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

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

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.

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.

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.

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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