Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

Always looking for things to make ahead thought I'd try this recipe to have a coffee cake ready for breakfast the next day.  I had never noticed Cinnamon Chips in the baking aisle before so was curious to try them.  Moist cake, I made it in a 13 x 9 pan but it would make a nicer presentation in the tube/bundt pan.

I got this recipe from the Hershey site:  http://www.hersheys.com/recipes.aspx  living in Pennsylvania Hershey is a part of everyday life so maybe I am a bit biased but Hershey products have always been good, reliable, and easy to use.


Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake

1 c butter--softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c applesauce
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 c cinnamon chips (I found Hershey brand)
1 c pecans


glaze:

3/4 c powdered sugar
 a drizzle of water
1/8 tsp vanilla

heat oven to 350
prepare pan with crisco
beat sugar and butter till creamy, add eggs one at a time, vanilla, then mix in applesauce.

combine flour, soda, salt and add to wet mixture, blend well

stir in chips and pecans spread into pan
bake 30-35 min for 13 x 9 pan cool



mix powdered sugar with vanilla very slowly drizzle in water until desired consistency then drizzle over cake.


with my new "Mary Poppins" mug!
"Practically perfect in every way"









Friday, December 24, 2010

Crab Chowder

       I had planned to blog all my holiday recipes, days of delicious meals but I got so busy cooking most didn't get pictures and some recipes now escape me.  I will have to plan ahead next year if I want them blogged.  We enjoy our many heritages highlighting them in different ways throughout the year but especially at the holidays when so much of what we do is about family.  Christmas Eve we have a big meal of seafood, while we don't do the traditional Italian 7 fishes we do a few seafood dishes we enjoy.  The Italian heritage comes from my husbands side his mom is half Italian, so through the years I have learned of their traditions.  Her other half is English, German, & American Indian.  My husbands father is 100% Irish and my family is Irish, Welsh, English, German, and American Indian.  So our traditions come from many different backgrounds but we enjoy them all and passing them on to the next generation.

This chowder is quite easy and I will make it throughout the year, but it definitely gets made for Christmas Eve.

Crab Chowder

bacon
carrots
onion        >vegies all chopped to similar size
celery
potatoes
corn--optional
pepper
old bay
broth (fish stock, chic broth, veg broth whatever you prefer)
1/2 & 1/2
crabmeat ( I don't make this often so when I do I splurge on jumbo lump)



Saute bacon in large pot, remove when browned leaving drippings, saute carrots, onion, celery when onions have started to brown add broth, spices to taste and potatoes.  Let this simmer for a while (an hour or more) to get all the flavors to merge together you can add more broth if it starts cooking down.






















When you are ready to serve add corn (if you like it in your chowder) add the 1/2 & 1/2  till you like the consistency, then gently fold in crab so as not to break up the lumps to much.  Serve & enjoy.





      *Spices I would taste to my liking while broth is still simmering they need to be blended in before adding cream and crab.

{I don't have measurements here because it is really to taste, I add broth to cover vegies completely and if I am making this for just the 2 of us i would probably use 1 large onion, 2 med carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large potato and about 1/2 lb crab, in which case the rest of the crab could be used for the meal either crabcake, on top of steak, chic or fish, or in a pasta dish.}


I had served this with  broiled seafood, cheese tortellini with red sauce, and a spinach casserole.

Spinach Casserole 

Finished Spinach casserole with a crunchy onion edge.

Cheese Tortellini with Red Sauce.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Treat

We get a very generous gift each year of homemade chocolate goodies.  It has candies but is mostly everyday favorites dipped in chocolate such as pretzels, marshmellows, nut clusters, etc.  While it is all wonderful (what dipped in chocolate wouldn't be?) but the favorite is the Oreo's dipped in chocolate.  I know you can buy Oreo's covered in chocolate but for some reason these are above and beyond the store bought.  So when the always beautiful tray arrives I try to keep it in tact until everyone arrives home, usually the first home has been carefully reaching around the wrappings taking out an Oreo so there is always a "shortage".  Well not this year I decided when that happened I would have a box ready to pull out that I had dipped........big hit with everyone. The only issue is not eating to many so this will be limited to holidays or special occasions. I think they become so rich one is about all I can handle, but with a cup of tea or coffee it is so satisfying.

Dipped Oreo's

Pkg of good dipping chocolate

Oreo's

you could buy a pkg of white dipping chocolate also if you'd like to decorate them it is very easy and adds a lot to the look.

Melt your chocolate over a double boiler, dip the cookies in I used a fork and tongs to remove them and then lay them on sheets of parchment to dry.  Store in air tight container.
Easy, quick and delish!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lemon Risotto with Grilled Shrimp

Adapted from Epicurious web site and appeared in Bon Appetit 2002:  http://www.epicurious.com/



6 C low sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/4 C chopped onion
2 C arborio rice
1/4 dry white wine
1 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese 
2 T parsley
2 T lemon juice
4 tsp lemon zest
peas
leeks

Bring broth to simmer in saucepan.
Meanwhile melt butter and oil in saute pan, add onion & leeks saute till tender.  Add rice let it toast for a minute or so, then add wine and stir till liquid evaporates.  Then add 1 1/2 C broth (to cover rice) and stir till absorbed then add broth 1/2 C at a time till rice is creamy and tender.  This takes 30-40 minutes and you must stand there stirring the rice.  When it has reached the consistency you like stir in peas, parsley and then cheese.  Serve warm.


Grilled Shrimp

Shrimp-- cleaned and deveined


marinate: 
 Lemon juice
Lemon zest
olive or canola oil
chopped garlic
red pepper flakes
thyme
Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in zip loc bag let set up to 1/2 hour grill shrimp and serve.
It is winter right now and the weather was really cold so this time I got a saute pan pretty hot and seared the shrimp instead of grilling them.  Grilled shrimp is the best but this does very well when you can't use the grill.









Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata is an all time favorite of mine and just as good with Shrimp or fish.  There is something about the combination of chicken broth, lemon and capers that can't be beat.  I like this served over angel hair pasta so usually make plenty of sauce.  It also cooks quickly so is great for the night you are short on time to get dinner made.  If you are reading this blog or know me you have already realized I rarely use measurements because I mostly make things that aren't that precise.  I also adapt things to how many people are here for dinner which can change quickly.

Chicken Piccata

Chicken breasts {boneless, skinless, if you can get think cut great if not either pound them or for a quicker solution slice them crosswise not quite all the way through and then open them up like a book (otherwise known as butterflying them)}

flour (just enough for dusting each piece of chicken)
olive or canola oil
butter
garlic
white wine
chicken broth
lemon zest and juice
capers
parsley
salt and pepper

Dust each piece of chicken with flour and saute to brown each side then remove to baking dish, do in batches until all  chicken is done.


This particular night I did butterfly the chicken if you want it thinner you could also pound it after butterflying.



After all chicken is done deglaze pan with white wine (if chicken has left some burnt areas remove them) add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, broth, parsley, capers, salt, and pepper to taste.  Let simmer just a few minutes sauce will slightly thicken I add a few tablespoons of butter right at the end just till slightly melted, immediately pour over chicken and place in oven to cook chicken through.






You can add butter earlier but it cooks down and I try to cut back wherever I can, I feel like the butter right at the end is enough to still give the sauce a rich flavor.  This could also be finished in your saute pan, I like sticking it in the oven which gives me a few minutes to get the rest of the dinner ready.  Serve over pasta, with a dark green vegetable, and a salad.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I found this recipe a few years ago in "Runner's Magazine" http://www.runnersworld.com/ and it was a hit from the first loaf.  It makes 2 large loaves, is really moist and so far I haven't found anyone who doesn't enjoy it.  Finding it in the magazine doesn't mean it is low cal but at the holidays it is a treat.

3 1/2 C flour (I use 1C whole wheat)
3 C sugar (I used 2 C)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 C chocolate chips


Combine first 7 ingredients set aside, in another bowl mix wet ingredients:

4 eggs beaten
1 C canola oil
2/3 C water
2 C canned pumpkin (I like Libby's http://www.verybestbaking.com/Libbys.aspx)

combine dry and wet ingredients when mixed fold in chocolate chips


Coat 2 bread pans with cooking spray, pour half of batter in each pan bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  This freezes well wrap tight with aluminum foil and place in a ziploc, defrost when ready.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let the holidays begin 2010

Well due to a bad back I haven't updated this blog in quite some time.  I have food pictures waiting to be blogged so will try to catch up a few at a time depending on my back issue.  The holidays arrived early this year or so it seemed, but cooking seems to be endless from Thanksgiving to New Years.  Then you add in the decorating and travel plans it is a hectic schedule but worth every minute to get all that family time in.  The Christmas Cactus bloomed at Thanksgiving so even the plants were early this year.  




 So by Thanksgiving Monday it was time to decorate for the season, I was glad to get an early start.



Mom and Dad were on their way back to Virginia, another Thanksgiving in the books.