Archive for November, 2010

Pan-Roasted Herbed Potatoes and Chicken

Even though the recipe is called ‘pan-roasted’, when I think of something being roasted I think of it being in the oven, but this recipe is more ‘pan-fried’ than roasted.

Still working my way through my chicken cookbook, which continues having a lot of good and interesting recipes.

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup salad dressing of your choice (we used Kraft’s Sundried Tomato and Oregano)
  • 4 large potatoes (we used 5)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (we used about 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ripe tomatoes (we did not use)

1. Cut chicken breasts into thin cutlets and pound between wax paper until they are 1/4 inch thick. Place in a shallow bowl (or re-sealable plastic bag) with dressing and set aside to marinate (the longer the better. We were only supposed to use half the dressing but we used all 1/2 cup for the marinade).

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch dice. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat about 1 min. Add potatoes, turning them until well coated in oil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are a little crusty, 10 min.

3. Turn potatoes over (the book said to scrape off crusty bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, but we didn’t have any). Add garlic and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook potatoes another 10 min, until tender. (If using tomatoes, core them and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Marinate in 1/4 cup of dressing.)

4. When potatoes are almost soft, add the chicken and marinade juices on top. (I don’t like adding raw chicken to something already cooked, so we cooked the chicken and the marinade on the side and when it was cooked we added it to the potatoes.) Cover and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through, 5 min.

5. If using, spoon tomatoes onto serving plate and top with chicken and potatoes. (We served chicken and potatoes with a side of mixed vegetables.)

Verdict: A keeper. Loved the potatoes and chicken. Yum.


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Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

This is another recipe from my cupcake book. Only 4 more left, after this one, that I want to try from this book and then I can say I finished my first cookbook.

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix (ours was a Devil’s Food cake)
  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (which is like a whole regular size bag)
  • 2 containers chocolate frosting (1 – we did not use; 2 – whoa, that’s a lot of frosting)
  • Sprinkles (we did not use)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line with paper muffin cups (recipe states it makes 30, we made 39. Some were a lot smaller, some were a lot bigger, so maybe if we made them a consistent size we would have made even more.)

2. Mix cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, vegetable oil and water in large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared cups, two-thirds full.

3. Bake 25 to 28 min (they actually only needed about 15 fir us. We left the first batch in 25, because every time we jabbed it we must have been hitting chocolate chips, because they were sort of burnt when they came out). Let cool 10 min before frosting and decorating with sprinkles (cupcakes were so rich already, frosting was not needed).

Verdict: Very addictive, because my sister and I ate more of them than we should have. I don’t intend to keep this one, because I like my recipes to be less dependent on prepared mixes, but I wanted to make it so I could try sour cream in a baked good that I was pretty sure would be good. And now that I have, I’m a little less afraid of sour cream in a baking context, because you couldn’t taste it at all.


Lemon Chicken Soup With Rice

This is another recipe I tried from my chicken recipe book. 

In these last few soup recipes, I am not sure if the recipe was calling for the chicken to be cooked before adding it to the soup, but I am not comfortable with adding raw chicken to a liquid soup and waiting for it to cook in the soup, so we baked the chicken, plain, in the oven before adding in to the soup.

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups long grained rice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cooked (we used 3 pieces)
  • 12 scallions
  • 1 large red pepper, stemmed and seeded (we didn’t use)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (we used a lot less, between a teaspoon and a tablespoon)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1o-ounce package frozen green beans, thawed (we didn’t use)
  • Black pepper to taste

1. Place broth, water, rice and salt in a large pot and bring to boil over high heat. Cover and simmer until rice is almost tender 10 min (we let it simmer  a little longer).

2. Cut the chicken into 1 inch strips. Trim and thinly slice the scallions (white and green parts, though we don’t use all the green parts). If using, cut the pepper into 1/2 inch dice. Finely chop cilantro.

3. Add the lemon juice and chicken to the soup and simmer over medium heat, 3 to 5 min.

4. Add the green beans, if using, and cook until cooked through but still crisp, 2 min. Season the soup to taste. Stir in cilantro and scallions and serve immediately. (We added the scallions in first and let them cook a little before adding the cilantro and serving the soup).

Verdict: My mom and sister liked it, to an extent, though neither were really fond of the lemon or cilantro taste. I couldn’t get past the lemon or cilantro taste (and can hereby add cilantro to the food I don’t eat) and didn’t like it at all. Not a keeper.

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Brownie Cupcakes

Another weekend, another cupcake recipe from the 100 Best Cupcake Recipe book. Though I wasn’t impressed with this book’s recipes when I first started going through them, these last few recipes haven’t been bad.

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (optional, but we used walnuts; I’m not sure the exact quantity we used, but it may have been more than 1/4 cup, because we didn’t make mini muffins like the recipe was intended to make)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare your muffin mould (with paper cups or butter or cooking spray). Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add eggs, beat well.

2. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, if using, in a small bowl. Gradually add to butter mixture. Mix until well blended. Fill muffin cups 1/2 full. Sprinkle with nuts.

Note:  The mini muffins are supposed to bake 12 to 15 min. We didn’t use mini muffin cups, or even normal size muffin cups, we used a new shaped muffin pan I recently bought and the cupcakes took about 20 min to cook. We made 8, but dropped one on the floor while taking them out of the mould and the dog was on it in a second.

Verdict: Loved the cupcakes. Loved my new dinosaur cupcake/muffin pan 🙂

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Cupcake Sliders

Haven’t made cupcakes in awhile, it seems. But this weekend I continued with working my way through my cupcake book.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (because we used salted butter, we didn’t use more salt)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • Chocolate frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 24 (the book says 18, but we made 24 cupcakes) muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine flour, baking powder (and salt, if using) in a medium bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup/small bowl. Beat sugar and butter with electric mixer until creamy (or, my method, melt the butter and mix it into sugar with a wooden spoon because the electric mixer we have is too fast and splatters food everywhere). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of flour mixture, mix, then add the milk mixture, mix, and add rest of flour mixture, mixing until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. Bake 18 to 20 min, or until done. Let cool 10 min.

We differed from the book a little here, because to make the cupcake sliders like the book wanted, we were supposed to cut the edges off to square them up, then cut in half and fill with frosting. Not wanting to waste the cupcake, we just cut them in half and filled with frosting, at least with a couple, because it wasn’t all that worth it. For the rest we just topped with frosting like a normal cupcake.

Verdict: The slider part isn’t really useful, but I loved the vanilla cupcake this recipe made. (My mom thought it tasted like the cupcakes we make from the store bought cake mix.) It’s a useful base for other types of cupcakes.


Chicken Minestrone

This Minestrone recipe was a little odd to me, because it didn’t have any pasta or rice; I know that they aren’t necessary for Minestrone, but most of the Minestrone soups I have seen had one or the other.

This recipe is another from my Monday to Friday Chicken book.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (we used about half of this, and it was still too much
  • 1 onion, sliced into small half moons
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (we didn’t use)
  • 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with their juices (the cans here are a little bigger than 2 cups and we used the whole thing)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 to 1 1/4 lbs skinless, boneless, cooked chicken
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we didn’t use)
  • 1/2 cup parsley or basil (we used basil, but a lot less than 1/2 cup. More like a couple of tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 4 to 5 min. Meanwhile, cut the carrots into 1/2 inch rounds.

2. Add the carrots and cabbage to the onion, cover, and cook 5 min. Add some water if they begin to stick to the bottom.

3. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower and simmer, covered, 10 min. (I actually forgot to put the water in at this point, and had to backtrack later. But it didn’t hurt anything, luckily.) Meanwhile, cut the zucchini and chicken into cubes.

4. Add the chicken, zucchini, and beans. Cover and simmer another 10 min.

5. Season the soup to taste. Remove from heat and add parsley/basil. Sprinkle each individual bowl with Parmesan, if desired.

Verdict: A keeper, though I did think there was too much in the soup (which is the whole point of a Minestrone, I know). Next time, I think I might take out the zucchini and try it with some small pasta noodles. My mom had made rice on the side and she and my sister stirred in some cooked rice and liked that version, so that works too.

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Mini Tuna (and Chicken) Pot Pies and Meat Muffins

These are 3 of the recipes I tend to make more often, because of how easy they are to make. The Mini Tuna Pot Pies were a recipe I found in the free French newspaper and they were one of the first successful recipes I tried on my own. The Chicken recipe is a variation from my mom, because my sister does not like tuna. I think there were a few years in between when I found the Tuna recipe and when I saw the Meat Muffin recipe in the French newspaper.

Mini Tuna Pot Pies

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 boiled egg (I hard-boil the egg, but I guess soft-boiled could work too)

  • 1 Pillsbury Croissant Roll tube
  • Mozzarella cheese

1. Mix tuna, mayonnaise, egg and onion.

2. Roll out crusts and cut into 12 pieces (I get 12; my mom, somehow, gets so much more). Place in a muffin tin. Spread mixture evenly between them. Pull the corners of the crust up and cover mixture.

3. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350F until golden (10 to 15min).

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

  • 1 cup of chicken (fried, roasted or baked)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (I don’t always use onion in the chicken version)
  • 1 boiled medium potato, chopped
  • 1 Pillsbury Croissant Roll tube
  • Mozzarella cheese

Made the same way. Mix ingredients. Cut out shells. Fill, close, and sprinkle with cheese.

Meat Muffins

(My mom has made this one with 1 boiled potato, mashed up. I like it just fine without the potato.)

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 450g of ground beef (minced meat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Pillsbury Croissant Roll tube
  • Mozzarella cheese

1. Brown onion in butter, about 3 min.

2. Add meat, marjoram, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until there is no pink meat.

3. Drain. Preheat oven to 425F.

4. Divide dough between 12 muffin moulds.

5. Divide meat evenly between them.

6. Sprinkle with cheese.

7. Bake 8 to 10 min.

I love all 3 of these recipes pretty equally, but I seem to make the Mini Tuna Pot Pies and Meat Muffins more often.

I serve with rice (plain or flavoured).


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