Archive for September, 2013

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S’mores Bars

September 26, 2013

20130823 Smores Bars 02

What do you do after a camping trip? Make s’mores bars with the extra supplies from the campfire!  These are quick to come together, and they are best eaten a little warm. This prevents the marshmallow from getting too chewy. This recipe was inspired by Pinterest.

You will need:

  • 1 bag sugar cookie mix (e.g., Betty Crocker)
  • 1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • ~ 12 oz chocolate bars (this is about 6 of the regular Hershey’s), chopped
  • 5 T Nutella
  • 4 c marshmallow pieces (we cut regular sized ones into quarters)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with tinfoil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix with the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon.
  3. Stir in the butter until well mixed.
  4. Press dough into the prepared baking dish. Spread it evenly with your fingers.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the center is roughly set.
  6. Remove from the oven.
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate pieces on top and drop the Nutella around the top. Allow the dish to sit about 5 minutes. This will let the heat melt the chocolate.
  8. Use a knife to lightly mix the chocolate with the Nutella and spread it evenly over the top.
  9. Dot the top with the marshmallow pieces.
  10. Turn on your broiler in your oven to high. Return the dish to the oven, making sure it is about 5-6 inches away from the broiler.
  11. Watch closely and remove as the marshmallows start to brown. This should only take about 30 seconds.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing!

20130823 Smores Bars 01

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Coq au Vin

September 19, 2013

After a week of hiking and other vacation-type adventures, D and I were more than ready to cook a yummy dinner at home. I made a variation of coq au vin (or chicken in wine) for us. We started cooking the different components on the stove top before finishing the dish in the oven, and it was a incredibly delicious dish. D and I opted for mashed potatoes as a side, but this is usually served with a wide, flat pasta.

20130823 Coq au Vin 01

You will need:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1.5 lb chicken breasts (I used boneless)
  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs (I used boneless)
  • 5 T Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large handful of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 c good red wine
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 c beef stock

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Like a deep-sided 9×13 inch baking dish with tinfoil.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the bacon and cook until rendered and just starting to crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry. Spread the Dijon mustard on one side of each piece of chicken.
  5. Place the chicken (mustard side up) in the skillet with the bacon drippings.
  6. Allow each side to brown, about 3-5 minutes. It does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  7. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place in the prepared baking dish.
  8. Add the mushrooms and carrots to the skillet. Cook until the mushrooms’ liquid evaporates, and vegetables are starting to caramelize.
  9. Remove them from the skillet and add to the prepared baking dish with the chicken.
  10. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Saute on medium-low heat until the onions are softened and starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  11. Season with salt, pepper and the thyme. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and add to the baking dish.
  12. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Whisk in the flour and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Whisk in the wine until smooth.
  14. Whisk in the tomato paste and beef stock until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
  15. Allow to thicken slightly by simmering.
  16. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.
  17. Bake for 90 minutes. Serve hot!

20130823 Coq au Vin 02

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Carrot Cake

September 13, 2013

Carrot cake is one of my dad’s favorite desserts, along with rice pudding. This is a very traditional version with two layers and a honeyed cream cheese frosting. If you wanted, you could also bake it as a 9×13 cake.

20130810 Carrot Cake 03

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2/3 c vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c shredded carrot
  • 1 c currants (or raisins)
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 8 oz (1 can) crushed pineapple, lightly drained
  • 8 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • Zest of one lemon

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger and salt.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs.
  4. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture just until starting to combine.
  5. Add the carrot, currants, walnuts and pineapples. Stir until evenly mixed.
  6. Divide the batter in the prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and a tester in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. In a food processor (or with an electric mixer), combine the cream cheese with the butter, vanilla and honey.
  10. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar.
  11. Mix in the lemon zest.
  12. Frost between the layers and on top. Serve and enjoy! (If feeling fancy, you can top with extra nuts or even some pineapple or coconut).

20130810 Carrot Cake 01

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Chicken Chili Verde

September 6, 2013

20130728 Chicken Chili Verde

D and I make a fair amount of chili, but it is almost always with some form of beef. We decided to try a “white” chili, and this is what we came up with…a chile with chicken and green peppers. We made it in a slow cooker, but you could easily use a big pot on the stove.

You will need:

  • 1 lb dried northern white beans, picked over, soaked overnight in cold water to cover and drained
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 8 oz (1 bottle) lager
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, 1 grated and 1 chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 celery stalks, rinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 8 oz canned roasted green chiles (usually already chopped)
  • 1 1/2 c chopped tomatillos
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and chicken shredded
  • 1 c corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen)
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced

Then you will…

  1. Put the drained beans, chicken stock, beer, garlic and the grated onion in the slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook on HIGH until the beans are tender, about 2 to 2.5 hours.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, celery, jalapeno, and red bell pepper. Saute until the veggies are starting to turn tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, cloves, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the spices to the skilled. Mix well and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir the veggies into the slow cooker.
  6. Add the green chiles, tomatillos, and chicken to the slow cooker. Mix well.
  7. Cook on LOW for 2 hours.
  8. Stir in the corn, cilantro and juice of one lime. Cook for another half hour.
  9. Stir in the remaining lime juice. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.
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