Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baked Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & Sage

I got this recipe from Tara, when I participated in a recent "recipe exchange." I was excited because I don't usually get any recipes from these sorts of things, and because this recipe sounds fabulous.

Be sure to have everything ready before you start handling the chicken (plus a little extra), or you're going to be washing your hands a lot. Put the salt, pepper, olive oil in small bowls, juice your lemons, cut your potatoes, just get everything ready to go.

My sage plant has not fared well in the house this winter, but I managed to get about a dozen leaves. I ended up doubling the chicken and throwing in a couple extra potatoes so we'd have leftovers. I am very optimistic about this recipe! (I didn't use the artichoke hearts this time)

I assembled the dish ahead of time, covered with foil and put it in the refrigerator. After we get home from school today, I will be able to throw it in the oven (thereby saving loads of prep time and having dinner on time on a school night!)

The chicken is tangy and flavorful; we will definitely be making it again. The sauce was a little strong, the leftovers are delicious too. The boys didn't like the chicken that first night (too sour), but did enjoy a chicken leg heated in foil on our Christmas Eve campfire.

I do have a few notes about the dish:
- prepping ahead caused some of the potatoes to have brown spots, so don't make this ahead too far.
- Next time I will only use about 3 lemons--it went beyond tangy to sour. And I'm excited to try the artichoke addition!
- Leftovers MUST be reheated to mellow out that sauce.

All in all, I'd label it a success. And it's easy too! Thanks, Tara!!

Lemony Chicken & Potatoes
(ignore the brown spots; I assembled the dish too early!)

Baked Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & Sage

Tara says, "I love this dish, and it is really simple. I'm going to try and recite it from memory."

chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 of each?) with the skin is fine, and probably best for flavor *(I used two packages each thighs and drumsticks, and a huge roasting pan!)
plenty of olive oil
5 large lemons *(I will only use 3 lemons next time)
fresh sage
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
6 large Yukon Gold potatoes

1.) preheat the oven (bake at 375 or so)

2.) rinse all the raw chicken, then hand rub each piece with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice squeezed from the lemons.

3.) Do the same thing with the potatoes, after you cut the potatoes in fourths. hand-rubbing them really makes a difference.

4.) Place the saturated potatoes and chicken pieces in a large rectangular pyrex baking dish.

5.) squeeze any remaining lemon juice from the lemons over the dish, and then cut them up and tuck between potatoes and chicken.

6.) take fresh sage leaves and dip in juices and place within the dish between the pieces of potatoes and chicken.

7.) lightly salt and pepper the surface of the contents of the dish.

8.) for extra flavor, add a jar of marinated artichoke hearts and pour the juice from the jar into the pyrex with the rest.

Bake this dish (covered with foil) in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, until chicken is cooked and potatoes are soft. sometimes it is nice to let the dish cook for a little bit with the foil off at the end, to crisp the edges of everything. If you think the chicken will be overcooked, skip this step.

When done, you should have tangy flavorful potatoes and tender lemony chicken! This dish is especially wonderful on the second day as leftovers, when the potatoes have absorbed the juices.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beef Wellington

I pulled the recipe for this from
I'll be back with the recipe and helpful hints I found surfing the internet which went into making this an incredible, aromatic, delectable and impressive dish.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grow Your Own Sprouts!

2nd batch, Clover Sprouts

I've read about how easy it is to grow your own sprouts, and how delicious, but I'd never tried until now! (and now we are hooked!)

I was searching on for plastic lids for canning jars for our sourdough because the one we had broke. I ran across this strainer lid for growing sprouts. (Although you don't really need a strainer lid if you have cheesecloth, which you can secure with the ring from a canning jar lid). I didn't have any cheesecloth, so I added the strainer lid to my order, along with a sampler pack of Organic Sprouting Seeds!

I did have a large canning jar around, so I was all set there. When the seeds arrived-- 2.5 pounds with 10 different varieties--I let the boys pick which kind they wanted to try first. H-Bomb promptly chose the 5 Part Salad Mix, which contains alfalfa, radish, mung bean, lentil and broccoli seeds. Yum!

I placed 2 tablespoons of the seed mix in my quart jar and covered with 8 tablespoons of warm (not hot) water, and let soak overnight.

The next morning, I drained the seeds, rinsed them and drained them again. I swirled the jar gently to help the seeds separate and coat the sides of the jar, laid the jar on its side and covered it with a towel on the counter.

The recommendations for rinsing vary wildly, so I just followed the instructions on the package, which says "Sprouts MUST be RINSED and DRAINED WELL 2 to 3 times per day during the growing period." They're pretty serious about it, the capitalization is right there like that on the package. Who am I to presume anything different?

I grew my sprouts in this manner for 3 days, keeping track on the calendar because this was the first batch. After that, there were sprouts! They needed to be exposed to light for 3 to 5 hours to develop the green color, then rinsed in a large bowl of cool water to remove the hulls. I covered the sprouts with cold water, then pressed the sprouts down while I removed the floating hulls with a spoon. After that, you can grab the sprouts out of the water, piling them in a colander to drain (and leaving any unsprouted seeds at the bottom of the bowl).

Store sprouts in an air tight container in the refrigerator and rinse 2-3 times per day to maintain freshness. And that's it!

We have already made the 5-part Salad Mix, a batch of Clover Sprouts, and are now on Green Lentil sprouts! It is so fun to see the seeds actually sprouting. As soon as one batch is ready to eat, we get another batch growing. So far we've only needed to grow one jar at a time, but I could see growing two jars of sprouts when the boys get older.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thick & Hearty Chicken Cheese Soup

I saved this recipe from a package of canned chicken breast from Costco. I knew it would come in handy for a quick meal! Really you could use any kind of cooked chicken instead.

You should have just about everything for this meal right in your pantry or refrigerator, so it's easy to throw together. The thing that takes the most time, honestly, is grating carrots, but you don't have to do that many.

The soup is actually thick and hearty! H-Bomb loved it, Sawed Off was having a bread night (but ate a few bites of soup too). I thought it was good for a last-minute weeknight kind of soup. Very fast.

Thick & Hearty Chicken Cheese Soup
probably serves about 4

1 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 (250 ml-10 3/4 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (350 ml-12.5 ounce) can Kirkland Signature Chunk Breast of Chicken
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan, cook carrots and green onion in hot butter about 10 minutes or until tender but not browned. Stir in flour. Slowly add milk, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken and cheese. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese melts. Serve hot.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


After several recent mediocre attempts to use red lentils to make a curried lentil soup, I ran across this recipe, which is not too different from the lentil soup that was in my repertoire as a teenage cook. This easy recipe uses the cheaper, mud-colored lentils, and I love the resulting soup. I believe I could eat it weekly during the cold months of the year.

James Beard's Creamy Lentil Soup (slightly modified)

1 pound lentils, rinsed

2 quarts ham or vegetable broth

1 bone-in ham steak, weighing ¾ to 1 pound

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small onion)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Minced parsley



1. Put the lentils in 4- or 5-quart soup pot with broth and bone cut out of ham steak. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the lentils are very soft, at least 1 hour.

2. Remove ham bone. Put the lentils through a food mill or process with a blender or food processor, leaving some lentils as is.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and nutmeg.

5. Simmer for another 20 minutes.  If soup is too thick, add water or broth to get desired consistency.

6. Meanwhile, finely chop ham; you likely will have 1 ½ to 2 cups of ham.

7. Add ham to pot and simmer soup for another 5 minutes.

8. Add whipping cream and simmer soup another 5 minutes.

9. Taste soup and adjust seasoning if desired.

10. Garnish each serving with parsley and croutons.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Irish Potato Candy

I have no idea whether or not this is a traditional recipe. When H-Bomb brought home his homework this week, there was a note to us parents telling us that the second grade would be having an International Fair on Friday (this Friday!) and asking us to send something to share about our family heritage or culture.

Although I am of mostly Irish decent, all I really know how to make is Corned Beef & Cabbage. Not exactly a favorite of 2nd graders. H-Bomb suggested I make my Artisan Bread for his class, "because I love it" he said. Until I ran across this recipe for Potato Candy, and H-Bomb and I decided it sounded good, and he thought it was funny that you use cocoa to make the candy look dirty. He will use the potato-shaped candy to illustrate the story of the potato famine which brought many of our ancestors to North America.

Unfortunately I did have to leave out the Irish whiskey, since I'm sending it to a classroom full of second graders. And mostly Mormon second graders at that! I also had to leave out the nuts due to nut allergies.

H-Bomb reported that his classmates liked the candy! It actually tastes quite good.

Irish Potato Candy

This is a no-bake coconut and cream cheese confection shaped by hand to look just like a potato!

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 package cream cheese (use 4 ounces)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey
4 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
chopped nuts

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla, whiskey and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth.

Mix in the coconut (use hands if necessary) Roll into potato shapes. Roll each "potato" in cinnamon to coat, then press in pieces of chopped nuts to look like eyes. Dust with cocoa to simulate dirt.Place onto a cookie sheet and chill to set.

Friday, December 10, 2010


This recipe is for my father-in-law, who recently tried raita at our favorite Indian restaurant. Perhaps for the first time? Anyway, I told him it's easy to make at home.

I've made this many times over the years, the recipe comes from the Moosewood Cookbook. I am going to disagree with Mollie just a tad: cucumber and onion are not optional, Molls. No way. I do like that you are free to play around with spices and additions until you figure out what strikes your fancy.

So here we go.

Preparation time: just a few minutes
Yield: 2 cups (serves 6)

"One of the many condiments served in a traditional Indian meal, raita is a yogurt preparation with small amounts of seasoning and a hint of minced or grated fresh vegetables. It is designed to cool and relax the palate in between bites of heavier, more intensely seasoned dishes. Serve raita with any curry, or with samosas...This can be put together in just minutes.

Note: For a deeper flavor, the cumin and optional fennel seeds can be lightly toasted first. Cook them without oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about a minute, or until they give off a toasty aroma."

2 cups plain yogurt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small cucumber (about 5 inches long), peeled, seeded and minced or grated
1/4 cup finely minced onion
salt and cayenne, to taste

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS (add some or all):
1 small ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup finely minced bell pepper (any color)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Combine everything in a small bowl and mix gently. Cover tightly, and refrigerate until serving time.

Taste & Create: Partner List!

Here is the Taste & Create partner list! The year-end T&C is always fun, because it spans two whole months! The holidays are upon us, celebrate with Taste & Create!

Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by January 24th, 2011!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email me (at
cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com) or Nicole (at
tasteandcreate [at] rezimo [dot] com).

Hope your holidays are fabulous! Can't wait to see what you create!

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy & Always Eat on the Good China

Eat Laugh Love & No Reason Needed

Dragon Musings & Chillies and Lime

Behold the Metatron & For the Love of Food

Louanne's Kitchen
& Seduce Your Tastebuds

Study Food & The Bad Girl's Kitchen

A Bolder Table & Searching for Spice

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maple Scotch

There is something so seasonal about sipping maple scotch on cold nights. I plan to have some in stock all winter. Here's how I made it...

In a non-reactive sauce pan, bring the following to a boil:
  • 1 cup pure (bottled, filtered) water
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar (you can buy some at Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup evaporated cane juice (use a little less if you want it less sweet)
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 or 7 whole allspice berries
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
I boiled the allspice berries and caraway seeds in a reusable herb sack to keep them all together.

Boil this mixture until the sugar dissolves. Then let it cool completely before combining a 750ml bottle of scotch with the maple mixture. I used Ballantine's and poured it into two different Ball jars, adding 2 cinnamon sticks to the smaller jar just to experiment. In the larger jar, I kept the seed sack to allow the flavors to blend.

This will be ready to drink in a couple weeks, but the longer it sits, the better. You also might want to remove the cinnamon sticks after a couple weeks to avoid making it too cinnaminy.


One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes. Or Cakes

**Updated with Layer Cake and Sheet Cake Variations below!!!**

What do you do when you're craving chocolate cupcakes? You make these! The recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.

Deliciously decadent and easy to whip up, you can have cupcakes in an hour. I ended up with 26 regular cupcakes and also 24 mini cupcakes! Frosted with my favorite Buttercream Frosting, this time I used vanilla for the frosting instead of coconut...I also considered almond extract.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen
This recipe is extremely versatile. We love to use it for cupcakes, but it makes an equally impressive layer or sheet cake; either is a perfect choice for kids' birthday parties.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 large whole eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 batch Buttercream Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Into the bowl of an electric mixer, pour flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Using the paddle attachment, add the eggs and yolk, the milk, oil and vanilla, and warm water. Beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool slightly, then remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on racks. Frost cupcakes generously with Buttercream Frosting, swirling to cover. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Layer Cake variation: Coat two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper; spray parchment. Set aside. Follow instructions for One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, dividing batter between the prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a cake plate, and spread 2/3 cup buttercream on top. Place other cake layer on top. Spread entire cake with remaining buttercream, swirling to cover completely.

Sheet Cake Variation:
Butter a 13-by-9-inch pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. Follow instructions for One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, transferring batter to the prepared pan. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Frost as desired.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carrot-Mushroom Loaf

I found this recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook (I have both the first edition and the revised 15th anniversary edition). This comes from the 15th anniversary edition.

If you're wondering why a cattle ranch household would be serving a vegetarian dish, there are several reasons. We like to mix it up, and this sounded good. Especially when you have just come home from a stock-up trip to Costco with 10 pounds of organic carrots that you just couldn't resist. So, there you have it.

It seems like Mollie's recipes are chronically underestimating the assembly time. Even having a precious assistant like Sawed Off (age 4) to help put carrots in the food processor, peel onions when my eyes were burning and chop mushrooms (I'm so proud!), it sort of seemed like this took forever to assemble. I used the food processor for the bread crumbs, carrots and cheese, as suggested. I also used it for the onions. I honestly can't say what took so long, or even how long it took. It just seemed like much longer than 30 minutes, Mollie. That's all I'm saying.

I took a couple liberties with the recipe. I added an extra egg because I felt like it needed another egg. Perhaps this was because after processing the last of our artisan bread, I had less than half the required bread crumbs, so I used oatmeal. Sawed Off, the little genius, suggested that I make "oatmeal crumbs" with the food processor, so I did. (*I use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs in my meat loaf too) I also used more butter with the onions and mushrooms. I felt like I had to.

I topped the loaf with a bit of cheese, some dill, a few sesame seeds. I made it early in the day, so I simply covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. This made it quick to pull out and toss in the oven before dinner, leaving time to make a salad, maybe have a glass of wine.

So, the recipe isn't very photogenic, plus we had a dinner guest and we were busy talking. No picture this time, but there will definitely be a next time! Everyone loved this dish! Stay tuned...

Carrot-Mushroom Loaf
30 minutes to assemble; 45 minutes to bake Yield: 6 to 8 servings

A food processor fitted with the grating attachment makes short work of this casserole. Use it first to make the bread crumbs, then to grate both the carrots and the cheese--without cleaning it in between.

You can use store-bought bread crumbs, but homemade ones will make this dish taste exceptional. To make superb bread crumbs, the trick is to use superb bread.

Note: Once baked, this casserole can be frozen. It reheats beautifully.

2 cups minced onion
1 tablespoon butter (I used at least 2 tablespoons)
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dill
3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds carrots, grated (about 6 cups)
2 cups superb bread crumbs (I used about half bread crumbs and half "oatmeal crumbs")
1 cup (packed) grated cheddar
2 eggs, beaten (I used 3 eggs)
black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings:
extra dill, cheese, bread crumbs; a sprinkling of sesame seeds; any, some or all

Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, herbs, and garlic, and continue to sauté for about 10 more minutes.

In a large bowl, combine carrots, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, and pepper. Add the sautéed mixture and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan and sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Cover the pan with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes covered, then uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Serve hot or warm.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Graham Cracker Crust

Support the slow-food movement: Make your own pie crusts. In this case, I'm not suggesting that you make your own graham crackers, simply that you don't buy premade traditional or graham cracker crusts. Both are so easy and quick to make. Here's a recipe for the graham cracker crust that I use when I make key lime pie.

Wendy's Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
6 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Mix graham cracker crumbs; sugar; cinnamon, if using; and melted butter until well blended.

2. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.

3. Bake in 375°F. oven for 7 minutes. Cool before filling.

NOTE: Will need about 44 small graham cracker rectangles.
Rumor has it that crust need not be baked but simply can be chilled for 1 hour before filling.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Biscuits & Gravy

Although you can use any biscuits you'd like for this ultimate comfort food meal, I'd recommend MaryJane's Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits. If you have no sourdough starter, you could make some. Here are recipes for two starters that we use: Virgil and Horatio. (yes, they have names)

But if you don't feel like waiting for the starter to develop, you could always whip up a batch of my Baking Powder Biscuits. (a recipe I've held onto since Eighth Grade Home-Ec.)

Once you decide on the biscuits, and have them baking, you're ready to start on the gravy. For this recipe, we adapted a Milk Gravy recipe from Betty Crocker's Country Favorites to include sausage. YUM.

(photo coming soon!)

Number One's Sausage Gravy

1 pound sausage (we use Jimmy Dean's, Regular or Sage)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk

Brown sausage; do not drain. You should have at least 1/4 cup drippings, add some oil if needed.

Stir in flour and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly to loosen any brown particles from skillet, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Slowly pour milk into skillet, stirring constantly. Heat to boiling over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Serve over biscuits, with freshly ground pepper to taste.

MaryJane's Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

Lovely and golden brown, these biscuits are light and flaky and delicious. Eat them plain, with butter, or under a generous amount of Number One's Sausage Gravy.

*Picture coming soon!*

MaryJane's Sourdough Buttermilk Biscuits

yield: about 12 biscuits

2 cups flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (about 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar + milk to make 1/2 cup)
1 cup sourdough starter
1 medium egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix together flour, sea salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Blend in butter with a pastry cutter or fork. Add buttermilk and sourdough starter. Mix well, until soft dough is formed that cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn onto floured surface and knead gently, adding a little more flour if dough is sticky. Roll out dough on a floured surface and cut into biscuits with biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Beat together the egg yolk and milk, and brush on the top of each biscuit. Bake for 13 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wendy's Granola (a variation of Alton Brown's)

Spoiler alert: Bags of homemade granola is what I'm giving friends for Christmas. In case you want to do the same, here's the recipe.

Wendy's Granola (a variation of Alton Brown's)

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raw whole almonds
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
2 cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Craisins, optional

1. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, seeds, coconut, and brown sugar.
2. In a small bowl, combine ncanola oil, honey, extract, and salt.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients in very large bowl.
4. Pour half of the mixture into a roasting pan and place in a 300°F. oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
5. Let cool. Break up any big pieces. Mix in half of Craisins if desired. Store in airtight container.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with second half of granola.

NOTES: Variations: Use other nuts. Add any of the following: ground flaxseed, wheat germ, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, raisins or other dried fruit.

Handy to have a two-cup measuring cup when making this recipe.

One batch fits nicely in a gallon-size freezer bag.
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