Monday, February 23, 2009

Mushroom White Wine Chicken

This recipe was inspired by some open white wine in the refrigerator, and some mushrooms that needed to be used up sooner than later. It's basically a chicken marsala, but I think I used a chardonnay. Pretty much any white wine will work.

Pan Fried Mushroom White Wine Chicken

3 tbsp butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp flour

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
4 tbsp canola oil

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a medium sized sautee pan. Add mushrooms, green onions, lemon juice and garlic. Sautee over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add wine, salt, pepper and flour. Stir. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer while you make the chicken, stirring occasionally.
Heat the canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Dredge each chicken breast in flour, coating thoroughly. Then dip in beaten egg to coat. Dip in bread crumbs. Put the chicken breasts in the skillet. Cook over medium low approx 5 minutes on each side. Length of cooking time depends on the thickness of the chicken.
Drain cooked chicken breasts and serve with sauce.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cannoli Cookies

Inspired by cannoli filling, these chocolate chip cookies contain ricotta cheese as a twist, for something a little different.

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder & salt in bowl, set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, combine sugar and butter. Beat at medium until fluffy. Add ricotta, vanilla and eggs (one at a time). Beat until combined.
Reduce speed to low. Add orange zest. Add flour mixture a little at a time and mix until dough forms. With spoon, mix chips into dough.
Drop by level tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake approx 15 minutes until edges are golden. Makes approx. 3 dozen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kahlua and Cream Brownies

This recipe was my first national recipe contest win, for Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It is soooo easy to make. People always seem to think it involves a lot more effort than it really does. I do variations on it all the time when I need to take treats to school or another function. This recipe has afew add ins, but you can make "brookies" using any refrigerated cookie dough, and any brownie mix you like. Just make prepare the brownies as directed on the package, pour over the cookie dough "crust" and bake. They usually take a little bit longer to bake than what is listed on the brownie instructions.

Kahlua & Cream Brownies
1 16.5-18 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 19.5 oz package milk chocolate brownie mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup kahlua
1 cup semi sweet or white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with baking spray. Crumble the sugar cookie dough and press it into the pan to form a crust.
In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, eggs, oil and Kahlua. Spread the batter over the cookie crumb crust, sprinkle with chips.
Bake approx. 40 minutes or until edges are set. Cool and cut into bars. Makes approx. 24 brownies.

Friday, February 13, 2009

7-up Cupcakes

I had to make cupcakes for school Valentine parties today. I wanted to make them at LEAST a little bit less unhealthy for the kids, and I didn't feel like baking them from scratch today since I had quite afew other things to do for the parties (plus the kids just inhale them anyway).
To make simple, not-quite-as-bad-for-you cupcakes - Just take a box of white cake mix, a can of diet 7-Up or Sprite, and one egg white. Mix together, pour batter into liners, bake about 20 minutes. They do seem to to take afew more minutes to bake than if using the regular box instructions. The egg white is optional, but I find that they hold together better. I also try to go easy on the frosting. Other flavors of cake mix and soda will work too.

Good Old Uncle Jimmy...

Uncle Jimmy always was the life of the party, and never afraid of horses. Minty fresh too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pizza Crust Recipe

My favorite easy pizza crust. I make this all the time with various toppings. Only takes afew minutes to put together, then about an hour to rise. I lightly sautee my vegetable toppings before putting them on the pizza, and I also like to prebake the crust for about 4 minutes prior to adding the toppings. Dry yeast is extremely cheap at Sam's club, and it lasts forever when kept in the freezer. I don't use a thermometer to check the water temperature. When it's hot enough that it feels like the right temperature for a bath, that's when I add it to the yeast.

1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil (plus a little extra)
Approx 4 cups AP flour (another variation is to use half AP flour and half whole wheat)

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and honey. Let stand approximately 10 minutes, until the yeast looks "foamy". Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 cups of the flour. Combine. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and gradually start adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl with a little olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place in a warm place until dough has doubled in size. Punch down, spread on lightly oiled pizza stone or pan, top as desired, bake approximately 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sounds yummy

Today at the grocery store I spotted the display below. Does Cadbury really not have a marketing team savvy enough that someone didn't say "Hey guys, this is probably a delicious cookie, but maybe we could come up with a more appealing name..."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cherries Jubilee Chicken

This recipe was a winner in a Weight Watchers Smart Ones contest to use fruit to create a sweet and savory entree. It calls for grilling the chicken, but the chicken can also be baked. It's really all about the sauce, which can also be used on pork. Fresh, frozen or canned cherries all work well. Frozen cherries should be thawed, and canned cherries drained.

Cherries Jubilee Grilled Chicken

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

2 shallots, chopped thin
1 tsp fresh choppd rosemary
1 tsp fresh chopped sage
1/2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 cups bing cherries, cut in half (thawed if using frozen, drained if canned)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Rub chicken with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place chicken on medium hot grill, turning once during cooking time. Grill until cooked through (depending on thickness of chicken breasts).
Heat remaining oil in medium skillet. Add shallots, rosemary, sage, thyme. Sautee over medium for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add cherries, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and nutmeg. Heat and stir 5 minutes.
Pour sauce over chicken, garnish with fresh rosemary sprig if desired.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lowfat Banana Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are a great way to use up ripe bananas. Blueberries are optional, but I really like the way they combine with the banana flavor, and they add an extra nutritional punch. Baking tip - lightly dust the berries with flour before added them to the batter, and it will keep them from sinking to the bottom.

Lowfat Banana Berry Muffins

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pan with baking spray or line with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, combine bananas, sugar, egg and applesauce. Ad in flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are combined. Don’t overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries with a baking spatula or spoon.
Bake approx. 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.