Thursday, July 29, 2010

Island Chicken

Here's another fabulous recipe from the talented Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe. This chicken is so delicious and is a wonderful change from the regular baked chicken seasoned only with seasoned salt and pepper. I love the lemon zing the lemon juice gives to the chicken, and the leftovers we had were great diced and used in chicken Caesar salad wraps. Yum! We will definitely revisit this recipe in the future!

Grilled Island Chicken

1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag. Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours (I would suggest marinading for at least 3 hours at the minimum).

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (depending on how thick the chicken breasts are), until the chicken is no longer pink in the center (if you have a meat thermometer, the chicken should register 165 degrees). Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for about five minutes before serving.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked using the following directions:
When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact baking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to save on produce: Bountiful Basket

Here's a tip that I've been wanting to share with you for awhile. Do you hate how much it costs to buy the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in grocery stores? Well, there's this wonderful, non-profit, produce co-op called Bountiful Basket, and I have been participating over the last several months. It costs about $16.50 for a conventional basket of produce (50% vegetables, 50% fruits) that would normally cost upwards around $50 if you were to buy it from the store. And the best thing is that it is the same produce that stores and restaurants are purchasing, so you know it is high quality. They also offer breads, crackers, specialty produce baskets, cases of seasonal fruit, and organic produce baskets (These extras cost more, and I've never bough them, but I've heard they are good). The downside is that you don't pick the fruits and vegetables, so you have to be willing to try new produce. I have found that they are pretty normal. The only "weird" things I've ever received were a coconut and swiss chard. But I love getting my new basket every 2 weeks- it's almost like Christmas! Unfortunately, Bountiful Baskets isn't established everywhere. So if you are interested, visit their website found here to see if there is a co-op near you and to find out more information.

***Bountiful Baskets has not contacted me to share this information. I am just a satisfied member of the contribution pool who wants to share a key way to save money while eating healthy!***

Produce photo found here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

PW (No Knead) Dinner Rolls

Do you have a hard time kneading your bread by hand because you don't have a fancy machine to do it for you? Then this recipe is for! The Pioneer Woman shared these on her blog a while ago, but I just got around to trying them out because I wanted to do something new. I am so glad that I gave this a whirl! They are more time consuming than the rolls I usually make because I just throw that recipe into the bread machine and forget about it until it's time to shape them, let them rise, and then bake. With this recipe, I had to babysit my dough a little more, but it isn't hard and it gives you great results! It's also a great recipe because you can make the dough 1-2 days ahead of when you want it, and it will store great in the refrigerator. Just remember to take the dough out of the fridge 1-2 hours before you need to shape them. And the only problem I had with this recipe was that my first dozen rolls were rather toasty when I checked them at 14 minutes. When I used the rest of the dough the next day, they were done at 12 minutes when I checked them. I did also find that I could have made about 2-1/2 dozen rolls with the dough I made, even though PW says it should make 2 dozen. All in all, this is a great recipe that yields fluffy rolls! (In fact, it took a lot of restraint to keep from eating them all!)

PW Dinner Rolls- No Kneading Required!

  • 4 cups Milk
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 9 cups Flour (I used bread flour)
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 Tsp.) Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt

Pour 4 cups of milk into a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add one cup of sugar and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Stir to combine. Now, turn the burner on medium to medium-low and “scald” the mixture/lukewarm (between 90 and 110 degrees).

Before the mixture boils, turn off the heat. NOW. Very important stuff here: walk away. Walk away and allow this mixture to cool to warm/lukewarm. The mixture will need to be warm enough to be a hospitable environment for the yeast, but not so hot that it kills the yeast and makes it inactive. I don’t usually use a thermometer, but if you’d like to, a good temperature is between 90 and 110 degrees. I usually feel the side of the pan with the palm of my hand. If it’s hot at all, I wait another 20 minutes or so. The pan should feel comfortably warm.

When the mixture is the right temperature add in 4 cups of flour and 2 packages of (4-1/2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast. After the yeast and flour are nicely incorporated, add another 4 cups of flour. Stir together and allow to sit, covered with a tea towel or lid, for an hour. After about an hour it should have almost doubled in size. If it hasn’t changed much, put it in a warm (but turned off ) oven for 45 minutes or so. When it had risen sufficiently add 1 more cup of flour, 1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder, 1 scant teaspoon of baking soda and about 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir (or knead just a bit) until combined.

Butter 1 or 2 muffin pans. Form the rolls by pinching off a walnut sized piece of dough and rolling it into a little ball. Repeat and tuck three balls of dough into each buttered muffin cup. Continue until pan is full. Cover and allow to rise for about 1 to 2 hours.

Bake in a 400-degree oven until golden brown, about 17 to 20 minutes (mine were done at 12 minutes).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Curried Apricot Glaze for Chicken or Chops

A recipe, AND A PICTURE! Impressed? So am I.

This was so easy. I actually decided about five minutes before I started that this is what we would have for dinner! (I'm usually a big planner when it comes to dinners, so this is a biggy.) I didn't have everything so I compromised. (My compromises will be in parentheses next to the real ingredients.)

1 can apricot nectar (2 T. fruit medley baby food and 1 T. or so of water)
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. curry powder (maybe a little more)
2 sliced fresh apricots
2 green onions (I didn't have any, but I think it would be even better with them!)

1. Mix first four ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk.

2. In pan, lightly sautee apricots and onions for about 2 min. Pour curry mixture into pan and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes--until slightly thickened.

We ate it over baked chicken and rice with creamed corn. (I wouldn't eat it with the corn again, but it was what we had that could be cooked up in three minutes.) The original recipe served it over pan-seared pork chops, which is pretty easy too. I just didn't have those on hand. This makes enough for two people.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli (aka Olive Garden Minestrone Soup)

Thanks for being patient with me the last couple of weeks. I am back in town now, but we are now getting ready to move out of state. I am trying to have some posts scheduled so that there will be something new to look at every couple of days, but if I disappear again, please know I will be back soon! I've just got to pack, move, and then unpack, etc. etc. Whenever I go to the Olive Garden, I almost always get the same thing- the soup and salad combo with minestrone soup. I love it! So when I was visiting my family last week, my mom suggested we make this recipe for dinner one night and I'm so glad we did! It tastes every bit like the wonderful soup at OG, but now I can make it at home for way cheaper than it is to buy a bowl and their salad. Mmmmmm! The day we chose to make this soup ended up being rather busy, so we followed the first 2 steps and then threw everything, except the pasta, into the crockpot and let it simmer while we were gone. Then about 20-30 minutes before we sat down for dinner, we stirred in the cooked pasta (so make sure you cook your pasta ahead of time if you want to cook it this way). We also had some fresh peas from the garden that we threw into the mix, and you could do that with any vegetables you have hanging around. It was so delicious and I can't wait to make this again!

Pasta e Fagioli (aka Olive Garden Minestrone Soup)
1 pound ground beef 1 small onion, diced (1 cup) 1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup) 3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup) 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes 1 15-ounce can red beans (with liquid) 1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid) 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce 1 12-ounce can V-8 juice 1 tablespoon white vinegar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta 1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat. 2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. 3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour. 4. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain. 5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Serves 8.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Time Away

I feel like I keep doing this to those of you who actually follow this blog, but I have been and will be busy with family, so I'm going to take another week or so off from blogging so I can focus on those that mean most to me. Thanks for understanding and for your patience!
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