create a seal.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pockets on the sheet.



Beat an egg and a little water to create a wash and brush over the pockets.


Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 min. until golden brown. 

Let them rest for 5 min...and OH BABY!  These are sooooooooo good!
(making my mouth water right now).

Gotta go now...I'm craving a pocket again.... : )


Note:  Freezing tips are in the recipe below.



Chicken Pot Pie Pockets

Ingredients
Makes 12 pocket pies
  • 2 tbl unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery (1 large stalk)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrot (1 carrot)
  • 1/3 cup chopped baby portabella mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 heaping cup of shredded  white meat
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 ready make pie crusts  – such as 1 pkg of Pillsbury pie crusts
·  1 egg and a dash of water for egg wash                          

Directions:
Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium high.  Add the onion, celery, mushrooms, and carrots. Saute for 6 to 7 minutes until vegetables are tender.   Sprinkle in flour and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the chicken broth and stir until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and the Parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a bowl and cool in the refrigerator until completely cooled.  About 1 hour – 1 ½ hrs.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees .  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Flour a work surface and roll out one of the pie crusts.  Using a rolling pin roll out the dough just a little.  Using a bowl that is about 5 inches in diameter and invert it on the dough using it as a cutter to make your individual discs.  I got about 6 from each pie crust. 
Place ¼ cup of filling on one side of the circle.  Fold over the dough to form a pocket, making sure that all the mixture is inside and toward the center.  Using a fork, crimp the edges to form a seal. 
Pockets can be frozen at this point.  To freeze:  Lay on a baking sheet in a single layer in the freezer until completely frozen, then you can put the pockets in a freezer safe bag and store.   
To cook:  Prick each pie on top twice with a fork to allow the steam to escape.  Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush each pocket. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.   To cook from frozen:  take directly from the freezer, add the egg wash and bake as directed but add on about 5 – 8 min more. 
To freeze cooked pies:  You can individually wrap pockets in plastic wrap and freeze.  They can be reheated in the oven or the microwave.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beth's Favorite Chicken Enchiladas



One thing we really like in California is Mexican food.  We grow up eating it, and I can't imagine not having it...I actually crave it!

So I wanted to use my shredded chicken from my  "How to Poach Chicken" tutorial and I decided to first make my favorite Chicken Enchiladas. 

These are not the ooey gooey enchiladas....they are "healthy" enchiladas.....or at least "healthier"!

The flavors in this dish blend so well and it's super easy to make.  Give it a try, I promise you'll love it!

Here's how to make it.

You will need, shredded chicken, a can of black beans, a can of Rotel tomatoes diced with green chilies, a package of Mexican shredded cheese, some enchiladas sauce (I use Lawry's seasoning mix but you can use a can sauce if you like!  you will need tomato paste if you use the seasoning pkg.) and flour tortillas.  Note:  I'm using low carb tortillas but you can use regular...gotta keep those cabs down!


So you take the chicken, and the tomatoes, and the rinsed beans and put it in a large bowl. 



Add about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.  Mix it all together.



Next make the enchiladas sauce by mixing the seasoning pkg with tomato paste and water in a medium sauce pan and heat it up for about 5 min.  If using a canned sauce just heat that up as well.

Pour some of the sauce in a bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, enough to cover the bottom.



Take some of the chicken mixture and put it down the center of a tortilla and roll it up, placing it seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat with the rest of the chicken mixture and tortillas.




Pour enough enchiladas sauce over the top to cover the tortillas.  Add more if you want it saucy.


Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.



Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 min.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 to get the cheese gooey and browned a little.

OMG!  LOOK AT THIS!  HEAVEN!




Beth’s Favorite Chicken Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas

Ingredients:

1 cup shredded chicken (leftover from the poached chicken)
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies - Rotel
1 (8-oz.) pkg shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
8 (8-inch) low carb flour tortillas
Vegetable cooking spray
1 pkg Lawry’s Enchilada sauce seasoning mix
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
3 cups water


Directions:

Combine first 4 ingredients and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl.

To make enchilada sauce, combine seasoning mix, tomato paste, and water in a medium pan and stir to combine over medium heat for about 5 min.

Pour enough enchilada sauce in a 9x13 inch baking dish to cover the bottom.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla, and roll up.  Place it seam side down in the baking dish. 

Pour enchilada sauce evenly over tortillas, and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 15 more minutes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Poach a Chicken



Poaching is the process of gently simmering food in liquid.  Chicken is a great item to poach, especially if you need cooked chicken for another dish you are making. 

You can poach your chicken let it cool and then shred  it, cube it, or cut in to pieces easily and then use in various recipes.

When whole chickens are on sale I often use this method instead of roasting it.  You can also poach pieces rather than a whole chicken as well.  Remember, once the chicken is cooked you can freeze portions of it to have on hand for future dishes.

Here's a step by step on how to poach a chicken.  I used a whole chicken so vary the quantity and size of things if you are poaching pieces.

Remove the chicken from the packaging and toss any inner parts away.  Wash and rinse your chicken.

Get a large enough pan or pot to cover the entire chicken.

Place the chicken on the pot along with some carrots, celery, and onion.  Whatever you have on hand will do, we just need to add some seasoning.  (no need to peel the carrot, just toss it in)Cover with water.



Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 55 min for a whole chicken.  Probably about 35 minutes for pieces, breasts, thighs, etc.


Once the chicken is done pull it from the pot and let it rest on a cutting board until it is cool enough to handle.


Cut off the wings, legs and thighs, shred or cut/cube meat if you would like.  Then cut the back bone and cut off the breasts.  I shredded all the meat separating the dark meat from the white meat to use in various dishes.


It's as simple as that and this technique leaves you with endless possibilities!

How about chicken soup?
or enchiladas?
or a chicken casserole?
tacos anyone?

I'll post a recipe for my favorite chicken enchiladas tomorrow.
Stay tuned....and POACH A CHICKEN!



Monday, January 17, 2011

Croque Monsieur



I've had a week trying to get over a nasty cold and in 80 degree weather in CA it's not so fun...So sometimes a good hot sandwich just hits the spot.

This is one of my favorite sandwiches.  Like a hot ham and cheese, but kicked up a notch.  Croque Monsieur is the french version and it's mighty tasty!

Here's how to make it.

Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a tablespoon of mayo in a small bowl.



Take two slices of your favorite bread, (I used a nice Italian loaf) and spread the mustard mixture on to both slices.


Next, layer several slices of deli ham on one of the slices of bread.



Add a good amount of shredded swiss cheese on top of the ham.  (I like cheese...)



Place the other slice of bread on the cheese, mustard mixture down against the cheese.]

Beat the egg with the milk and place in a shallow dish.



Place the sandwich in the egg mixture and press down. 



Turn the mixture over and dip it in the egg mixture as well.


In a skillet heated over medium heat add the sandwich and cook on each side about 3-4 minutes until brown.




You can use a lid to cover and this will help melt the cheese.


Enjoy...yummy!




Croque Monsieur

Yield:  1 serving

Ingredients:


1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Mayonnaise
2 slices Italian bread
2-3 slices deli sliced ham
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 egg beaten
a Splash 2% milk

Directions:
Combine mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
Spread over both slices of bread.  Layer ham on 1 slice of bread and top with cheese.  Top with other slice of bread mustard side down. 
Combine egg and milk in a shallow dish. Dip both sides of each sandwich into the egg mixture.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add sandwich to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts.  Cover with lid if necessary to melt cheese.

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