Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve

I hope that you all have a safe and Happy New Year's Eve!!  See you next year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chili-Lime Chicken Quesadillas

When you walk through Williams-Sonoma, you can always find recipes cards for different types of food.  A couple months ago, I found one for chili-lime chicken quesadillas and salsa.  I picked a copy up and forgot about it for a while until I was cleaning my cookbook shelf last month.  I had some left-over chicken so I thought that I would give the recipe a try for lunch.  I really enjoy this and it is very simple to make.

I don't have a grill for my stove, so I made this in a 10 inch frying pan.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halvess
  • 4 Tbs. Chili-Lime Rub *
  • 6 flour tortillas,each about 9 inches
  • canola oil for brushing
  • 14 oz. cheddar cheese, preferably sharp
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Diced red onion for serving
  • Rub the chicken breasts on both sides with the chili-lim erub.  Place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely grill-marked and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.  transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into slices 1/4 inche thick.
  • Reduce the heat on the grill to 400 degrees.  Brush one side of each tortilla with oil.  Place the tortillas, oiled side down, on a work surface.  
  • Divide half of the cheese among the tortillas, sprinkling it onto half of each tortilla.  Arrange the chicken on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  • Fold the tortillas in half and enclose the filling.
  • Place quesadillas on the grill.  Cook, turning once, until the tortillas are lightly browned and crisp and the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a cutting board.  Repeat as needed until all of the quesadillas are cooked.
  • Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve immediately with salsa, sour cream and red onion alongside.
* Available at Williams-Sonoma stores.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

I love homemade macaroni and cheese especially in the winter.  I found this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and love to make it on a cold day.  There is hardly any leftovers when I make it.

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (7 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard (dry)
  • 1/4 teaspoonWorcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded or cubed sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook macaroni as directed on the package.
  • While macaroni is cooking, melt margarine in 3-quart saucepan over low heat.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly, remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir in cheese.  cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
  • Drain macaroni.  gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce.  Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole.  Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Virtual Advent Tour 2009 - Christmas Memories

Christmas has always been a very special time of year for me.  I have so many wonderful memories of this time of year from when I was growing up.  From the music that we would listen to starting the day after Thanksgiving to caroling to putting up the tree and platform to the large amount of baking that was done every year.

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, the only music in the house was Christmas carols.  My dad would pull out the old 78 records from when he was growing up and we would play them throughout the holiday season.  As we got older, my sister, brother and I would be allowed to change the records on the stereo.  Since these were old records, everyone took care in how they were handled.  My dad still has them and we still play them on the stereo during the Christmas season.  I grew up listening to the original recordings of Bing Crosby singing "Silent Night" and "White Christmas" and Gene Autry singing about "When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter". 

Saturday mornings during the Christmas season always began with the kids piling onto my parents bed and singing Christmas carols.  We'd go through all of the "oldies" that my parents taught us before we got up.  Sometimes, we'd sing something two or three times.  Everyone had their favorites. 

We'd listen to the carols while we helped our dad put the train platform up every year and while we decorated the Christmas tree.  Instead of having the TV on while we got the house ready for the season and any gatherings that we might be hosting that year, we'd listen to music and sing.  About halfway through December, there was a group of families in the neighborhood who would go Christmas caroling down by the pond where I grew up.  We would get a fire going and everyone would sing for an hour or so, then we would all head to someone's house to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies for the kids and wine and beer for the adults.  Sometimes, we would go caroling through the neighborhood instead of down at the pond but we always went.  If we went caroling through the neighborhood and collected any money, we would take it downtown the KDKA window and donate it to Children's Hospital.  Any donation to Children's got you a Farkleberry cookie.  How many Pittsburghers remember those?  For those who are wondering what a Farkleberry cookie is, here is a link to Albrecht's Pittsburgh Blog - Whatever Happened to the Farkleberry Cookie?

I mentioned trains earlier.  My dad has a number of old trains that he has been collecting for years.  Some of them are almost as old as he is but every one of them is in very good condition.  My dad always puts up a platform at Christmas under the Christmas tree.  Getting the platform wired for the track and the lights for the houses usually would take us a day to do.  Oh, what fun we had getting the platform ready.  The houses had to be brought out and put together.  All of the people, trees and other pieces needed to be checked and readied for the platform.  All of this was time consuming, but in the end, so worth it.

Sometimes, there was only one train out on one platform, under the Christmas tree in the family room.  There were several years where we had 2 platforms up, one under the tree and one that was about 4 feet off the floor and had 3 to 5 trains running on it.  This is the platform that would always take the most time to put together since the whole thing had to be laid out and each train had to be tested as we put it on the platform to make sure that all of the wires were properly connected.  While my dad, siblings and I would be putting up the platform(s) and the trees, Mom would be in the kitchen baking, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, peanut blossoms, and whatever else she decided to make that year.  The house always smelled wonderful on the weekends.  Sometimes, my mom would take us to our grandparents and my sister and I would help Gran bake cookies and make hard tack candy.

This year, my daughter "helped" me to bake cookies.  Really she just watched and asked if she could have a cookie when I took them off the cookie sheet to cool, although there were a couple of trays where she actually helped me to take them off and counted each cookie as it went onto the rack.  We listened to Christmas carols or watched "The Polar Express" while I baked.  I put our tree up Thanksgiving weekend and ever since, she asks at least once a day about when Santa Claus is coming and if there are any presents for her.  I can only hope that when she is older, she will have as many good memories of Christmas as I have.

Hard Tack Candy Recipe
  • 3 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting the candy
  • 1/2 teaspoon red or green food coloring (optional)
  • Flavor oil *
  • In a medium saucepan, stir the first three ingredients together. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved**, then bring the mixture to a boil.  Stop stirring and all the mixture to heat to 300 degrees. 
  • Remove the mixture from the stove and stir in the food coloring and a few drops of the flavor oil of your choice.  Pour the candy mixture onto a foiled and greased cookie sheet and lightly dust with the confectioners' sugar.  Allow the candy to cool completely before breaking it into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.
* While flavored extract works with this recipe, it is not very strong.  The flavored oils that can be purchased at the drug store produce the best flavor for hard tack candy and only require a few drops.

** One of the hardest things that I've found making hard tack candy is waiting for the sugar to reach the proper temperature. If you are patient and use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature of the mixture, you will get perfect candy every time.

Egg Nog French Toast

I got this simple french toast recipe from a sorority sister and love it! I think that I'm going to have to make this for Christmas morning while we open presents.

Happy Holidays!

  • 1/2 cup egg nog
  • 1 egg
  • some cinnamon
  • Mix egg nog, egg and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Soak bread slices in the egg nog mixture until saturated.
  • Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Brown slices on both sides and serve hot. 
Another option would be to only mix the egg nog and egg and then sprinkle with the cinnamon when serving.  

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Candy Cane Cookies

My husband loves these cookies!  If there is one cookie that he wants me to make at Christmas, it's these.  He had his mother give me the recipe so that I could make them when we first started dating.

  • 1 cup shortening (half butter or margarine)
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
Topping ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix shortening, sugar, egg and flavorings thoroughly.
  • Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting.  Mix flour and salt.  Stir into shortening mixture.  Divide dough in half.  Blend food coloring into one half.
  • Roll a 4" strip (using 1 teaspoon of dough) from each color.  For smooth, even strips, roll them back and forth on lightly floured board.  Place strips side by side, press lightly together and twist like rope.  For best results, complete cookies one at a time - if all the dough for one color is shaped first, strips become too dry to twist.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Curve top down to form handle of the candy cane.
  • Bake about 9 minutes, until lightly browned.  While still warm, remove from baking sheet with a spatula and sprinkle with topping mixture of candy and sugar.
  • Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spicy Glazed Pecans

I can't remember where I got this recipe from.  I found it in the pile of recipes for my family cookbook.  I decided to make this with the leftover pecans from my Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake.  These are addictive!

  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 cups pecans (about a 1-lb. bag)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Place nuts in a large bowl.
  • Coat with egg whites and stir until pecans are sticky.
  • Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pecans.
  • Stir until the pecans are completely coated.
  • Spread pecans on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  • During baking, stir/flip pecans occasionally (once every 10 minutes works well).
  • Cool and separate into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

Peanut Blossoms

These can be made with Hershey's Kisses or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (minis).  This year, I did half of them with Hershey's Kisses and half with the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Hershey's Kisses
  • Thoroughly cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg and vanilla together.
  • In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
  • Blend ths into the creamed mixture.
  • Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in granulated sugar.
  • Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 6 - 8 minutes.
  • Place chocolate kisses on and return to the oven for 2 - 4 minutes.
Makes 3 - 4 dozen.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fool Proof Pie Crust

My mom and aunt gave me this recipe for a pie crust for when I am baking the Winter Peach Pie recipe that they make every year.

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups Crisco
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Cut in the Crisco.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.  Refrigerate for 1/2 hour before using.
  5. Roll on a lightly floured board or between waxed paper.
  6. The crust is very short and will melt if placed in a pie plate and baked alone.  Best used when it is filled.
This pie crust mixture can be frozen and thawed for later use.

Winter Peach Pie

Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mom makes this pie.  Last Christmas, I made it.  It's super easy and delicious!

I use the Fool Proof Pie Crust for my pie shell.

  • 3 cans of drained canned peaches (cut into pieces or slices, reserve the juice for later)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon flour
  • 2 heaping tablespoons butter (can be eliminated)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup peach juice
  1. Fill a nine or ten inch pie shell with the 3 cans of drained peaches.
  2. Cream together the sugar, flour, butter and lemon juice.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix together.
  4. Pour the mixture over the peaches.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes at 475 degrees, then lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake for another 50 minutes.
  6. Top with whipped cream and serve.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookies

My mom gave me this recipe years ago for our family cookbook.  I had never made it before and since she has a ton of recipes, it's been a while since she's made these so I thought that I would give them a go.  The one that I tested was pretty good.  I think that I'm going to have to add these to the rotation.

Note: It's official.  These are being added to my rotation of Christmas cookies.  John had some last night and loved them!  Always a good thing.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 drops of red or green food coloring (optional)
  • 1 (10 oz.) package of mint-flavored semi-sweet chocolate
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar and vegetable oil.  Mix well.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.  If using food coloring, add now.  Gradually add in the flour mixture.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Shape into balls by rounded teaspoonfuls and roll in the remaining sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
Makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe online a couple of years ago and love it!

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

~ A quick note here.  At Christmas time, I use peppermint coffee (fine ground) instead of expresso powder.

  •  1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  •  1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant expresso coffee powder
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
  2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
  4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
 Yields 2 dozen cookies.

Christmas Baking

I love this time of year!  Today was the start of my Christmas baking.  I looked through my recipes and have been pulling out some old favorites as well as some new ones to try this year.  Some of these recipes are ones that I have gotten from family members over the years and others I've found or received from friends.

This year, I am planning on making the following recipes:
  • Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookies
  • Peanut Blossoms
  • Brownies (from a box so no recipe there)
  • Candy Cane Cookies
Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake Followup

This cheesecake was delicious! 

I will admit that I did have some problems with it.  Or should I say that I had problems with my oven?  This took 60 minutes to cook instead of 40, but it was still delicious.  I will be getting the Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin butter next year and making this again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

I got this recipe from my technique class at Williams-Sonoma last week and have to share it.  I'm not a big fan of pumpkin cheesecake, but this was fantastic! It is so good that my mom asked me to make it for Thanksgiving this year.

They made it using their Pecan Pumpkin Butter.  I've written out the recipe as I received it and included the alternate filling instructions at the end of this recipe.  Enjoy!!

Gingersnap Crust:
  • 1/4 lb. gingersnaps (about 20 small cookies)
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted


  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

Filling (original recipe):
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Here are the instructions for the original recipe that they gave us at class.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.

To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the gingersnaps and pecans and process until crumbly.  Add the brown sugar and melted butter and pulse for a few seconds to blend.  Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared pan.  Use your fingers to pat the mixture into the bottom and evenly all the way up the sides of the pan.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Using a rubber spatula, occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Gradually add the brown sugar mixture, beating until smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Using the spatula, scrape the batter into the chilled crust and smooth to top.

Bake the cheesecake until set or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 - 40 minutes.  transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the topping, set aside 10 pecan halves and coarsely chop the rest.  In a small fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  Add all of the pecans, sprinkle with the granulated sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and the nuts are toasted and caramel coated.  Transfer the nut mixture to a plate and let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.  Just before serving, sprinkle the chopped pecans over the cheesecake and arrange the halves evenly around the perimeter.  Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Thanksgiving Entertaining, by Lou Seibert Pappas (Simon & Schuster, 2005).

**Alternative Filling for Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 jar Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter (only available at Williams-Sonoma)
For the alternative filling recipe, in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar with the pecan pumpkin butter.  Follow the rest of the recipe as written above.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Baked Zucchini Sticks

Over the summer, I was trying to get my daughter to try new vegetables and introduced her to zucchini using this recipe.  I cannot remember where I found this recipe.  I would love to find the recipe that is used at Tambellini's Restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh.  Their baked zucchini strips are awesome!

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into sticks or strips
  • 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
Heat the over to 350.

Mix the bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl or ziplock bag.  Dip zucchini first into flour and then into the beaten eggs.  Roll the zucchini in the bread crumbs until well covered.  Place on a non-stick baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes until the zucchini is tender and the coating is crisp.

Serve with marinara sauce.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Italian Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Tartlets

My sister-in-law always has the best hors d'oeuvres at her Christmas parties and there are hardly ever any leftovers.  I used this recipe that she had for a party that we had and we didn't have any leftovers.

Italian Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Tartlets

Yield: 12 tartlets

  • 1 sheet of frozen puffed pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm with good results)
  • 1 large or 2 small Italian Sweet Sausage  (I bought bulk sausage at the market district instead)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan or to taste, plus extra for topping
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, softened and minced
  • 12 pieces of jack or mozzarella cheese cut to fit the tops of the tartlets

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Cut the pastry into 2 1/2 inch circles using wineglass or biscuit cutter.  Press each circle into mini muffin tin.
3.  Prick the sausages with a fork, wrap in a paper towel, place on a plate and microwave for 2 minutes on high.  Or heat in a 350F oven for 20 minutes.  Slice the sausage in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. (If you do it this way you still have the casing on each slice.  I didn't like that, so that's why I crumbled bulk sausage onto each tartlet instead.)
4.Combine the ricotta cheese with the parmesan and tomatoes.  Place some in each pastry cup, top with a little more parmesan, sausage and top with the jack cheese.
5. Bake until hot and the cheese is melted, about 8 minutes.

Can assemble up to 1 day in advance and refrigerate.  (They don't freeze well - they get soggy.)

Other Notes:
To make 48 only need to triple ( not 4X) the filling.  48 takes 2 boxes of puff pastry and an 8 ounce log of monteray jack cheese and 1 lb bulk sausage. 

Corn Dip

My cousin gave me this recipe and I love it!  It is definitely not something that you can eat all the time, but is great!

Corn Dip

Ingredients:2 cans Mexican Corn - drained (I have used regular corn and frozen corn)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican or 4 cheese)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix together and bake in a shallow baking dish @ 350 for 1/2 hour uncovered.   Serve with chips or crackers

If it seems to runny - just sprinkle with more parm. cheese.

Seasoned Pretzels

I got this recipe from a former co-worker.  Every time she made these and brought them in, the container was emptied in a very short period of time.

  • 1 package dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix.
  • 1 cup oil.
  • 1 box of hard pretzels.
Mix both ingredients. Dip pretzels. Place dipped pretzels on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350.


I picked up this easy hors d'oeuvre recipe at this weekend's class.   There are a couple of variations for this.  I'm going to write the directions for the ones that we had in class and then include the variations at the end.


  • Soft tortillas
  • Thin sliced roast beef
  • mayonnaise
  • Wich'craft Balsamic Onion Marmalade (Williams-Sonoma product)

Place the tortillas on a baking sheet.  Place a thin layer of roast beef on the tortilla.  Warm the tortillas.  Once they are warm, add a very thin layer of mayonnaise and a thin layer of the balsamic onion marmalade.  Roll the tortilla and then cut the tortilla into thin slices.  Serve these on a nice serving platter or plate.

  • Roast Beef and Cheddar cheese
  • Turkey and Swiss cheese
  • Ham and Swiss

  • If you make pinwheels and are going to serve them warm, make sure that you serve them on a warming plate so that the cheese does not get rubbery.
  • Spicy mustard can be substituted for the mayonnaise or the cheese in any of the variations listed here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Buffalo sauce for chicken

As I said in an earlier post, I am trying to find the perfect buffalo sauce for our buffalo chicken.  Here is my recipe for the sauce that I make. 

Be forwarned, aside from the butter that is in this recipe, there are no exact measurements!

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1 T. butter
  • Hot sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Ground pepper (can be black or white, or a mixture of both)
  • Salt
  • Ground mustard
  • Wasabi, (dry)
  • Cumin
Place the butter in a small sauce pan.  Cover the bottom of the sauce pan with the hot sauce.  There should not be a ton of hot sauce in the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.  Add a splash of vinegar (about 1 tsp.) and the rest of the ingredients to the pan.  Cook on low until the butter is melted and everything is mixed together.  Serve over baked or broiled chicken breasts.

There is enough here for 2 people.

Dijon Chicken

My sorority sisters are the best!  I made this recipe that I found in our Surfing Sisters cookbook, Turtle Soup 2, on Tuesday and John, who I didn't think would be that thrilled about it, loved it!  The sauce reminds him of the mustard sauce that his mother makes whenever she cooks ham for dinner.

Dijon Chicken (p.118 for those of you who have Turtle Soup 2)

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 cup light cream (I used coffee cream)
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced or crushed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Remove from the pan and place in a bowl.  Add the cream and Dijon mustard, mix well.  Brown the chicken breasts in the pan, season with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in a casserole dish and cover with the sauce.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serve over linguini.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fizzy Lemonade

Here's a fun twist on a classic.  Over the summer during one of the technique classes at Williams-Sonoma, they made lemonade for us, but this lemonade had a twist.  They used carbonated water instead of regular tap water. I've been making a lot of lemonade and limeade since I am not drinking caffiene while we are trying to have Baby #2.

If you make the Minute Maid Lemonade that is found in the freezer section of the grocery store, a large bottle of seltzer water and a bottle of water equals the 4 1/3 cups of water needed to make the lemonade.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baking a flaky pie crust

In an effort to learn more about cooking and to get some ideas for meals, I have been taking the technique classes that Williams-Sonoma offers.  I am going to try to post some of the hints that I pick up at these classes here.

Today's class was on Fall Baking and one of the things that they talked about was how to make the perfect flaky pie crust.  Here are some of the tips that they passed along.
  • Make sure that all of your ingredients are ice cold, i.e., the butter, the water (add ice cubes to the waters).
  • Cube the butter into small pieces and put them into a stainless steel measuring cup and put it back into the refrigerator to make it ice cold.
  • Keep the water in a stainless steel bowl until you add it to the mixture.
  • Once the dough is mixed, shape it into a disc, wrap the disc in plastic and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • Avoid handling the dough too much.  This will toughen the dough and will not make for a flaky crust.
  • If you have one, use a marble cutting board or counter top to roll the dough.  This will help keep the dough cold.
  • When you are rolling the dough out, try to keep it in the shape of a circle.  
  • Don't be afraid to cut the edge of the dough to help to get a circular shape.

Opening my kitchen

Well, after thinking about this, I've decided to start blogging about what I am doing in the kitchen.  Not that I do any fancy cooking, but I do like to try new things and am always looking for ways to improve existing recipes. Hopefully, by blogging about what I am doing, I'll get some ideas.

First though, I have to say that while I am married, if it is a meat or chicken dish that I am cooking, I am generally cooking for one at this time.  My husband decided to go vegetarian almost 3 years ago for a number of reasons.  So when I cook, I end up cooking two meals, one for him and one for me.  Although he will make exceptions every now and then and will eat meat or chicken.  If I make homemade buffalo sauce, I can guarantee that he will eat my buffalo chicken that night.  So I am constantly looking to improve my buffalo sauce recipe.  I'll have to post it later.  I don't have any measurements for it.  I came up with it on my own.  Right now, I am trying to figure out how I can modify the recipe so that it is a honey bbq sauce instead of a regular buffalo sauce.