3.23.2010

Hot wings


1 Package party wings/chicken wings
1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Red Devil, Tapatio is similar)
2.5 cups flour
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ranch dressing mix
1 tbsp favorite chicken seasoning
2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp garlic salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil

One hour before cooking add chicken and hot sauce into zip lock bag. Allow chicken to marinate in hot sauce. Combine flour and all remaining ingredients, reserving oil. Heat oil over medium heat in deep skillet or frying pan. Remove wings from sauce (don't wipe them, keep them saucy as possible) and drop in flour. Fully coat in flour, then using tongs gently tap off excess flour mixture, it is mostly used to trap the hot sauce. Once oil is hot (hint: drop a bit of the flour mix in first, if it bubbles you are good to go) working in batches of ten fry chicken for about 5 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. Dry on paper towels to get rid of excess oil, serve hot with your favorite side dishes. Hint, fries and tator tots.


3.21.2010

Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2-3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup warm milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
1-.25 ounce package active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large bowl stir together warm water, melted butter and tablespoon of white sugar. Once combined add in yeast. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow yeast to foam.
2. Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together pudding mix, warm milk and egg. Add pudding to the yeast mixture and stir well. Then mix in salt and flour.
3. Form dough into a ball. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.
4. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle, approximately 17x10 inches. Spread with 1/4 cup softened butter then sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.
5. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 12 one inch slices and place in 9x13 buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
7. While cinnamon rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.

3.20.2010

Strawberry shortcake bites



After reading the comments from the Lemon Blossom website on Food Network I started getting ideas on what else I could do with this recipe. I remembered this cupcake I had from a local place in Reno, Batch Cupcakery and the wheels in my head couldn't stop turning. I ran to the store today for an iron and came home with the ingredients for cake. I went a little lighter on the icing the strawberries make it seem extra sweet. I also added chocolate chips to half the batch. They are still in the oven I will report later. (Update: such a very very very good idea.) I am thinking of trying a hint of lemon in the icing to tone down the sweetness on the next set that comes out.

Ingredients

  • 18 1/2-ounce package strawberry cake mix
  • 3 1/2-ounce package instant white chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 strawberries cut very fine
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Glaze:

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, finely chopped strawberries, water, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. In a blender add strawberries and water. Blend until smooth. Add the strawberry mix, zest, and oil to powdered sugar. Mix with a spoon until smooth. Add more water as needed.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.


Lemon Blossoms


I can't even describe the lemony goodness of these little cakes. If you can't tell they are mini. So small that one fits perfectly right in your mouth as a bite. Personally I think these would be PERFECT for a baby shower, along with the strawberry version I am posting next. I had to edit Paula Deans recipe after my first failure after that, well, pure genius. Paula's recipe doesn't call for the water. YOU NEED THE WATER. Trust me. After reading comment after comment on the recipe on Food Networks website YOU NEED THE WATER. Also, 11 minutes works better then 12 if you want them crunchy. 9 minutes is perfect if you want them soft and delectable.

Ingredients

  • 18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 3 1/2-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Glaze:

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.



3.17.2010

Meatball Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 loaf of French bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, 4 garlic cloves, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Shape into meatballs, and place in a baking dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
3. Slice the loaf of french bread in half lengthwise, and remove some of the bread from the inside to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil, and season with garlic powder. Put the loaf into the oven during the last 5 minutes of the meatballs cooking time.
5. In a large sauce pan over medium heat saute the onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and add a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. When the meatballs are done, transfer them to the sauce. Spoon onto the french bread and top with mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Slice into individual sandwiches.

3.16.2010

Lemon Loaf

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl blend together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Pour in dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add oil and mix well.
4. Pour ingredients into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. In a small bowl mix powdered sugar, milk and lemon extract. When the lemon loaf is cool, remove it from the pan and frost the top with the lemon icing.

3.15.2010

Lemon Garlic Chicken


Yet another recipe from Rachel Ray. And yet another recipe I totally had to edit. Again, whenever I cook I TASTE AS I GO, this is important. If I didn't I would have had chicken that tasted like olive oil and THAT WAS ALL. Her recipe had no flavor, and not enough honey. There were a few reasons I picked this recipe. The main one? Chicken legs are cheap and pretty fucking big. One leg feeds Rob and if I cut one in half the drummy is perfect for Brandon. I got SIX legs for $4.48 this weekend and that will make two meals plus two lunches. Hell yeah. Plus anything that stuffs garlic under chicken skin is good with me. Also I only used 3 legs. I don't know how she thinks her recipe made enough marinade for 4 but whatever.

I will put my edits in italics
  • 3 Chicken legs
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp terriyaki marinade
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 chicken legs, patted dry
  • Salt and pepper


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, terriyaki sauce and olive oil. In another bowl, stir together the garlic and lemon peel. Add butter and microwave for 25 seconds. With a fork mash butter, garlic and lemon juice together. Place the chicken in a greased 9-by- 13-inch baking dish. Using your fingers, spread the garlic mixture underneath the chicken skin. Rub the chicken all over with the honey mixture, season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer. Cover the pan with foil and roast for 15 minutes, then turn the chicken, cover the pan and roast for 10 minutes more. Uncover and roast until golden, 8 minutes. Turn broiler to low and place chicken skin side up under broiler. Baste chicken with pan drippings and sauce every couple minutes (if you are anal like me you will set the timer for every 2 minutes) until skin begins to bubble and brown. Serve and enjoy.

You will notice in the early pictures my chicken was nowhere near as brown as Rachels. I think she is full of shit. First, it wouldn't have browned cooking her way with simply flipping it and no basting. Second mine even had the dark terriyaki sauce on it and it still didn't brown like hers until I basted it.











Ice cream sandwiches the cheater cheater pumpkin eater way



I am all for baking my own cookies. In fact I love baking cookies. However, on nights when I know I'm making a meal that will involve every dish in the house, I sometimes cheat and buy pre-made dough. My husband thanks me for not having an extra bowl, beaters or mixers in the sink and flour all over the ENTIRE kitchen.

Last night I baked some cookies with little bunnies on them. I realized that I had Neapolitan ice cream and the colors matched (shut up) so I figured hey why not. You let it soften for about 15 minutes. You don't want it runny you want it just soft enough for the spoon to poke right down into it.

Since these are small cookies you only need about 1.5 tsp of ice cream. Put it right in the center, put the other cookie on top and "smoosh" down. Put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes (or eat right then and there). When it's dinner time take the cookies out and give them a bit of time to soften and then ENJOY!

Steak tacos with avocado tomato salad


First I want to apologize for the quality of the above photo. I was using my husbands point and shoot and it WAS NOT cooperating.

I got this recipe from Rachel Ray. As with most of her recipes after tasting the ingredients as I went along (you better always taste while you cook) I realized it needed some major editing. The results were pretty fucking amazing. Last night we ate it as shown, as tacos, but today my husband just took the salad part and tossed the remaining meat on and called it a steak salad for lunch. Good shit. I will italic my edits.

Directions:

  1. Preheat a grill pan (I grilled outside) over medium-high heat. Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil and the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, adobo seasoning, and steak seasoning, then rub all over the steak; season with salt and pepper. Marinate for one hour (if you are pressed for time don't worry it will still be good) Add to the grill and cook, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 5 minutes for medium-rare (they lie, four minutes was almost too much). Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain. If your meat gets cold while resting place it on a metal baking dish (think cookie sheet and throw it back on the grill. It will heat it with out making it cook through more then necessary).

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the jalapeƱos, lime peel, lime juice, tomatoes, sugar, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt (1 tsp) and pepper. Add the lettuce, avocados and onion and toss; season with salt and pepper.

  3. Divide half of the avocado salad among the taco shells, then top with the meat and the remaining avocado salad.

I also added a little sour cream. We ate it with corn on the cob but later I realized the corn would have been excellent in it.






3.14.2010

The best desserts often come from the worst fuck ups (lemon blossoms)


About two years ago I stumbled upon this recipe by Paula Dean. By stumbled upon it I mean I sat memorized in front of the TV as she practically made love to these tiny little cakes dunking them in deceitful glaze once and then once again. I bookmarked it right away and never got around to making them. Friday while chatting with Lisa I stumbled upon the recipe again and that was that, I was making those fuckers. I spent a good part of today finishing up some gifts to mail to my friends when I got the idea to wrap up the little cakes in their "sandwich" wraps as a surprise (note to friends, there will be no cakes, you will see why soon, but dammit there will be something, note 2, Niki its going out in the mail TOMORROW no matter what!)

Anyway, I followed the recipe to a T. Right away something seemed wrong, the dough was thick. And by thick, imagine softened salt water taffy. No part of that sounds like a cupcake batter huh? I figured Paula would never let me down so I plugged on. DISASTER CITY PEOPLE. The outside crisped immediately while the inside cooked up to the consistency of custard. They sunk in the middle like they were supposed to but I knew I was fucked. I pulled the edges off...hmmm, taste okay. Better make the glaze anyway. Okay, Dunked the edges in the glaze. This shit is fucking good man. I walked away from it for a while and then said fuck it. I'm making a lemon blossom strudel type cake. Basically I took all the good pieces and broke them up onto a plate and heated it up for about 30 seconds. Then I drizzled the icing over it and walked away again. Next thing I hear is my husband saying "these would be great if they were in the right shape." That was followed by, "maybe I should take some of that for lunch." So I took a bite and Goddammit it was amazing. Hell I would make it again, I would forgo the cupcake tins and probably go with a silicon pan. (Side note two damn days ago I was staring at the silicon cupcake cups thinking "I'll never use those." WRONG. I'm thinking that it has to be an altitude problem. Because it is the easiest recipe to follow that even my two year old couldn't have fucked it up.

Point is, before you give up on your mistakes try looking at them from a new angle, you might just discover a new family favorite. It may not look the best but if you close your eyes it's like eating a little bit of lemon glazed ecstasy on a fork.

Ingredients

  • 18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 3 1/2-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Glaze:

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.






3.08.2010

In case you are participating in Lent

I have a few friends participating in Lent, which means on Friday's they can't eat meat. Apparantly they can eat fish (I call bullshit, fish is meat) so I figured I would pull out a few of my favorite fish recipes from the archives.


Asian glazed sea bass

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Grilled citrus halibut

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Shrimp pasta alfredo

This is one of my favorites. I made it with and with out shrimp and it was fucking unbelievable either way. It's not a cheap meal, but it's a great special occasion meal, or romantic meal, or "I can't have red meat so make me something good woman," kinda meal.

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Finally the best meal my husband makes



Shrimp fried rice