Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chicken Paprikash

Made this earlier in 2013 and only now am getting around to printing and publishing the recipe. Feedback is welcome, because I can't remember anything but that the dish turned out well.

Chicken  Paprikash
Serves 4

8 small chicken thighs (2 ¼ pounds total), rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock or water
1 ½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Remove chicken skin and reserve.
  2. Heat olive oil in 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until hot. Add skin and cook until it renders about ¼ cup fat. Remove skin with a slotted spoon and discard.
  3. Add onions and salt to pot, increase heat to moderately high, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if necessary, until onions are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock. Add chicken. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  7. Stir flour into 1 tablespoon water. Then stir this mixture into pot.
  8. Simmer, stirring until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle servings with parsley.

NOTE:  Serve over egg noodles or rice with additional sour cream on     side.
Five boneless chicken thighs weigh about 1 pound.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Custard Oats

You probably know I regularly participate in a couple monthly blog events.  Both of these events expose me to new food blogs, and who doesn't enjoy perusing new blogs?  ;-)

Taste & Create is a fun one, (created by my friend Nicole who passed the torch to me when she opened her own bakery/cafe in Germany), in which participants are randomly partnered up and tasked with creating a recipe from each other's blog.  (click the link above and email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you'd like to join us!)

The Secret Recipe Club is interesting too, participants are assigned blogs and make recipes, but there are no partners, everyone is in sort of a daisy-chain of food.  (click on the logo at the bottom of this post to get on the list for this one)

This month, the blog I was assigned for Secret Recipe Club was:

One look at Heather's blog was all it took for me to realize I really wanted to try one of her "custard oats" recipes.  But which one??  Well, I decided to try her Cinnamon Roll Custard Oats out on my boys, who LOVE the oatmeal that I make for them.  I love custard, I love oats, I love cinnamon rolls!

I'm sorry to say the boys did not love this oatmeal. I didn't have any cream cheese, and since they usually don't have toppings, I didn't add any.  I don't know whether that would have made a difference.  It was plenty sweet, they usually like a bit of brown sugar on top of oatmeal but they didn't ask for any of that either.  I guess when you have a winner for before-school breakfast, you just need to stick with it!

As for me, I really enjoyed the flavor, but there was a texture issue.  (this is no one's fault, I have trouble eating an entire container of yogurt b/c of the texture!)  Number One isn't an oatmeal fan from the start, so he didn't try it.  I may play with this recipe more and see what happens, or try one of Heather's other variations.  I am still intrigued by the whole idea!!  If you try it, let me know what you think!

*Incidentally, I doubled the recipe below and had more than enough oatmeal for the three of us, so just keep that in mind.*

Cinnamon Roll Custard Oats
from Fit Mama Real Food
Serves 1

1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup milk or water *(I was running low on milk, so I used half & half and water in equal measure)
1 egg
heaping 1/16th tsp sea salt

Toppings: 1 tbsp cream cheese mixed with 1/2 tsp maple syrup, walnuts and raisins

In a small pot over medium heat add all ingredients except the toppings. Whisk together and continue to whisk every 2 or so minutes as the oats cook. (lower heat and whisk more if the oats start bubbling and splattering)  Once thickened up, about 5 minutes or so, remove and top with cream cheese frosting, walnuts and raisins if desired.

 Secret Recipe Club

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Among other things my daughter and I brought to a 2013 community Thanksgiving potluck was this appetizer.

Marinated  Mozzarella  Bites
Serves 8

¾ cup good-quality olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley
1 teaspoon black or rainbow peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Peel from half a lemon, thinly sliced
Splash of sherry, red wine, or balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 pound drained whole bocconcini, whole ciliegine, or other fresh mozzarella cut in large bite-sized pieces

1. Heat olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbling gently. Then remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
2. Stir in herbs, peppercorns, lemon slices, and bay leaves.
3. Add sherry, red wine, or vinegar. Add red pepper flakes. Add salt to taste
4. Put the mozzarella in an airtight container and pour the olive oil mixture over the cheese.
5. Refrigerate and allow to marinate up to two weeks but at least overnight. Stir occasionally if cheese is not completely covered by marinade.
6. Bring to room temperature before serving.

NOTE: Can be served alone or can be served on an antipasto platter with cured meats, marinated artichokes, roasted pepper, olives, and crusty bread. On you can put a chunk or ball of drained cheese between a cherry tomato and a pitted Kalamata olive on a toothpick for a beautiful and delicious appetizer.

Feta or goat cheese can be substituted for mozzarella. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wendy's Pumpkin Walnut Bread

'Tis the season! Made a half-recipe tonight. Turned out so well that I'm sorry I didn't have enough pumpkin in my pantry to make a full batch.

Making half a batch left me enough batter to make a couple of mini loaves in addition to a 9x5-inch loaf. Use your judgment. If you do find you have extra batter, you could bake it as muffins probably for 25 to 30 minutes.

Wendy’s  Pumpkin  Walnut  Bread
Serves 16

1 1 /2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 29-ounce can or 2 15-ounce cans pumpkin
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups water
4 large eggs
Zest of 2 oranges
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
4 cups all-purpose flour

1. In large dry skillet, toast walnuts on stove over medium heat just until you can smell them.

2. In large bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, water, eggs, and orange zest. Stir until well-combined.

3. Stir baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves through small strainer into bowl. Add toasted walnuts. Stir until evenly distributed.

4. Add whole-wheat flour and stir just until combined.

5. Add all-purpose flour and stir just until combined.

6. Distribute batter between three greased 8x4-inch loaf pans or between two greased 9x5-inch loaf pans or between about 15 greased mini loaf pans.

7. Bake loaves in 350°F. oven for 60 to 75 minutes for larger loaves or about 35 minutes for mini loaves. Remove from oven when loaves pass toothpick test.

8. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before removing loaves from pans to rack to cool completely.

NOTE: If using lots of mini loaf pans, place them on baking sheet to ease handling.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzels

I thought I'd tell you:  I regularly participate in a couple monthly blog events.  

Taste & Create is a fun one, (created by my friend Nicole who passed the torch to me when she opened her own bakery/cafe in Germany), in which participants are randomly partnered up and tasked with creating a recipe from each other's blog.  (click the link above and email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you'd like to join us!)

The Secret Recipe Club is interesting too, participants are assigned blogs and make recipes, but there are no partners, everyone is in sort of a daisy-chain of food.  (click on the logo at the bottom of this post to get on the list for this one)

This month, the blog I was assigned for Secret Recipe Club was:

I was initially tempted by Dee's various apple recipes...Apple Pie Swedish Pancakes led to Apple and Walnut Coffee Cake and Apple Skillet Pancake and
Apple Almond Crostata and...and...and...

Somehow, I ran across this recipe for a savory, spicy little treat called Jalapeño Three-Cheese Swirls.  And at that moment, I had chosen.  Or so I thought!

When I had gathered the ingredients and the time came to make the Jalapeño Swirls, I clicked over to Dee's pizza dough recipe, where I stumbled across THIS

I've been wanting to make Soft Pretzels for years, and never bit the bullet.  The Time Is NOW.

I was really intrigued with the sausage-wrapped pretzel option, but I'm all out of sausages of any sort.  Next time.  For now, I'm just going with a classic Soft Pretzel.  And I am SO EXCITED!!!

The dough is super easy to mix up.  The trickiest part is getting the pretzels OUT of the simmering water...I used a slotted spoon, but was wishing for a flatter utensil which must be down at the ranch!  Take it from me, tongs definitely do NOT work!  ;-)

The other tip I would add:  roll the pretzel "snakes" long and skinny, then form.  We shaped ours not taking into account the rising they would do, so they turned out more like rolls than a classic pretzel.  Not that I'm complaining!

For some reason our first pan also came out a lot lighter than Dee's...I baked the second pan a few minutes longer, and they browned right up.  I may actually prefer the lighter, softer pretzels as opposed to the crunch of the darker pretzels.  I think I'll need to keep making and eating more pretzels to "perfect" this recipe!  ;-)  Delicious with a dab of Dijon!  Can't wait to try them with sausage inside.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Recipe adapted from On The Move, via Growing Up Gabel

1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
12 cups water
¼ cup baking soda
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon water
Coarse salt, to taste

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, and sugar.  Add 1 cup flour.  Add in oil and salt and 1 more cup of flour. Stir to combine.

Add enough flour to make a smooth, elastic dough, slightly tacky is fine. (At this point, I hadn't realized that the "enough flour" was about 2 3/4 cups, so I think I only used about 1 additional cup--it seemed to match the smooth, elastic, slightly tacky description...Fingers crossed!)  Knead dough a few times in the bowl.  Cover bowl and let dough rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Grease baking sheets. (I used parchment paper instead)

Bring the 12 cups of water to a boil in a large stock pot. SLOWLY add in baking soda (slowly to minimize foaming). Keep water simmering.

Gently punch down dough and divide in to 6 or 12 pieces (depending on size of pretzel you want).

Roll each piece of dough out to an 12-18″ rope. Shape in to pretzel shape and pinch ends to close up. OR, use a dough rope to wrap up a link or smaller piece of sausage, encasing it completely and pinching the ends to secure. Repeat with remaining dough and sausages.

Boil each pretzel for 10-15 seconds, making sure all sides are boiled.  Place pretzels on greased baking sheets, 1 inch apart.  Cover pretzels and let rest for 5 minutes.

Whisk together egg yolk and water and then brush on top of pretzels. Sprinkle salt on pretzels.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Secret Recipe Club

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Clam Chowder Darling

After a bad experience with restaurant clam chowder on Friday, I dug out a tried-and-true recipe for Monday's dinner at home. Here it is with thanks to Renny Darling and The Joy of Eating.

Clam  Chowder  Darling
Serves 4

8 strips of bacon, optional
4 medium-sized red potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
2 small onions, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 6-ounce cans minced clams, undrained
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
1 cup regular whipping cream at room temperature
Salt and white pepper to taste
Parsley, snipped, for garnish

1. If using bacon, sauté bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Then transfer to a double thickness of paper towels to drain.

2. Boil chopped potatoes in water for about 4 minutes. Use 4- or 5-quart pan, but only use as much water as you need. When finished, drain potatoes and remove from pan. Wipe pan dry to use for next step.

3. Melt butter or bacon fat in the same pan used for the potatoes.

4. Sauté onions on medium heat until tender.

5. Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.

6. Crumble the cooked bacon into the pot. Also add undrained clams, clam juice, basil, thyme, heavy cream, regular cream, and cooked potatoes.

7. Bring to a gentle simmer. Gently simmer for about 10 minutes.

8. Season with salt and white pepper.

9. Serve hot with a bit of snipped parsley sprinkled on the top.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Streusel Bread

(marks on top are from turning out onto rack)

I saw a recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread floating around facebook the other day.  Since I've learned the hard way not to trust "recipes" on facebook, I tracked down an original version from 2009 by Joy the Baker.  I was fully prepared to follow the vegan recipe, but then I decided I just didn't want to.  There is no reason at all for me to forgo eggs and butter and dairy products, especially when the tradeoff is a cup or two of vegetable oil.  I asked in a comment what the substitutions would get the recipe back from vegan.  Well, that was four days ago and I'm still waiting for an answer.  (I know the post is four years old, but still!  Don't I try to answer all your comments here, no matter how old the post?)  Anyway, I do hope I get an answer some day but I just couldn't wait any longer! 

So I did some more searching.  Shell has a recipe on here for Pumpkin Bread.  I found several other recipes around the internet too, each calling for different ingredients (sour cream, milk, oil, butter, etc.) and different spices in different proportions.  I decided to pick and choose the ingredients I wanted and equalize the proportions to make two loaves of pumpkin bread.  I also naturally wanted to use my own roasted pumpkin puree that I had in the freezer.  (directions for roasting pumpkin are within my Fresh Pumpkin Pie post--which the boys requested when they saw the pumpkin thawing!)  Unfortunately I didn't have walnuts, so I went with a streusel topping instead.  Next time I will definitely add walnuts along with the streusel topping, so they are listed below. 

This recipe worked perfectly for me!  I have two beautiful loaves of Pumpkin Streusel Bread cooling right now, although the boys have tasted it and proclaimed it delicious.  The bread is tender and the texture is just right.  I'll definitely be making this one again, and I'm so glad I have two whole loaves!  Okay, a loaf and a half...


Pumpkin Streusel Bread
makes 2 loaves

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger (I am out of ginger at the moment, but I fully intend to add it next time)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar

4 large eggs

4 cups fresh roasted pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice + milk to equal 1 cup)

2 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Streusel topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F.

Butter two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

 Stir dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, set aside. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually beat in brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.

Whisk sour cream and buttermilk in small bowl. Beat flour and sour cream mixtures alternately into batter in 2 additions each. Fold in 2 1/2 cups of nuts. Spoon batter equally into pans; smooth tops.

For streusel topping, stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Cut in butter, stir in walnuts.  Sprinkle tops of loaves with streusel topping. Bake bread until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Loosen edges with a butter knife, turn out onto rack and cool.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kaali Daal (Creamy Black Lentils)

My latest favorite recipe, modified from an Indian cookbook my teenage son gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

Kaali  Daal  (Creamy  Black  Lentils)
Serves 6 to 8

1 ½ cups (12 ounces) whole black lentils, soaked 6 to 24 hours
½ cup (4 ounces) split red lentils, rinsed
1 cup heavy cream
7 to 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt, preferably Fage Total
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons ghee, vegetable oil, or butter, or a combination, divided
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 to 8 serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeded, pithed, and diced
5-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated with microplane
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon or more salt, divided
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
Cilantro leaves for garnish
Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish

1. Drain the black lentils and place in heavy 5-quart pan with the rinsed red lentils. Add water to pan until it is about 1 inch above lentils.

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 1½ hours. Check occasionally to make sure the pot is simmering. If water seems low, add a cup of water.

3. Meanwhile, in medium-sized bowl, mix together cream, yogurt, and cornstarch. Set aside.

4. In small frying pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon ghee over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and stir until fragrant but not burnt. Set aside.

5. When lentils are done, drain some of the cooking water, leaving about a cup. The lentils then may be mashed, partially mashed, or neither. Set lentils aside to cool.
6. Heat three tablespoons of ghee in wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, garlic, tomatoes, chilies, and ginger until onion is soft.

7. To onions, add turmeric, chili powder, ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook over medium heat 2 minutes.

8. When lentils have cooled to close to room temperature, stir in toasted cumin seeds.

9. Stir in cream mixture until well-combined

10. Stir in sautéed onion mixture.

11. Stir in 2 teaspoons or more salt to taste.

12. Warm daal over medium heat without allowing it to boil.

13. Serve in bowls and, if desired, place a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top and a few cilantro leaves.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I cannot remember where I found this recipe originally, but it was a good fall/winter night type dish so I filed it and finally tried it with a few modifications.  Hubs loved it and I will be making it again!
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic & herbs, undrained
1 package Chicken Stove Top Stuffing
1 KNORR chicken bouillon gel tub
1 cup hot water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Basil paste
4 slices or 1 cup grated  mozzarella cheese
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Whisk together hot water, bouillon tub, garlic and basil paste until well blended.
  • In a mixing bowl mix together the stuffing mix, tomatoes and bouillon mixture until stuffing is moistened.
  • In a 9x9 baking dish sprayed with PAM, layer evenly first the chicken, then the cheese and topped with the stuffing mixture.
  • Bake 45 minutes - chicken will be cooked through and stuffing will be beginning to crust.
  • Cut it like a lasagna and serve with salad.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

S'mores Brownies

This month, the blog I was assigned for Secret Recipe Club was:

Originally I was planning to make Melissa's Peach Ice Cream, but I was going to make it with apricots since my tree was producing a ton and my peach tree wasn't ripe yet.  I didn't get around to it quickly enough, and before I knew it my apricots were no longer in season.  Peaches still aren't in season around here.

So I decided to search for a brownie recipe.  For obvious reasons.  ;-)

I didn't get past the very first brownie recipe in the category before my mind was made up:

S'mores Brownies.

The bottom brownie recipe is a bit fussy, but goes together quickly and turns out delicious!  Easier if you have all your ingredients ready to whisk in ahead of time.  Next time, I will sprinkle the chocolate chips on brownies before adding the marshmallows and graham crackers so they melt a bit more.

The brownies were a hit!  Everyone loved them!

S’mores Brownies

originally adapted from The Science of Good Cooking
makes 24

Brownie Ingredients:
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 oz. unsweetened Baker’s chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons. vanilla extract
2½ cups sugar
1¾ cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
½ cup mini marshmallows (optional)

Topping Ingredients:

3 cups mini marshmallows
5 graham crackers, broken
½ cup milk chocolate chips

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13ʺx9ʺ pan with foil and grease the foil.

 Whisk cocoa and boiling water together in a large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk unto chocolate is melted. Whisk in oil and melted butter (mixture may look curdled).

Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla. Continue to whisk until smooth and homogenous. Whisk in the sugar until fully incorporated.

With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour and salt. Fold in the milk chocolate chips and marshmallows, if using.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

Meanwhile, combine the marshmallows and the graham crackers in a medium bowl.

Pull the brownies out of the oven and sprinkle the marshmallow mixture evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the marshmallows.

Return the brownies to the oven and bake another 10–15 minutes, until the marshmallows are puffed and golden.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil liner. Set them back on the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Cut into squares and serve.

Secret Recipe Club

Sunday, August 4, 2013


This makes 12 or so meatballs
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg, whisked

zest of half a lemon

3 tablespoons sesame oil
Marinara pasta sauce
3-4 slices mozzarella
  • Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.
  • In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 10 ingredients. 
  • Shape into golf-ball size balls and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet. 
  • In a small bowl, mix one spoonful of your pizza sauce with olive oil. 
  • Brush this mixture on top of each meatball. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. 
  • Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  
  • Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan. 
  • Serve meatballs with pasta and a dollop of sauce.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Every recipe we tried recently was excellent, but this dessert was melt-in-your-mouth decadently good!  It was also rich so I'm very glad I made it in these small ramekins for individual servings!
1/2 pound softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 JUMBO eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth.
  • Add eggs, beating until incorporated after each egg.
  • Beat in sour cream.
  • Pour into ramekins.
  • Set ramekins in a baking dish and add water to midway up the ramekins.
  • Place in the center of the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until the edges are set, but the centers are still jiggly.
  • Turn off oven and leave cheesecakes undisturbed for 1 hour.
  •  After 1 hour transfer ramekins to cooling rack and cool completely before covering.
  • Cover and chill cheesecakes in the refrigerator at least several hours, preferably overnight.
  • Meanwhile make the caramel.
  • In a heavy saucepan heat the corn syrup.
  • Stir in the sugar until well incorporated and cook over a moderately high heat, undisturbed until a deep amber caramel forms.
  • Turn off heat and carefully stir in butter with a long spoon.  Careful, it will spit.
  • Add the heavy cream in a thin stream, stirring constantly until smooth.
  • Add salt and blend well.
  • Transfer the caramel to a heatproof container and allow to cool.
To serve:
  • Heat caramel in small increments until desired temperature.
  • Pour a spoonful over each cheesecake and serve.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


When I first started blogging it was about home renovations that were forced on us when we bought some investment property.  Soon after though I realized that my favorite blogs to read and the women I met were those of the foodie genre.  Since then I have made more recipes from the scraps of paper I collected over the years.  Some were real duds, but some shone brightly.

Tonight the Lemon Cream Chicken shined the brightest of all recent recipes I've tried. So, I'm going to share it with you and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
1/3 cup WONDRA flour
salt and pepper to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves**
3 tablespoons butter
1 KNORR chicken homestyle stock tub
3/4 cup hot water
1 cup whipping cream
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Wash and dry chicken pieces.
  • Generously salt and pepper each side.
  • Dredge in the flour, pressing to coat well.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter.
  • Add chicken pieces and brown on each side.  Remove chicken and keep warm.
  • Add KNORR stock and hot water, whisking into drippings until well blended.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and simmer about 10 minutes until reduced by half.
  • Whisk in the lemon juice and whipping cream until well blended.  
  • Reduce heat and add mushrooms cooking about 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender.
  • Simmer to desired consistency.
  • Pour over chicken and mashed potatoes.
**I use thinly sliced chicken steaks which are basically chicken breasts that are sliced at least once and many times 3 times.  This helps for portion control and works wonders!  Since my last surgery and for medical reasons I'm supposed to eat less each meal and eat more meals.  This it happens allows me to try even more recipes as long as I adjust them to feed 2.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grilled Pineapple Chicken

This month, my assignment for Secret Recipe Club was:

Maria has lots of great-sounding recipes, but it's summer and it's hot and I wanted to cook something on the grill.  So I made my choice:  her Grilled Pineapple Chicken Kabob Foil Packets.  While the name is a mouthful, the recipe is pretty darn good.  Easy to put together, I had just about everything in my kitchen to whip these up.  We make Campfire Potatoes a lot, but I don't remember doing any packets with meat in them, not sure why.

I packaged mine up ahead of time, then tossed them on the grill just before dinner. 

My husband didn't make it home for dinner, so I had two younger taste-testers.  My oldest boy liked it and ate his whole dinner.  I should have made rice to go with these!  My youngest said he didn't like the chicken, but he did eat a couple bites.

These would be very good with rice, and I think next time I'll cook them just a bit less.  I used my own peach jam from last summer, and I decided to coat the chicken with the preserve mixture first, instead of piling it on with the vegetables.  It worked great.

Before grilling, 1 serving

Grilled Pineapple Chicken Foil Packs
Adapted from Close to Home 
Makes 4 servings
1/3 cup pineapple, peach or apricot preserves (I used my own peach jam)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used a pinch)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch cubes (1 lb)
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (I used 2 yellow peppers I had)
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 red onion, cut in 1 inch cubes (I only used 1/2 an onion)
salt, to taste

Heat grill on medium heat.  In small bowl, stir together pineapple preserves, brown sugar, soy sauce and crushed red pepper.  Add chicken breast chunks and toss until coated.

Cut 8 (12×12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil. Divide coated chicken, bell peppers, pineapple chunks and onion evenly among foil sheets. Sprinkle each lightly with salt. Seal edges tightly, folding and rolling in toward the center three or four times.  Seal opposite sides, then fold edges in on last two sides and roll in a similar fashion, taking care not to package the food too snugly but sealing edges carefully so juices don't leak out when flipped.

Reduce grill to low.  Place packets on grill over low heat. Cover grill; cook 6 minutes. Using tongs, carefully turn packets over, taking care not to puncture foil. Cook 10 to 12 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink in center and vegetables are crisp-tender.

***If you're looking for a fun new food blog event, look no further!  Taste & Create is a fabulous monthly blog event in which participants are randomly paired off to choose and prepare a dish from their partner's blog. 
 If you'd like to join us, please email me at 
cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information!  
We'd love to have you.***

Secret Recipe Club

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Olive and Eggplant Spread

Olive and Eggplant Spread
Serves 8

2 eggplants, each 1 to 1.5 pounds, washed and dried
½ cup olive oil, divided
¾ cup pitted Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted
2 to 3 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Then score flesh ½-inch deep in a crosshatch pattern.

2. Rub eggplant halves all over with ¼ cup olive oil. Place cut sides down on a baking sheet.

3. Bake on the middle rack of a 375°F. oven until flesh is browned and very tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.

4. Scoop flesh from eggplant into a large food processor; discard skin.

5. Into food processor, also add olives, capers, remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

6. Process until mixture is smooth.

7. Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature with Pita Toasts, baguette slices, or water crackers.

NOTE: From the Gourmet Cookbook, which says, “This is very similar to the Provencal olive condiment known as tapenade, but it’s beefed up with eggplant, which gives it a more luxurious texture and, not incidentally, makes it less expensive to prepare.

Original recipe called for extra-virgin olive oil, but I used regular olive oil, and I thought the spread turned out deliciously.

The spread can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


It was another scorcher here today of 112 degrees and monsoony humid so we stayed inside and painted the bathroom and a bedroom.  I'm exhausted though so decided to make this simple recipe for the grill.  It was made even simpler by having the lime juice in the freezer.  I buy the fruit and then squeeze it all at once making it into cubes for future recipes. And then even simpler yet by converting the fresh herbs into dry measurements and using a mortar & pestle to revive them.  This was a substitute for tonight, but I highly recommend using the fresh when you can.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
4 chicken thighs, about 1 pound*
4 chicken drumsticks, about 1 pound*
  • In a small food processor mix together everything except the chicken.
  • Wash and dry the chicken pieces.
  • Pour herb mixture into a large ziploc bag and add chicken pieces.  Marinate chciken for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
  • Heat grill and spray with PAM for grilling especially if using skin free pieces.
  • Place chicken pieces on grill, reserving the marinade.
  • Cook on one side and then turning to other side.  Time will vary drastically based on type of chicken pieces you are using.
  • Pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat and then remove from heat.
  • Brush over chicken pieces.
*I use whatever I have on hand - breasts, tenders, etc....

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blueberry Butter

This recipe comes from a new-to-me cookbook, that I borrowed from a friend and decided was so good I just had to have my own copy!  The book is from Michigan, and is called Hollyhocks & Radishes: Mrs. Chard's Almanac Cookbook, which you may remember from the delicious Rhubarb Bundt Cake I posted a few weeks ago. There are so many recipes on my list to try.

I was planning on making this with a case of blueberries I bought, and even successfully found and purchased some mace, but my boys beat me to the fruit.  My friends in Oregon just harvested 163.4 pounds of blueberries, so I am publishing this for them.  I am sure it's fabulous.  Here's the book, you might as well go order your copy now!

Blueberry Butter
Yield:  8 pints
Prepare: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour

2 quarts fresh blueberries
8 large, green cooking apples
8 cups sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mace

Wash and drain blueberries; peel, core and slice apples.  Combine in a Dutch oven or pot with remaining ingredients. 

Bring to a boil, stirring.  Lower heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring periodically, or until right consistency for spreading.

May be stored in the freezer or water-bath canned.  If the latter, process 10 minutes (or adjust for your altitude).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Honey & Chili Chicken

Modified only slightly from theKitchn. Follow link to see a picture.

Honey & Chili Chicken
with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Serves 8

½ cup amber ale
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Roughly chopped cilantro for garnish

Creamy Cilantro Sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (about 1 bunch)
1 lime’s zest and juice
½ teaspoon salt

1. Whisk together ale, honey, vinegar, olive oil, and chili powder in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and stir until the thighs are evenly coated. The chicken can be cooked immediately or marinated in the fridge for up to three hours.

3. Arrange chicken thighs on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, keeping the chicken pieces slightly separated. Drizzle any remaining dressing over chicken.

4. Roast in 450°F. until cooked thoroughly and the thickest part of the thighs register 165°F. with an instant-read thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes.

5. If cilantro sauce wasn’t made up to a day ahead, then, while the thighs are roasting, make the cilantro sauce by placing all sauce ingredients in a small food processor.

6. Process continuously until the cilantro is minced very finely and the sauce is light green.

7. Serve the chicken after spooning any extra glaze from the pan over the hot chicken and garnishing it with roughly chopped cilantro. Serve with Creamy Cilantro Sauce.

NOTE: Easy, quick, and delicious! Easily multiplied. Great for a crowd. Good served with rice. Sometime try substituting apple juice for ale.

              Chicken thighs can be grilled covered over high heat for 4 minutes on each side.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Shell for Ice Cream

This is an incredibly easy and delicious recipe I got from Aunt Becky.  I got the coconut oil from Aunt Gina, who got it at Costco.  

You really won't believe how simple this is.  After it is melted together, you just pack ice cream onto a cone and dip it carefully!  Or you can spoon it over ice cream in a bowl.  Or just eat it with a spoon.  There's no judgement here at all.  You can see I used just the right amount of chocolate, it's pooling at the bottom of my very precariously top-heavy cone.

I made 1 batch, covered 4 ice cream cones with it, ate a couple spoonfuls, and still had almost a whole pint of chocolate leftover!  Don't forget to store this in the refrigerator and reheat as necessary.  

Becky uses a microwave, I used a saucepan, it's all good.  I had some Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips in the cupboard, so that's what I used.  Becky told me she uses fancy chocolate sometimes, but usually semi-sweet or dark chips.  I was dreaming of that 11 pounds of gianduja I had once upon a time...might be time to order that again!  (and follow the link, if only to read my story!  Don't worry, I have an email in to the company, asking how I can get more since it didn't come up on a search)

Chocolate Coconut Shell
1/2 cup coconut oil
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cup chocolate chips (guess which one I used?) 

Gently melt and stir together in microwave or saucepan.  Cool slightly, then dip solidly formed ice cream cones or spoon over ice cream.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator, if you can make it last that long.


UPSIDE DOWN APPLE PIE  Yield: 8 servings.
original recipe from Taste of Home

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons shortening (Crisco stick)
2 tablespoons cold butter
5 to 7 tablespoons orange juice

6 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup Imperial Sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (I like honey crisp or Granny Smith) (about 1/8-inch thick)

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice

  • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening and butter until crumbly.
  • Gradually add orange juice, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
  • Divide dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Line a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate with heavy-duty foil, leaving 1-1/2 in. beyond edge; coat the foil with cooking spray.
  • Combine 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and nuts; spoon into prepared pie plate.
  • In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining butter; toss gently.
  • On waxed paper, roll out one ball of pastry to fit pie plate.
  • Place pastry over nut mixture, pressing firmly against mixture and sides of plate; trim to 1 in. beyond plate edge.
  • Fill with apple mixture.
  • Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim to 1/4 in. beyond plate edge.
  • Fold bottom pastry over top pastry; seal and flute edges. Cut four 1-in. slits in top pastry.
  • Bake at 375° for 50-55 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown (cover edges with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning).
  • Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving platter; carefully remove foil. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over pie. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Potato-Fennel Gratin

My friend gave me this recipe after we each received a big fennel bulb in our weekly Bountiful Baskets.  She said it's one of her favorites, and when she says that you know it's good!

This is a savory, comforting dish, with the delicate flavor of fennel and sauteed onions.  I used regular Swiss as I was out of Gruyere and it was great.  Next time I'll watch mine a little closer, I had to run a long errand and put my husband in charge, and the edges were a bit burned, but still delicious!

Try some the next time you run across some fresh fennel!

Potato-Fennel Gratin 
From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep 20 min
Inactive 10 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min

Yield: 10 servings

2 small fennel bulbs
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 pounds russet potatoes (4 large potatoes)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (1/2 pound), or regular Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the inside of a 10-by-15-by-2-inch (10-cup) baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until tender.

Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.

Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.

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