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Archive for April, 2010

Homemade Dog Treats

This is Sadie. Our 4 legged pet kid. She’s extremely spoiled!  I have been making her dog biscuits (and dog food for that matter, another post, another day) for quite sometime. We have noticed quite a difference in her energy levels.  Here are some good tips for those that want to make your own pets biscuits.   Treats should be fed in small amounts and are not intended to replace a well-balanced diet. (Huh,Tell that to Sadie!). When baking for your dog,(and this one is important) always remember to check all ingredients (baby food, bouillon, etc.) that you’re using to make sure there is no onions, grapes, raisins or chocolate, as they’re/can be very toxic to dogs.

Special Rewards Dog Biscuits

from: The Professional Pastry Chef, 3rd Edition -

by: Bo Friberg

340 g Whole Wheat Flour

340 g Bread Flour (Can use All Purpose Flour)

55 g Cup Wheat Germ

5 g (1 tsp.)  Salt

30 g (2 Tbsp.) Brown Sugar

3 Eggs

240 ml (1 cup) Vegetable Oil

85 g  (3 oz.) Powdered Milk

240 ml (1 Cup) Water or Bouillon (If you use Bouillon, Omit Salt)

Combine whole wheat flour, bread flour, cornmeal, wheat germ, salt and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir in the eggs and oil. Dissolve the milk powder in the water and then incorporate the mixture. Mix to form a very

firm dough that is smooth and workable. Adjust by adding a little extra flour or water as required.

Cover the dough and set it aside to relax, 15-20 minutes.  Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut biscuits out with desired cookie cutters. Place biscuits on sheet pans lined with baking paper. Bake at 375 Degrees for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until biscuits are brown, but more importantly, rock hard.  Let the biscuits cool completely. Use as needed to reward your pet.

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My Grand daughters have been helping in my kitchen for quite some time now and regularly pick things they want to make. For Easter, the youngest of my grand daughters (Anna – Age 7) received a cupcake making kit complete with a cook book. And the oldest one, received a cookbook (Kid’s First Cookbook”), that came with a couple of cooking utensils. Since that weekend we have been picking a recipe for each of them to make.

This weekend, my oldest grand-daughter Alexis – age 8 8) wanted to make a giant cupcake cake. So, I gave her a boxed cake mix (I thought this would be a good way(and easiest) to encourage her skill level. She took the box and followed the directions on setting the oven, greasing her pan, and mixing her cake.  We made a fluffy white frosting (much like a marshmallow icing) to go on top of her strawberry cake. I think she did an awesome job on making the cake, baking, leveling, frosting and decorating her cake all by herself!! Awesome job Lexi!! I can’t wait for your next masterpiece!!

Fluffy White Frosting

1 cup Sugar

1/3 Cup Water

1/4 tsp. Cream of Tarter

Pinch of Salt

2 Egg Whites

1 tsp. Vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water and cream of tarter. Cook over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.  In a medium bowl (or the bowl of you mixer) whip the egg whites, pinch of salt and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes.

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Grilling season is upon us, and it feels soooo good!!  Although we grill all year long, about this time of the year our grilling escalates!  I want to share with you a REALLY good mopping sauce that I use all the time. It enhances the taste of your grilled food, making whatever your serving even better!  This sauce is especially good with pork, although it can be used for whatever you would like.

Razorback Sopping Sauce

1 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Vinegar

1/2 Cup Butter

4  Tbsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Pepper

2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

2 Tbsp. Prepared Mustard

2 Thick slices Lemon

2 Medium Onions, sliced and peeled

4 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Combine water, vinegar, butter, sugar, pepper, salt, cayenne, mustard, lemon and onions in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and baste is ready.

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Chicken Scampi

For years, whenever one of my kids or relatives asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday, I always said: The Olive Garden”.  I love their food! Recently I came across a make alike recipe for their Chicken Scampi and decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed.  Pair it with some Garlic Bread and a Salad, and you’ll be there, without even leaving the house.

Chicken Scampi

White Sauce:
1 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Flour
3/4 Cup Hot Milk

Scampi Sauce:
3 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Garlic, Minced
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
Black Pepper, to Taste
3/4 Cup White Wine
1 Cup Chicken Broth
White Sauce

Remaining Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts, Sliced or Chopped
Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Bunch Broccoli
Sliced Mushrooms
10 Cloves Garlic, Roasted (See Below)** (Plan ahead, the garlic will need about 45 minutes).
1/2 Pkg. Pennette Pasta

Directions:
Make the white sauce first. Melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour, and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
Heat stirring constantly. Slowly add hot milk (hot so it won’t get lumpy). Set aside. (Make sure that the white sauce is hot when adding to the scampi sauce).
Next, make the scampi sauce. Heat butter over low heat. Add wine and chicken broth. Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes on low heat. Add the wine and chicken broth. Stir until combined, turn heat to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Add the hot white sauce and stir until well combined.  In the meantime, in a large pot of salted, boiling water, add 1 Tbsp. Olive oil to the water. Bring water to a full rolling boil. Add pasta and cook pasta according to package directions.
In a skillet, saute chicken in a little olive oil until nearly done. Add the peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and onions. Saute until chicken is done. Add Scampi Sauce. Saute until everything is warmed.  Drain the pasta well, and add to the scampi sauce, stirring well until completely covered with sauce. Serve at once, with Parmesan Reggiano freshly grated, and sprinkle with parsley.
Yield: 6 Servings.

For Roasted Garlic: **
Separate head of garlic into individual cloves still in “paper”. Toss in olive oil and wrap tightly with aluminum foil or a small pint sized dish with a lid. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. When the garlic is cooled to the touch, you should be able to squeeze it out of the “paper” shell of the individual cloves.

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Nappa Chicken Salad

This dish is one of our favorite meals. You do need to plan a little ahead though, as the chicken needs to marinade. However, I promise this salad is worth it. I do not know the origin of this recipe, but I have been making it for years. Other than the marinading time, this salad is quick and easy to put together.

Nappa Chicken Salad

Marinade:
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Lite Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Honey
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger (Or use fresh)
1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
1/3 Cup Apple Juice
Mix all ingredients together and marinade Chicken at least 2 hours or more. The longer you marinade it, the more flavorful the chicken becomes. When done marinading, Grill chicken until done. Cut chicken breasts into strips. Set aside.

Dressing:
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil (or oil of your choosing)
3 Tbsp. Lite Soy Sauce
1 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup White Vinegar
Mix all ingredients together and mix well. I usually put mine in a quart Mason jar, double the ingredients and shake it well, until all ingredients are blended. Set aside till ready to serve.

Salad:
Nappa Cabbage, Chopped
Onion, Sliced
Green, Red or Yellow Pepper, chopped
Chop Nappa Cabbage, Onions, Green, yellow or/and Red peppers in slices. Mix together in a big bowl.

Garnish:
Sesame Seeds, Toasted
Almond Slices (I buy the Almond Accents, Toffee Glazed) they are usually in the produce areas to mix in with your salads.)
Ramen Noodles – Broken into pieces and fried in a little butter til slightly browned. (Discard or save seasoning packet for another recipe)

Putting the salad together:
Place salad mixture on your plate, Add Sesame seeds, Almond slices and Ramen noodles to your plate, add Chicken strips and pour the dressing over the salad on your plate, and eat. Go back for seconds. It is good!! Very Good!! Dinner is fast, easy and really good. What more can you ask for?

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This is my absolutely Favorite way to roast a chicken. I found this on Epicurious. The Recipe by Thomas Keller from his book: Bouchon. It is so simple, so easy, and the juiciest chicken ever!!    So good we served it for Easter Dinner! We always do ours on the grill. This never disappoints.

I follow  the recipe as written, making NO changes. It doesn’t need any!

My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken

By Thomas Keller

Found on: Epicurious

1 2-3lb. Chicken

2 tsp. Minced Thyme (Optional)

Unsalted Butter

Dijon Mustard

Preparation: Preheat oven to 450 Degrees. (I do mine on the grill). Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then tress the bird.  Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, its a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now salt the chicken; I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin. (About 1 Tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a saute pan or roasting pan and, when the oven (or grill in this case) is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone. I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and the thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself.  I could never understand why my brothers would always fought over the triangular tip; until one day when I got the the crispy, juicy, fat myself. These are the cook’s reward. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each.  The preparation is not meant to be super elegant, Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side, and if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.

Serves 4.

Oven temp: 450 Degrees

I just can’t tell you enough how good this roast chicken is if you haven’t tried it!! Make it tonight, you will not be disappointed!

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  I hope you have a nice Easter and get to spend it with your family!

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I Moved!!

A big hello to everyone!  I recently moved my blog over from Blogspot to WordPress and I’m loving it!!  Word press seems to have a lot more perks that I really like.  I have decided to start over here. You will find a few posts here that was at my original blog, but I wanted to start pretty much new, but needed something to get me going.  I’ve also started a blog that is dedicated to Desserts only. Why? Because my passion is that sweet, delectable, sugar type stuff!  The address is:

http://delectabledesserts.wordpress.com

I will still be updating content regularly here, but the best of the best desserts will be at Delectable Desserts.  Welcome Everyone! Hope to see you all at both places.

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Mr. Fire’s (Mark) Favorite dish is pizza! Anyway, Anyday, and he NEVER gets tired of it!  Over on King Arthur’s Site, in the Baking Banter’s Blog, they have a recipe for Pizza Buns. These are a really neat way of making pizza, as you roll out the dough into a rectangle, sprinkle with cheese, coat with veggies and /or meat of your choice, and than roll it up and slice them like cinnamon rolls. I thought I would give it a try as I knew I couldn’t go wrong with the word “Pizza” in my answer to “What are we having for Dinner tonight”? These are absolutely Awesome!! You have to try them.

Pizza Buns:

I used my Favorite Pizza Crust (Recipe Below)

I chopped up the following: (Use what ever you like on your pizzas).
Ham
Onions
Pepperoni
Green Pepper
Mushrooms
Saute` them in a little olive oil till the juice of the vegetables/meat have evaporated and then stir in some
pizza sauce into the meat/veggie mixture just to moisten. (Not too much, you don’t want it soggy).
Next, I rolled my dough out into a 12X18 inch rectangle. I sprinkled with a combination of the following cheeses: Provolone, Mozzarella and Monteray Jack, pressing the cheeses down a little bit into the dough.
Than I spread some of the filliing over the top of the cheese.
Next, starting at the short side of the rectangle (12 inch) I rolled it into a log, tucking in the end pieces and cut them at 1 inch intravals like you would cinnamon rolls.  I set them on lightly sprayed (or silpat mats) cookie sheets, covered them with a towel and let them rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the buns for 15 minutes. Take the buns out of the oven, and spread pizza sauce over the top of them and put them back in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with your cheese and put them back in the oven for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Yield: 12 Pizza Rolls.
Head on over to King Arthur’s Blog for step by step directions and the orginial recipe as they did theirs a little different than I did mine.

Easy Peezy Pizza Dough (Bread Machine Pizza Dough)
adapted by:  Recipezaar
2 tsp. Dry, granulated Yeast
3 Cups Bread Flour
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder (I like it Garlicy!)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup of Water, Plus 2 Tbsp.

Fill Bread machine according to manufactures directions, (mine goes in just as listed.) set on dough cycle. At end of cycle, remove from bread machine and spread on a greased cookie sheet. Let rest for 15-20 minutes. I put 1 jar of pizza sauce on the pizza and bake at 450 Degrees for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and put toppings on. (Anything you like.)  This pizza in the above picture had, pepperoni, onions, red pepper, mushrooms, and ham. Put back in the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Next add your cheese,(I used Monteray Jack & and Colby.  I like both white and yellow cheese on my pizza, (but you can put what you want on your pizza) put back in the oven just long enough for cheese to melt. Remove from oven and coat the crust of the pizza with butter and more garlic powder if so desired. Let set about 5 minutes, and serve! Yummmm!!  This dough can be made by hand, and it works just as well.
Combine yeast, bread flour, salt, sugar, and garlic powder in a bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add the olive oil and the water and mix til it forms a ball. On a lightly floured board knead the dough until smooth, adjusting flour or water as need.  ( I grease my hands also, so the dough doesn’t stick). Grease a bowl and put the ball of dough in it, and turn it over and around in there till it’s all coated with the oil. Put a towel over it and let it set in a warm place with no draft for about 90 minutes. Spray or grease a cookie sheet and follow above directions. Enjoy.

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I Love Pork Chops.  My Grand kids like pork chops, the oldest one especially.  This is quick and easy and dinner was on the table in no time. This is very good. The potatoes are Dill fried Potatoes. Dinner was on the table in less than 30 minutes. I served a salad on the side to round out the meal. If you like pork chops, do give this a try.

Glazed Pork Chops
From: Cook’s Illustrated
Note:
If your chops are on the thinner side, check their internal temperature after the initial sear. If they are already at 140 degree mark remove them from the skillet and allow them to rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes, then add the platter juices and glaze ingredients to the skillet and proceed with step 3.  If your chops are closer to 1 inch thick, you may want to increase the simmering time in step 2.

Glaze:
1/2 Cup White Vinegar or Cider Vinegar (I used Cider Vinegar)
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Apple Cider or Apple Juice (I used Apple Cider)
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard (I Used Billy Bee’s Honey Mustard)
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Chops:
4 Center Cut Pork Chops 5 to 7 ounces each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

1.  Combine all glaze ingredients in a bowl; mix thoroughly and set aside.  Trim chops and slash through fat and silver skin with sharp knife making two cuts about 2 inches apart in each chop (do not cut into meat of chops). Pat chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
2.   Heat oil in a heavy bottomed 12 inch skillet over medium high heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer; transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in skillet.  (Check internal temperature of thinner chops; set note above.) Return chops to skillet, browned side up, and add glaze mixture; cook over medium heat until center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; transfer chops to a clean platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
3.  When chops have rested, add any accumulated juices to skillet and set over medium heat. Simmer, whisking constantly until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel (heatproof spatula should leave a wide trail when dragged through glaze), 2 to 6 minutes. Return chops to skillet; turn to coat on both sides with glaze. Transfer chops back to platter, browned side up, and spread remaining glaze over chops. Serve immediately.
These are really good this way.
Makes 4 Servings.

Fried Potatoes

3-4 Med. Potatoes, peeled,sliced & Rinsed
1 med. Onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
Garlic Powder, Seasoning Salt, Pepper, and Salad Supreme Seasoning (to taste)

Dried Dill, to taste

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and the butter. When the pan is hot and the butter and olive oil have melted, add the potatoes, season with the seasonings. Turn the burner down and cook on medium (I use 4 on my electric stove.) with a lid for 7 minutes. Turn potatoes over, add the onions on top (don’t stir) and cook for another 7 minutes. Flip potatoes over, put a lid on it, and cook for another 7 minutes. Test doneness with a fork, they should be done, if not cook a little longer, adjust seasonings and serve.

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