Sunday, February 19, 2012

You Should Totally Be Impressed By My Frequent Updates!

Each week, a member of my Sunday School class brings breakfast for the group. This past Sunday was my Sunday. (Actually, it wasn't, but that's a story for another time...) I made Donut Muffins and my Grandma's utilitarianly entitled "Egg Dish."

Donut Muffins
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a mini muffin pan generously with cooking spray.

Mix sugar, melted butter, nutmeg and milk together until blended. Stir in baking powder and flour. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon of batter into each space in the mini muffin tin. Bake for 10 minutes, or until centers are cooked and tops are lightly browned. Allow to cool while melting remaining 1 cup of butter and mixing the remaining 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoons cinnamon together.

Remove muffins from tins. Individually, dip into melted butter, and then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Set on a piece of foil or waxed paper to cool.

The recipe makes about 48 Donut Muffins. I have 4 mini muffin pans, so I used two at a time. If you only have one, as I imagine most normal people do, after removing the first batch of muffins, respray with cooking spray and repeat the process with the remaining batter.

Other people found these more delicious than I did. I thought they were good, but I am never going to crave them like I do some other breakfast pastries. I would recommend trying them, though, and judging for yourself.

I also made my grandma's Egg Dish. I know this picture isn't beautiful, but it was all that was left of said egg dish by the time I got it home and remembered to take a picture. It is sitting in the pan I prepared/baked/ served it in. I don't want you to think my dishes are just super nasty or something.

Grandma's Egg Dish
1 pound of meat, cooked (bacon or sausage)
1 1/2 cup prepared croutons
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
2 cups milk (2% or higher fat content)
1 teaspoon prepared yellow or Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir in mustard, salt, and pepper. Butter an 8x8 or 11x7 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the croutons on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Gently pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle cooked meat over egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove casserole from refrigerator. Place casserole in a cold oven. (This step is NECESSARY if you used a glass dish. If you put a cold dish in a hot oven, it will shatter.) Set oven to 350 F, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is set and the top is browned. Serve.

Grandma has been serving egg dish at ever holiday meal since I can remember. It is not fancy, but it is delicious, and I experienced great nostalgia when I walked into the kitchen and realized it smelled like grandma's house.

This week's baking experience comes to us from my friend/ coworker Jen. She recommended this recipe. It didn't have a name, so I am going to call them Monster Cookies.

Monster Cookies
1 recipe chocolate chip cookies (or you can use a tube of the premade store bought kind)
1 package Oreo Cookies
1 (13 x 9 inch sized) brownie mix, made per the package directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Press cookie dough into the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Place a layer of whole Oreos over the cookie dough. (It will use about 1/2 of the package, give or take.) Gently pour brownie batter over Oreo cookies. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove aluminum foil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes (until middle is no longer jiggly.) Allow to cool before slicing.

I didn't try them, because they aren't on my diet, but they got rave reviews among my coworkers.

Brad was sick last week and wanted the Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup. He loves that stuff. I made it for him. I am a giver. That's what I am. We were scheduled to have pot roast on Sunday, but refer to the aforementioned Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup incident of 2012.

On Monday, we had pot roast. It was good. It is always good. My recipe is fool proof. I didn't take a photo, though, because pot roast, while delicious and comforting, isn't really aesthetically attractive.

On Tuesday, I made Baked Chicken Terriyaki and Terriyaki Vegetables. It was DELICIOUS, of which I am glad, as I ate it for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Baked Chicken Terriyaki

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place in baking dish.

In a small saucepan, mix honey, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. In a small bowl, mix together cold water and corn starch. Pour in a steady stream into saucepan, stirring constantly. Once mixture thickens, remove from heat.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of terriyaki sauce over each piece of chicken. Place in oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove chicken from oven, turn over, spoon additional terriyaki sauce over bottom of chicken breasts, and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. A few moments before the chicken is finished, reheat the terriyaki sauce. Use it as a dipping sauce, or pour additional sauce over chicken when serving.

I served it over rice. The first night, I made a pot of white rice. That was enough for dinner and lunch for Brad and me the next day. I bought one of those pouches of 90 second rice at Aldi (though I've also seen them at Kroger) and used that for the following two days lunches. It was good. I would highly recommend it.

With the chicken, I also served Terriyaki vegetables.

Terriyaki Vegetables

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or peanut oil if you have it)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons terriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for about 1 minute. Add terriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Cook until zucchini are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in ground black pepper, and serve.

This was also good. I used the homemade Terriyaki sauce from the chicken, but you could use the bottled kind just as easily.

Wednesday, we had Fillet Mignon from Maninos, grilled vegetables, grilled asparagus, and baked butternut squash. It was delightful!

Thursday, my baby brother turned 30. We went to Emperor's Palace in the valley. Per usual, it was delicious.

Friday, I had a work commitment, so Brad made frozen pizza.

Because he is a kind, loving, and generous spouse, Brad gives me everything he has, including last week's cold. I was not about to cook last night, so we had KFC. There is still hope for tonight's dinner, though. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I. Hate. Legumes.

So, on this diet, I am supposed to eat three servings of legumes a day, which include any type of bean, lentils, hummus, and green peas. I enjoy hummus, but I don't enjoy 3/4 cup a day of it every day. I enjoy green peas, but I don't enjoy 3/4 cup a day of it every day, or even every other day, if I alternated between hummus and green peas. I liked baked beans (Legumes + lots and lots and lots of brown sugar). I like refried beans (Legumes + lots of lard, and usually cheese). I pick the beans out of chili and other soups, so I knew I wasn't going to suddenly discover a bean I enjoyed. What's left? Lentils. I tried them. I tried the green ones. I tried the pink ones. I tried them in salad. I tried them in soup. I tried them in stuff and on stuff. I tried them hidden in stuff and to the side of stuff. I don't like them. I. Don't. Like. Legumes. So, I have decided to give up on them. I incorporate peas when I can, and I nosh on some hummus and celery now and again, but for the most part, I have pledged to be legume free.

This is the dinner where I gave up on the legumes for good. I am not even going to include the legumes in my recipes, because I don't like legumes.

Thyme Mustard Roasted Pork (modified from my Food Network Magazine)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

6 sprigs thyme, leaves only

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)

2 slices bacon, chopped

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1 stalk celery, diced

1/2 cup dry red wine

Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix the mustard and thyme leaves in a small bowl. Brush all of the mixture on the pork. Place the pork on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part is 145F. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, combine the bacon, shallots, and celery in a skillet and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the shallots are golden, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Spoon the bacon mixture over the sliced pork.

We had frozen green beans with this. (And lentils. Yuck!)

This is sirloin tip, sliced very thinly, marinated in Beef Fajita Marinade (recipe listed to the left), served on corn tortillas with sauteed onions and peppers, and slices of avocado. Brad put cheese and sour cream on his, as well, which I totally would have done, but it isn't on my diet.

On the side, I made Spanish rice.

Spanish Rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup uncooked rice

1 onion, chopped

2 cups of water

1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (such as Rotel)

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a saucepan until hot. Add rice and onion and saute until the rice is browned and the onion is tender. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.

There is a meat market on my way to work called Manino's, and they have fillet Mignon for $5.49 each. Brad has become an expert at grilling them. That night we also had grilled vegetables. I marinate zucchini, mushrooms and onions in Italian salad dressing for a few hours, and then cook them on the grill using the grill pan. They are super easy and always delicious.

Brad wanted homemade potato chips, and my attempt was so successful, we've had them twice since this night. I scrubbed 3 small russet potatoes, and then sliced them using the thinnest blade on my mandolin. I lined two cookie sheets with foil, and then sprayed them with olive oil. I actually have a doodad that you pour olive oil into, and then pump it full of air and it mists out. I used that, but you could also brush it on or drizzle some on, and then use your hand or a paper towel or a spoon to spread it. Then, I place the potato bits in a single layer on the oiled foil, and generously spray the tops of them with olive oil. Then, I generously salt (probably a teaspoon for each tray of chips) and bake in a preheated 450F oven until they are brown and crispy. The only problem I've had is I have to peel them off of the foil. They come right off when peeled, but they don't come up with a spatula. I think if I used more oil it might help that process, but then, well, I'd be using more oil.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Marriage Reteat Food

Our Sunday School class had a marriage retreat last weekend, and I made coffee cake, chicken salad, and chocolate chip cookies.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in margarine or butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbles. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. To the remaining mixture, add baking soda, baking powder, salt, sour cream, 1 egg, and almond extract. Blend well. The batter will be very thick. Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up sides of springform pan.

In the same bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 egg. Blend well, and pour over batter in the pan. Carefully drop spoonfuls of preserves evenly onto the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle the reserved crumbles evenly on top of the coffee cake. Sprinkle almonds evenly over crumbles. Bake for 45 -55 minutes, or until cream cheese filling is set, and the top is a deep golden brown. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

My mom and I have been making this recipe for years. You can use any flavor of preserves you want, or none at all. You can also leave off the almonds if that is your druther. It is good stuff.

Chicken Salad
1 celery stalk, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 small container plain Greek yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup mayonnaise

Cook and dice chicken. I use the skin-on, bone-in kind, because during the winter, I can usually find it for 99 cents a pound, and well, that's cheap. I think the packages I buy are between 1 -2 pounds. I boil the chicken in a stock pot, and then save the broth for something later. Deskin and debone the chicken before chopping.

Mix in chopped apple, green onion and pecans. Mix the curry powder and pepper in with the yogurt, and then toss the yogurt mixture into the chicken mixture. Add mayonnaise until it is the amount of creamy you want. I just like mine creamy enough to stick together, so I use a scant 1/2 cup, but if you want it CREAMY, I would recommend closer to a full cup. You could also use more Greek yogurt and less mayo, but that does change the taste a bit.

The recipe for my chocolate chip cookies is already catalogued to the left, but I had taken a picture, so I included it. Brad loves big cookies, so I use the ice cream scoop to make them. They end up baking for 12-15 minutes.