Wednesday, February 29, 2012
2 Large Chicken Breast, cut in half lengthwise
8 Strips of Bacon
1/4 cup Low-fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Low-fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Large Fresh Jalapeno Peppers
Since my wife isn't a pepper person, I only used one jalapeno, and left her's "Virgin". Also, I de-seeded the jalapeno before using it. If you like more heat, you can leave the seeds. Without the seeds, it's relatively mild, but you still get that yummy jalapeno flavor. Another note, I normally use the thin sliced bacon, but accidentally bought the Thick sliced last time I was at the store. The thinner bacon cooks faster, and crisps up better for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, and place them cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. You can spray the foil with cooking spray first if you wish, but the bacon will stop your breasts from sticking.
Next, wrap two pieces of bacon around each breast, lengthwise, and tuck the ends under the breast.
Because I was using the Thick bacon instead of the regular bacon, I flipped the oven to Broil at 400 degrees for 5 minutes the get the bacon started crisping.
While the chicken is in the oven, combine the two types of cheeses.
Remove the chicken again, and top each with the cheese mixture. Return to the oven for about 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Voila! The Chicken is ready to enjoy!
Next is the side dish, which I actually cooked at the same time as the chicken above, but placed it in the oven 20 minutes BEFORE I put in the chicken. This dish is just Oven Roasted Vegetables with Herbs.
4-5 Small Yukon Gold Potatoes
4-5 Large Carrots
1 Medium Onion
5 Cloves of Garlic
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
The amounts of each vegetable can be adjusted to your personal taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Wash & dry the Potatoes & Carrots, and cut into 1"-2" pieces. Then throw them into a 9"x13" oven safe casserole dish.
Peel and cut Onion into 1"-2" pieces, and add to the casserole dish.
Peel Garlic cloves and toss into casserole dish.
Sprinkle Olive Oil over veggies and stir to coat.
Sprinkle Oregano and Rosemary over veggies and stir to mix.
Pop casserole dish into the oven for 45-60 minutes depending on how tender you want them.
Take them out and enjoy!
As with any recipe, feel free to experiment with the ingredients. If you aren't a fan of rosemary, but love the taste of sage, swap it out. Love potatoes, but not carrots? Reduce or remove the carrots from the ingredients, and use extra potatoes. To me, cooking is more than just following a recipe, that's why until recently, I rarely wrote any of my recipes down. I guess I cook with my heart, and not my brain. Good thing.
I hope this recipe sounds good to you, and that you make it, or make it your own. Be sure to come back soon, and check out my latest experiment, and tell your food lovin' friends to stop by too! I'm always glad to have the company.
Until next time, Happy Baking!
Monday, February 27, 2012
On today's menu were three delicious food items. The main course was a Honey Parmesan Pork Roast, slow cooked for seven hours in the Crock Pot. The side dish was a decidedly Decadent Baked Macaroni & Cheese. And desert was an Orange, Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake done in the bread maker. So let's get the recipes rolling!
Honey Parmesan Pork Roast
1 Pork Roast (about 4lbs)
2 tsp Cavenders Greek Seasoning (I haven't tried any other brand, but I know this one ROCKS pork! And NO, I don't own stock in the company.)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Honey
3 Tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
2 Tbsp Dried Basil
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
The night before, coat the pork roast liberally with the Cavendars.
About seven & a half hours before you want to serve, spray your crock pot with a non stick spray to help with cleanup.
Put in the pork roast.
Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl (This could also have been done the night before), and pour them gently on top of your roast.
Cover, set on LOW, and let it cook for seven hours.
Next, play with your grand-kids, or go about your busy day until the pork has been cooking for seven hours.
Then, CAREFULLY remove the pork roast from the crock pot to a serving platter. I say carefully because after cooking this long, the meat tends to try to fall apart. (You should see my Baby Back Ribs! Yum! But that's for another day.)
If there is a layer of grease on top of the drippings, you can skim that off. Then stir the drippings, and if needed, add a little cornstarch or flour to thicken it up a bit.
Let the roast sit on the serving platter about 30 minutes before slicing it up. (It will fall apart now.)
Spoon drippings over the roast, and it's ready to serve!
Decadent Baked Macaroni & Cheese
4 oz Elbow Macaroni
4 Strips of Bacon
1/2 Medium Onion Chopped (optional) (although I can't understand why some people don't eat cooked onions.)
4 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 1/2 cup Half & Half
Salt & Pepper to taste (My wife is allergic to pepper, so I don't cook with it, and I don't need the salt in my diet, so I rarely use it in cooking.)
8 Club Crackers
4 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese (for topping)
Cook macaroni about 75% of the package directions (It will continue cooking in the oven.), and drain.
While that's boiling, cook bacon until crispy, and set aside.
If you're using the onion, cook it in the bacon grease until it's clear, and set aside with the bacon.
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Combine the next 4 ingredients (and salt & pepper) in a sauce pan, and heat on medium low, stirring occasionally until fully blended. Add bacon & onion.
Pour macaroni into an 8x8 Oven Safe dish.
Pour cheese sauce over macaroni. Stir to coat. And place it in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes.
While that's in the oven, crush the Club Crackers & combine with the remaining 4 ounces of Shredded Cheddar Cheese.
Once the macaroni has been baking for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and pour the cracker & cheese mixture evenly over the top, and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Did I say that this was a DIET DISH? OK, just making sure. I wouldn't want to lie to you and tell you that it was.
Now, on to desert...
Orange, Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
To be honest with you, this didn't come out as Orangey (is that a word?) as I hoped for. So I'll tell you what I DID, but I'll also make some suggestions along the way.
2 Tbsp Butter (softened)
1/2 cup Honey
3/4 cup Fresh Squeeze Orange Juice
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Yeast
1/4 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
What I DIDN'T use, but should have, is some Orange Extract or a Tablespoon or two of Grated Orange Zest. That would have given it more orange flavor.
Add ingredients in the order listed (or as suggested by YOUR bread machine instructions), EXCEPT for the Chocolate Chips, into your bread machine.
Set your machine for a 1 1/2 lb regular loaf with LIGHT crust.
When your machine signals you to add fruit, nuts or other ingredients, ADD the Chocolate Chips.
That's it. It cooks in about 3 hours. Be sure to time this to be ready before the rest of your meal is done, so it will have ample time to cool off before you cut into it.
That's all for this addition, so until next time.... Happy Baking!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The main course was Crispy Cheddar Chicken from Jamie's blog site "Jamie Cooks It Up!". This is a wonderful recipe, and very easy to make. It didn't require as much cheese or Ritz as was called for, and I think next time I make it, I'll combine the cheese & Ritz before rolling the chicken in it. Everyone here loved it, and it was a real favorite of my granddaughter and my wife.
The second dish I made tonight was The Best Broccoli of Your Life recipe posted by Adam Roberts on the Amateur Gourmet web site. And like the site states, it's the best broccoli of your life! My daughter, who isn't a fan of any vegetables "loved it!". My three year old granddaughter even liked it! It was truly a delicious dish, not too difficult to prepare, and one I WILL be making again!
The third dish I made was roasted rosemary potatoes. This didn't come from anyone else's recipe, except that a similar recipe has been around for years. This came from me not being satisfied with the results I've had trying to do this in the oven ONLY. So here's what I did:
I started with four medium to small russet potatoes, washed and peeled them, then cut them up into "french fry" size strips. I then piled these onto a microwave safe plate, and covered them with a plastic splatter guard. I microwaved them for 8 minutes on HIGH to pre-cook them before I finished them in the oven. I let them cool down, and put them into a bowl, where I added about 2 Tbl. of evoo, and about 2 tsp. dried rosemary. Mix to coat well, and spread out onto a foil lined baking sheet. Pre-cooking them in the microwave allowed me to cook them at the same time as I cooked the Crispy Cheddar Chicken above. I also cooked the Broccoli the same temperature as the chicken, but removed them after about 25 minutes.
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Until next time, Happy Baking!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Light Whole Wheat Bread
Add all ingredients to Bread Pan in the order given.
Makes a 1-1/2 lb. Loaf Makes a 2 lb. Loaf
1-1/4 cup warm water 1-1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbl. Vegetable oil 1 Tbl. Vegetable oil
2 Tbl. Honey 3 Tbl. Honey
1/2 tsp. Salt 1/2 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour 2-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour 1-1/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup gluten 1/3 cup gluten
1-1/2 tsp. Active dry yeast 2 tsp. Active dry yeast
I used the recipe for the 2 lb loaf, exchanging the Tablespoon of Vegetable oil for a Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mostly because my oil choices on hand were evoo, peanut, sunflower and sesame. I put everything into the bread maker in the order it's listed above. Look at the directions for your bread maker, as they may suggest adding ingredients in a different order than mine does. I used the bread maker's Whole Wheat setting for a 2 lb loaf, and used the "Light" crust setting per mom's suggestion.
My Impression of the finished bread:
This came out great! It rose higher than I expected, you can almost cut one slice in half and make two slices out of it. The texture was about the same as a good quality store bought whole wheat loaf, but way cheaper. This one will be one I make on a regular basis to replace what we would usually buy at the grocery store.
I really like the “Everything” Bagels, and want to either find or create a bread recipe that has the same flavor combination. My wife is wanting some type of Cheesy Bread. Guess those will be coming up soon. If you know of a good recipe for these or any other breads you think I might want to try, please let me know.
As you can see from the photo of the ingredients, I like shopping at HEB. As far as I know, they are only located in Texas. Too bad for the rest of the world. They have great selection and prices. The one I shop at has a bulk food section where you can by as much or as little of all sorts of items, including the gluten I used in this recipe, and the rolled oats I used in yesterday's recipe.
Until next time, Happy Baking! And be sure to tell all your friends about my blog!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
My mother was recently downsizing her belongings, and gave me her Kenmore Bread Machine. Today, I'm posting about my first try at using the bread machine.
I had a couple of bananas which were turning a little too brown for my wife to eat, so I put them in the freezer to use in making smoothies. But, since I now had a bread machine, I decided to try making some Banana Bread. As you'll see, I'm not really one to "follow the recipe" when cooking. I almost always add, remove or change something. I like to experiment and make each recipe a little more personal.
My apologies for not taking a photo of all the ingredients I used to make this first bread, and also for not taking photos of the finished product until my wife & I had already eaten several slices. Being a photographer, you'd think I would have been more on top of that. Hopefully I'll get a better memory in the future.
I made a modified version of the Banana Bread Recipe from:
1 package yeast
I put all wet ingredients in the cooking pan except the water.
Then added all dry ingredients with the yeast being added last.
Then added the warm water on top of the yeast.
I let this stand for 5 minutes before turning on the bread maker.
I used the standard setting for fruit and nut breads with the crust brownness set to medium.
Total precessing/cooking time was 3hrs 35mins.
My Impression of the resulting bread:
The bread came out spongy, but a bit dry to my taste. The crust also seemed a bit too crusty to me. It also didn't have a very strong banana flavor.
I talked to my mom about this, and she said she always set her crust brownness to light, because to her, even the medium setting always made it too firm. So, I'll be taking mom's advice, and use the "light" crust setting from now on.
And perhaps, using another banana would give it more banana flavor, but then again, I'm not sure what that would do to the consistency of the finished loaf.
Happy Baking, and I'd love to have some feedback, at least to know if anyone is reading my blog. Until tomorrow,