Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Fun

Going to the library is a must for us during the summer. The kids enjoying finding new stories to read, as well as old favorites. I like to find craft books to generate some creative play. This time around we found a book on making masks. Robots, butterflies, lady bugs, bears, witches, apple trees....there are dozens to choose from. The kids chose robots and butterflies. The robots are easier of the two, the butterfly is some what time consuming. W didn't have some of the exact supplies it called for, but we made up for it, i.e. bendy straws for antennas :)
I think they had fun!
To make the fun continue, I made the kids' current favorite....chocolate waffle cookies! This is a terrific summer treat, because you do not have to heat up the house! The waffle iron serves to be a handy tool and you can make a batch in under 20 minutes!
1 stick of butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 blocks unsweetened chocolate baking squares
1 cup flour

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Melt the baking squares in the microwave mix gradually into the batter. Add flour and mix well. Place batter by the teaspoonfuls on ungreased pre-heated waffle iron. Cook for 1 minute and remove. After they have cooled, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Yum!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

More chicken, more ideas

I have been on a kick lately and Cal is loving it! Apparently chicken is the inspiration of late....
I call this Pepper Chicken for now, but Cal says it needs a different name. The onion really brought out the flavor of the sauce. It was one of those dishes that you couldn't get enough of! The pepper was not overwhelming, but just enough to compliment the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Steamed rice was the perfect companion. YUM!



Friday, June 25, 2010

Creative Kitchen

Wednesday I felt creative and decided to create my own recipe for the chicken I had to prepare for dinner. I made a rub and mixed in some extra virgin olive oil and let the chicken marinade for a while. I sauteed onion and garlic until just tender, added some other ingredients and then the chicken. The results were tremendous and I will continue to tweak the recipe. Cal asked me several times, "Did you write it down?" Guess he liked it! I served the chicken with roasted garlic couscous. We had several tomatoes that came from Grace's garden, as well as our neighbor, so I decided to use them in a salad. I made a tomato-cucumber salad with fresh mozzarella....yum!

FRESH TOMATO AND CUCUMBER SALAD
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
10 fresh basil leaves
5 fresh oregano leaves
3 small fresh cucumbers (pickling or thin slicing)
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, vine ripened
Mince garlic or press through a garlic press. Let garlic stand in balsamic and wine vinegars for 10 minutes (this takes the "edge" off). Discard any garlic which has green sprouts in the center, as the flavor is too sharp and bitter for this salad - use for another purpose.
Wash basil and oregano leaves (pick at noon time on a sunny day for best flavor). Roll up leaves and slice into little strips (chiffonade). Chop and add to your best olive oil and allow to stand in oil while garlic marinates.
Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients. Wash cucumbers and tomatoes. Peel cucumbers, leaving a scant amount of peel (helps with digestion). Slice cucumbers into 1/4 inch coins (circles).
With a sharp knife, remove stem and blossom end from tomatoes (a very small amount). Slice tomatoes into wedges, being careful not to crush and lose juice.
Place tomatoes and cucumbers in salad bowl and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.
Combine olive oil with vinegars, whisking together well. Use to dress tomatoes and cucumbers; serve at room temperature.
Variations: Add 1 thinly sliced red onion, pitted oil cured black olives and fresh mozzarella, sliced (or use the small bocconcini).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chicken Carbona Night

Tonight I tried a new recipe, Chicken Carbona, and it was fantastic! Fantastic isn't descriptive enough...it was food heaven! You can't go wrong with bacon, chicken, heavy cream and cheese......

Chicken Carbona
2 packages Uncle Bens Garlic & Butter Rice
10 oz. bacon 1 inch sliced
1 lb. chicken breast boneless, skinless, sliced
1 tsp. garlic minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen petite peas thawed, drained
2 oz. Parmesan cheese shaved
3 green onions thinly sliced

PREPARATION
1. Cook rice to package directions.
2. Cook bacon until crisp; drain off all but 2 tbsp. of drippings. Season chicken with salt and pepper as desired. Add chicken, saute until seared on all sides.
3. Add garlic and cream; simmer until it begins to thicken. Add peas, continue to cook until peas are heated through. Stir in enough cheese to thicken to sauce consistency.
4. Serve over rice; garnish with onion; top with cheese, if desired.

Next time I will skip the rice and serve it over angel hair pasta. I will add more cream and cheese to accommodate this....YUM!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Planting and Cooking

Grace is very proud of her tomato! She planted tomatoes and squash this year. This is the first one ready for harvest! We chopped it up and used it in our tacos...yum!My Goober :)

Potatoes are on thing I can count on my family enjoying, no matter how they are prepared. This recipe is easy and I love that you can throw it in the slow cooker and forget it for a few hours. The ham made the dish a little on the salty side, but if you give it a good stir before serving it is alright. I am going to tweak this recipe a bit to be a side dish, minus the ham.
Scalloped potatoes and Ham
6 large russet potatoes,sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 ham steak (about 1 1/2 pounds) cut into chunks
1 can cream of mushroom
1 soup can of water
1 cup shredded cheese
grill seasoning to taste
Layer potatoes and ham in slow cooker
combine soup, water, cheese and seasoning in large bowl, pour over potatoes. cover and cook on high 3 1/2 hours or until potatoes are fork tender. turn to low setting and continue to cook for another hour.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Delicious Ribs

I tried a slow cooker recipe for ribs....so good! I will definitely make these again!

1/2 cup paprika
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 lb pork or beef baby back ribs - slice to fit in slow cooker
1 can (20oz) beer or beef stock
1 quart barbecue sauce
1/2 cup honey
White sesame seeds and sliced chives (optional for garnish)
Lightly oil grill grate and preheat on high
while grill heats, combine first five ingredients and generously season ribs with the rub mixture. Place ribs on grill. cook for 3 minutes on each side or until ribs have grill marks.
place in 5-qt slow cooker. pour beer over ribs. Cover and cook on high 2 hours. blend barbecue sauce with honey and add. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until done. serve with extra barbecue sauce.
Grace loves deviled eggs, so I made them especially for her :)