Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010


It's a winter wonderland here...

I need to make a big pot of soup for my two snow men, who are outside trying to dig us out!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Really Easy Chicken Pot Pie!

After all the prep for holidays and festivities since Thanksgiving, there are some times when you just want the easy way out. And this is the easy way out for me! All it takes is two pre-made pie shells, a can of Campbell's soup, a small rotisserie chicken and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. and there you have dinner! And so good, who cares about the sodium, or the chemicals or whatever else they throw in those little cans. This is for one of those nights! Five minutes to prepare, thirty minutes later...dinner! And a salad. So I completely take the easy way out. And no one complains. Not one bit!

Really Easy Chicken Pot Pie
There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

2 (9 inch) deep dish frozen pie crusts, thawed (or not!)
10-oz frozen mixed vegetables, you can also use canned!
2 cups cooked, diced chicken breast
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl combine the mixed vegetables, mushrooms, chicken, cream of chicken soup and milk. Pour mixture into one of the pie crusts. Turn the other crust over and pop out of the tin onto the top of the filled pie. Poke a small hole in top crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kasha Varnishkes

It's gotten pretty cold here. A big plate of good old comfort food sometimes just hits the spot! Sometimes they bring you right back to when you were a kid! This one does it for me. My grandma used to make this with brisket or stuffed cabbage, it's a perfect side to soak up the gravy! Dinner was definitely going to be Stuffed Cabbage, but I wanted to serve something beside mashed potatoes. I usually serve mashed potatoes with cabbage rolls, but when I was looking for a change, I found this recipe at Epicurious. It just reminded me so much of when I was a kid, we'd go to Brooklyn to see my Grandparents and have dinner with the whole family at the table. It was a fun production every week, the drive to Brooklyn, familiar sights along the way, going up in the elevator, by the time we got to their floor, the door would open, and you could smell the cooking!  We'd try to guess what it was! Always felt bad for the neighbors, so much garlic! So much spice. So much heartburn :)

Grandma made Kasha and Bows often! We loved it! My kids never had it before or so they thought. They actually did have it, when they were very small, my grandma had made it for them. Kasha Varnishkes, but they called it Kasha Veronica's! It obviously never left the same impression as it did for me, or they were probably just too little to remember! Miss Picky liked it, the Big Kid loved it. And the Griller is just so good about eating, whatever you put in front of him is fine, except for a stinky cheese! Besides, he's had kasha and bows before! It's something we grew up with!  So I am trying to make some good food memories for my kids! Aside from the ones where they say "hey, remember when Mommy burnt the muffins? Remember when Mom forgot to take the giblet bag out of the chicken before she threw it in the soup pot?"

Kasha Varnishkes
(Kasha and Bowtie Egg Noodles)
Source: Joan Nathan - Jewish Cooking in America
Adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

2 large onions, diced
1 package cremini mushrooms, chopped (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons margarine, butter, vegetable oil or chicken fat
1 large egg or egg white, slightly beaten
1 cup medium or coarse kasha
2 cups water or chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 pound large or small bow tie-shaped noodles
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the margarine or chicken fat in a heavy frying pan with a cover until golden, then add the mushrooms and saute until soft. Remove to a plate.

Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl and stir in the kasha. Mix, making sure all the grains are coated. Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes or until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kernels brown and mostly separate.

Add the water or stock, to the frying pan and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onions and mushrooms, cover tightly, and cook over low heat, steaming the kasha for 10 or 15 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and check to see if the kernels are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for 3 to 5 minutes more, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the bow-tie noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain.

When the kasha is ready, combine with the noodles. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with the parsley and coriander. If desired, add a bit more margarine or chicken fat. Sprinkle with a little parsley, for garnish.

The dish can be made 1-2 days in advance and reheated, uncovered, in a 350°F oven. If it seems dry, add 1/4 cup chicken stock

Stuffed Cabbage (Holishkes)
Source: Syd M
Printable Recipe

2 heads green cabbage
2 pounds chopped meat
1 egg
2 slices white bread slices, soaked in water and then squeeze out the water
3 15-oz cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup brown sugar, more or less to taste garlic powder, to taste

Some optional ingredients I found along the way:
Raisins (not for me)
crushed gingersnaps (someone else's mother suggested this!)
a big squeeze fresh lemon juice (1 lemon) or more, to taste!

Boil the cabbage for a few minutes to soften, and remove the outer leaves when cooled. You can also freeze the cabbage heads overnight, but who has room in the freezer for two heads of cabbage? Or you can steam it for a few minutes in the microwave.

In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, combine 2 1/2 cans of tomato sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and raisins, if you're using them, and some garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Taste to see if you need more sugar, garlic or lemon juice. Add crushed gingersnaps if you want, I got that idea when I was checking out recipes from a friend's mom. I tried it a few times, but now I don't bother!

Mix meat, eggs, bread, 1/2 can tomato sauce, rice and about 1/3 cup brown sugar. Make a small meatball and place it near the stem end of the leaf, fold stem over the filling, fold in the sides and roll it up firmly. Envelope style. Place the cabbage rolls carefully in the sauce (seam side down) and add chopped pieces of the cabbage and raisins if you want. Simmer at low for 1 1/2 hours or more, I let it simmer for a long while. If you see that there is not enough sauce, add more tomato sauce.

I'm joining Suzy over at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

That first snow...

Well, we got it, the first snow of the season last week! Weird because it was almost 50 degrees the day or two before. But there it was, we woke up to a nice covering of snow. I know some folks don't like it, but we do! And the perfect thing to go with a cold, snowy day? Minestrone Soup! Any soup, I think, but this day it was Minestrone. A friend had invited me for lunch, she made Minestrone with Tomatoes and Rice. I liked it so much I made it again the very next day. Perfect timing with the snow! Has everything but the kitchen sink. Maybe not string beans. Didn't have those, but you can throw them in, too, if you want them. Sprinkled with a little Parmesan. This is perfect soup for a snowy day. Hey, it's perfect soup for a sunny day! And even better the next day when the rice soaked up all the soup! It was a total comfort dish, like risotto, without all the stirring! Risotto with Tomatoes and Vegetables!

Minestrone with Tomatoes and Rice
Source: Sheri
original recipe by Luca Marcato of Osteria al Doge, NYC

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1-inch dice
1 Japanese eggplant or 1/2 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup arborio rice
one 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 small stalk of broccoli — cut into 1-inch florets, stem peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 medium celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup frozen baby peas 
6 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive soup pot. Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the carrot potato, zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

Add the rice to a skillet on medium heat with a little bit of oil, about a tablespoon. Stir well to coat the grains with the oil and toast for about two minutes. Then add the rice to the soup pot with the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the crushed red pepper and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, celery and peas and cook, stirring, until all the vegetables and the rice are tender, about 35 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

(MAKE AHEAD: The soup can be refrigerated for 1 day. Reheat before serving.) Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the Parmesan cheese at the table.  If it's too thick next day, add some stock or water and season again!

Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's for Breakfast: Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Breakfast today was a really good treat! A delicious one! And I managed to get everyone to eat their oatmeal!  Julie from A Little Bit of Everything posted how great this Pumpkin Oatmeal was! She got it from Mags at The Other Side of 50! From their pictures and the looks of the recipe, I needed no convincing!  Convincing the rest of the family took a few minutes. PUMPKIN? In my oatmeal? We don't want it. Ok, ok, we'll try it! And they really enjoyed it! A lot! Why argue with me? I am always right! Usually :) Well, I was this time!

I left out the raisins. The family might like them, but I don't. So I'm selfish that way! For that matter, my husband is never getting Lima Beans in this house, either! He'll live!  I caved on the asparagus, outnumbered, and shh, don't tell but I actually like asparagus now, but never, no way, never on the raisins! And definitely never any Lima's! 

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal was amazing, even without raisins!

This was a sweet, very hearty and filling breakfast, perfect for the cold winter mornings here! Thanks to Julie and Mags! This was a terrific recipe! Loved it!

So now all I have to do is think what to do with the little bit of leftover pumpkin?

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
Source: Julie from A Little Bit of Everything!  She got it from Mags at The Other Side of 50!
Printable Recipe

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup raisins (optional) (I didn't use!)
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 8 (1/2 cup) ramekins on a baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray,

In a large bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and raisins (if using.)

In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, maple syrup, butter, milk and eggs.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well. Pour into prepared ramekins and top each with 1/2 TBSP of chopped pecans.

Bake for 25-28 minutes. Alternately, you could bake this in a one quart baking dish and adjust baking time accordingly.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

My picky one is addicted to Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheese Soup. and their Mac n Cheese! I've given up on duplicating the Mac n Cheese because I am just challenged when it comes to anything other than the blue box kind. Good thing they love that, too, because I just can't get mac n cheese right. The third time was not a charm! And believe me, I've tried. See here, the pic of my Mac n Cement Cheese, so bad!

So Panera and just about any other homemade Mac and Cheese is out for now, but Broccoli soup is another story! Did great with that! Made it once before and it was really good, so when I saw Mary's recipe from One Perfect Bite, I knew I had to try it, too! And I'm glad I did! All I did was add a little nutmeg and some cayenne pepper to suit our tastes! We loved it!

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Source: Mary @ One Perfect Bite
adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

1 pound of fresh broccoli florets
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 ounces Colby cheese, shredded
4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
(I used Monterey Jack and Cheddar, low fat milk, and added a bit of cayenne pepper and a dash of nutmeg)

Melt butter in a large saucepan set over over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Add 2 cups chicken broth to pan and heat until boiling. Add broccoli and cook, covered, until broccoli is tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Using a spoon, break broccoli into small pieces. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining 4 cups chicken broth to pot.

Mix flour and milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add mixture to pot. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking over low heat until soup thickens, about 5-6 minutes.

Add cheese, handfuls at a time, and stir constantly over low heat until smooth and creamy - about 10 minutes. If soup becomes too thick, add additional chicken stock. Do not let soup boil. Serve hot.

I'm joining Suzy over at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday!

Flashing back to another recipe for broccoli soup, this one I had posted from Martha Stewart, Cream of Broccoli Soup!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Winter White Event!

Perfect timing! Long Island got the white stuff just in time for Kathleen's Winter White White Event! How did she manage that?

I am joining Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen for her annual Winter White Event!  I don't really do tables, we eat at them, yes, but I don't dress them up too well :) I'm more everyday dishes and sometimes even disposable! Kathleen is friends with me anyway! I like thick heavy paper napkins. I'm all about getting away with whatever is easy! I have kids, they like sauce and they like ketchup. My linens have seen better days! Although most of my dishes and accessories are white, so I could fit right in with Kathleen's theme! But since I walk to the beat of a different drum, instead of a tablesetting, I am joining in with a nice mug of WHITE Hot Chocolate!

In honor of my friend, Kathleen, I'll use a mug of WHITE Hot Chocolate and raise it to her! 

Cheers to Kathleen!

 but I could have done a table setting with my good Chinette...

but nah! I'll stick with the White Hot Chocolate! A gift from another very dear friend, and I loved it so much, I wanted more, so I found a recipe online at Martha Stewart! Love the White Hot Chocolate, nice change from Chocolate Hot Chocolate. That was a great surprise!

White Hot Chocolate
Source: Martha Stewart
adapted There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe 
Makes 8 cups

2 ounces milk chocolate, for garnish
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peppermint sticks, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish

Using a vegetable peeler, shave milk chocolate into curls; set aside.

Place white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside. Place milk and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan, about 4 minutes. Immediately pour mixture over white chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, stir to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Continue whisking until a light foam forms. **Instead of using a bowl I just added the white chocolate to the pot, off heat, and whisked it in! One less bowl to clean!

Serve immediately garnished with peppermint sticks, whipped cream, and chocolate curls.

To see more Winter White Event Celebrations, stop by Cuisine Kathleen, everyone's invited to join in and link up! Thanks Kathleen, it's always a fun party with you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Went looking to find something new, and found it at the My Bizzy Kitchen Blog! Knew I had to try this the minute I saw the name of the recipe. Buffalo Chicken Chili!  Right up my alley! Packed a lot of flavor and a lot of heat! You can really taste the flavor of the hot sauce in this one. A little too hot for some at the table, but I loved it! Served it with corn muffins from a Jiffy Mix. I made them in a Madeleine pan! Not too bad, only three got stuck! And I didn't burn them! The chili recipe made a lot, I froze some and sent some in to a friend that I know loves hot stuff. She raved about it, and made me promise when I make it again that I will send some in for her!
Thanks Bizzy Kitchen, I loved this one!

Best Buffalo Chicken Chili
Source: My Bizzy Kitchen
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots
3 stalks celery
1 large red pepper
5 cloves of garlic
5 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) diced tomatoes(I used one can of Rotel Tomatoes with Green Chilies)
1 (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) chili beans in sauce (do not drain) - (I used one can of Bush's Best Chili Magic Chili Starter Traditional style)
salt and pepper to taste

Put chicken breasts in food processor to grind up, if you can find ground chicken breast, you can use that too. Heat oil and add ground chicken and cook about 10 minutes on medium heat until no longer pink. Rinse out processor and add carrots, celery, garlic and red pepper and puree. Add to chicken mixture and cook about 5 minutes until veggies start to soften. Add the rest of the ingredients, put stove on simmer and cook for an hour.

Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Texas Star Chili Cook Off 2012

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roast Chicken and Latkes!

Hanukkah is over this year, but I couldn't let another day go by without making the traditional potato pancakes! Found a new recipe for chicken, too, that I had been meaning to try! I got so busy with the latkes that I never got a chance to take a picture of the chicken! But it was a delicious recipe. Went nicely with the potato pancakes! Maple Garlic Roasted Chicken. Miss Picky asked for thin chicken cutlets instead of the thicker boneless, skinless! Anything for Miss Picky and it turned out well, we all loved it!

Some folks like sour cream on their latkes. Not us. Applesauce all the way! Alton Brown's Ten-Minute Microwave Applesauce is really easy and comes out so good. With or without the Cognac or Brandy, it's delicious! but I'm a "with" the alcohol and usually use Calvados! It gives it a nice flavor.This time I used all Fuji apples! Pretty foolproof recipe. I didn't even peel this time, instead of the immersion blender, I used the food mill!

They're good for any time, it sounds like a lot more work than they really are, but for some reason, we only make them during the holidays! The worst part? The house stinks like fried oil for a while!  But so worth it for a big batch of potato pancakes!

Potato Latkes
Printable Recipe

8 potatoes (I use Russets or Yukon Golds)
2 onions
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup matzoh meal (flour can be substituted)
1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
vegetable oil

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, along with the onion.  You can also use a food processor (I used the medium shredding disc for a Cuisinart Food Processor for both the potatoes and the onions.) Then put the shredded potatoes and onions into a fine strainer over a bowl and press out whatever excess liquid you can.  Pour the potatoes and onions into a bowl with the beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Mix it all together and then add a handful or two of matzoh meal. Mix to combine. Then put it all back into the strainer and let it drain as you make the latkes.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat, about 350°F. Form the mixture into pancakes about the size of your palm or you can spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading and flattening into rounds with a fork. Don't crowd the pan. Cook until the bottoms are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook about 5 minutes more, until the undersides are golden brown. You can tell it's browning from the edges, don't burn them. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Too high a heat is not good, the oil should not be smoking.

Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in 250°F oven. Eat hot with applesauce. Or sour cream. They freeze well, to reheat, do not thaw, place frozen latkes on a rack in a sheet pan and bake at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes.

Ten Minute Microwave Applesauce
Source: Alton Brown, Food Network
Printable Recipe

3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (I use Granny Smith and Braeburn or all Fuji)
3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup unfiltered apple juice (filtered clear juice works, too)
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy (I used Calvados)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used more)

In a sealable microwave-safe container, combine apples with all other ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Using a hand blender or potato masher, blend to desired consistency. Serve hot immediately or chill for later use.

Maple Garlic Roasted Chicken
Source: Food Network, Canada - recipe by Anna Olson
adapted There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used thin sliced)
1 1/2 cups B-Grade pure maple syrup
1 head garlic
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons malt vinegar
salt and pepper

Place chicken breasts in a shallow dish. Pour 1 cup maple syrup over chicken. Peel head of garlic and crush cloves under the flat-side of a knife and add all but 2 cloves to chicken. Add 1/3 cup malt vinegar and toss chicken to coat. Let marinate from 1 to 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a roasting pan. Place chicken breasts in roasting pan, shaking off excess syrup, and season. Roast uncovered for about 25 minutes, until an internal temperature of 180 F is reached. Let chicken rest 10 minutes.

To serve, heat remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoon malt vinegar and 2 cloves of garlic. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove garlic and keep warm. Slice chicken breasts into 3 pieces, on an angle and plate. Spoon warm syrup over and serve.

* I used thin cutlets so I poured the marinade in the baking dish so it wouldn't dry out when I baked it! When the chicken was done, I poured most of the juices (marinade) into a saucepan but left a little in the pan to keep the chicken moist and kept it warm in the oven. I boiled down the marinade to make a little bit thicker sauce. I think this would also be great with skinless chicken on the bone! *

I'm joining Suzy over at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hot Hot Hot Cranberry Sauce

I love fresh cranberry sauce, and don't get me wrong, I love the jellied kind in the can, too! Cranberry sauce is the one thing I can fool around with the recipe on the holidays to change things up! So this time I looked and found one made with cherries and cranberries. It sounded very good. Like a jam recipe I used to make, except this had the addition of ginger. I left out the ginger! Then there was one with jalapeno's that looked good to me. I love the combination of sweet and hot. So why not? I played around with the recipe and ended up not using ginger and adding a half of a jalapeno. It turned out to be the hottest jalapeno I ever tasted. Yeah, you guessed it. I rubbed my eyes. I scratched my nose. All with jalapeno hands! OUCH! This would have killed Grandma for sure. Good thing we warned her ahead of time!  This time anyway :)

At first I thought, this is pretty disgusting tasting, the amaretto together with the really hot jalapeno, but I kept tasting it, and it grew on me. The big kid liked but it was too hot, the picky one didn't even try.  The Griller can't have cranberries but I know if he could he would have liked it but with a lot less heat. Wouldn't even offer it to Grandma. So I packed it up to schlep it to our friend's Thanksgiving feast! Too hot for most, but whoever had it, found it somewhat addicting. Not sure why, but we ended up finished the whole batch. I'll make it again. But I would check the jalapeno first!

Cherry-Cranberry Sauce
Source: original recipe SELF - November 2010 by Jennifer Iserloh
adapted There's Always Thyme to Cook
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag (15 ounces) frozen or fresh cranberries
1 bag (10 ounces) frozen cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
some fresh orange or clementine slices
1/4 cup amaretto (next time I'll try it without it!)
1/2 -1 jalapeno, minced (depending how much heat you like!) I used a frozen jalapeno and grated it with a microplane

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook cinnamon, stirring, about a minute. If using, carefully add the amaretto and cook until liquid thickens and reduces by half, about 1 minute. Add cranberries, cherries, sugar, 1/4 cup water and a 1/2 cup orange juice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add some clementine slices and simmer until cranberries break apart and sauce thickens, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spicy Pecans!

First time I ever had spicy pecans was a few years back when I took a cooking class at Viking. Before that class I had sugared sweet ones, mostly in salads, but these, WOW, these had a nice spice to them! It was my first introduction to a cooking class, and it was a good one! This was a cocktail party class and thank goodness for the pregnant woman in the class because she was nice enough to give me her cocktail, too, so it wouldn't go to waste! I can't remember much of that class but I do remember these pecans being just fantastic. I have posted about them before and I thought since it's that time of year where folks go visiting, I'd mention them again! They make a great little gift when you put it in a nice dish, jar or tin and dress it up for the holidays!

Although I had mine dressed up with a Pomegranate martini, you can serve them any way you like!

Spicy Vanilla Pecans
source: Viking Cooking School - Cocktail Party Class 2006
Printable Recipe

1 (4-inch) vanilla bean
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste, I added more!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 quarts water
1 pound pecan halves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (grapeseed or canola)

Preheat oven to 325ºF.
For the seasoning mixture: Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into a small bowl. Add the salt, cayenne, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, stirring to combine. Set aside until needed.

n a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the pecans and boil for 1 minute. Drain the nuts well; immediately place them in a bowl and toss with the sugar and oil. Let the sugar-coated nuts stand for 10 minutes.

Arrange the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, turning every 5 to 10 minutes until the nuts are light brown and very crisp. Remove from the oven.

While the pecans are still very hot, place them in a clean bowl and toss with the seasoning mixture. Spread in a single layer to cool.

These are delicious served by themselves as a snack, served over ice cream with caramel sauce or in a salad.

The pecans may be prepared up to one week in advance and stored in an airtight container. You can also substitute walnut halves for the pecans.

Joining Mary's Mosaic Monday. For more mosaic's stop by the Little Red House!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Madame's Chicken!

I have no clue who Madame was but she sure did make a fantastic chicken dish! I never get tired of this particular recipe! It was shared by a very good friend and ever since she first raved about how good it was, it's been a "go to" recipe when we needed a quick delicious dinner. And she recently mentioned she was making it for dinner. GREAT IDEA! So I did. and it works just as nicely for a holiday dinner or company!

 This time I added artichokes, a very happy accident when I was rummaging through the pantry and dropped a couple of cans. They got a little bashed in and so I figured might as well use them now or never! Great addition! I also removed the skin, using just thighs and drumsticks. And a squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens the dish! I served it with roasted teeny tiny potatoes! That's their name Teeny Tiny Potatoes. If you ever find these, I get them at Trader Joe's, they really are the teeniest, tiniest potatoes but they are so good roasted! Next time I think I'll just throw the potatoes in the pan along with the chicken and shallots!

Mme. Lascourrèges Chicken with Shallots
Source: The French Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis
posted by bubbeskitchen (Renee Ascher)
Printable Recipe

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds; 1 3/4 to 2 kg), cut into 8 pieces (2 breast pieces, 2 wings with portion of breast attached, 2 legs, 2 thighs)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 large shallots, peeled and minced (I used 6 and thinly sliced them)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 425°F

Drizzle the oil into an ovenproof baking dish that is large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Add the chicken pieces and turn them so they are thoroughly coated with oil. Drizzle the vinegar over the chicken, and sprinkle with the shallots. Turn the chicken so the shallots are evenly distributed over and under the pieces. With all the pieces skin side up, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Place the dish in the center of the oven and roast until the chicken begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, turn the chicken pieces over, and season with salt and pepper. Return the dish to the oven and continue roasting until the chicken is thoroughly cooked ( the juices should run clear when the flesh is pricked with the tip of a sharp knife), 17 to 20 minutes.

Mince the parsley.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle the parsley over it, and turn the pieces so the parsley is mixed evenly throughout. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then serve.

(Optional - this time I added two cans of artichoke hearts, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end of cooking, and it was a nice addition)

Thanks again, Bubbe, for reminding me about such a great recipe! :)

I'm joining Suzy over at Kitchen Bouquet for another Flashback Friday!

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