Archive for December, 2010

Orange-Braised Chicken with Almond Sauce

This is another recipe I found in my chicken recipe book.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (we used less, because we used less than a whole onion)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (we used half an onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (we did garlic to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (we didn’t use)
  • 4 skinless chicken legs or 8 skinless drumsticks or thighs (we used 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 1 inch-cube fresh ginger (we used a pinch of ground ginger)
  • 2  jalapeño peppers (we did not use)
  • 6 navel oranges
  • 4 ounces blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown, about 5 min.

2. Add garlic, allspice (if using), and chicken. Cook chicken 2 min on each side.

3.  Add broth and bring to simmer. Season with salt. Cover and cook on low for 45 min or until chicken is cooked through. (We turned the chicken at the half-way mark.)

4. (If using fresh ginger, peel and coarsely chop. If using, remove the majority of the seeds from the  jalapeños.) Grate 1 teaspoon of orange zest from your oranges (we used 1 teaspoon of orange juice). Place the ginger, jalapeños, orange zest/juice, almonds, sugar and some salt in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles almond paste. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

5. Peel the oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the white pith from the orange. Cut in between membranes to release the segments. (Okay, so there was a little debate with this step. My sister and I thought that this was telling us to remove all of the “insides” from the orange, while my mom thought this meant just to separate all of the pieces. Since she was in charge of the oranges she won, but I really think it would have been better to remove all the “insides” from each piece.)

6. When chicken is finished cooking, remove from pan. Add almond paste and whisk to combine. Remove from heat and add orange segments. Spoon over chicken to serve.

Verdict: I’m not sure if we changed the complexion of the sauce too much by removing the jalapeños, or because we did the oranges wrong, or if we left the almond paste a little too gritty, but while the recipe wasn’t terrible tasting in any way, it just didn’t seem to come together.

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Kit Kat Blondies

I found this recipe on the Picky Palate blog. In the recipe it said you could choose to make them as blondies or to make them as cookies; I chose blondies.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (neither me nor my sister are fond of white chocolate, so we use regular chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (didn’t use because of the salted butter we were using)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (35% cream)
  • 10 Kit Kat sticks (we used only 2 bars, so 8 sticks)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the chocolate chips and stir until smooth.

2. Mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt (if using) in a large bowl. Mix in chocolate mixture. Add eggs and cream. (We used slightly more than 2 tablespoons of cream, because it was a little too dry with just 2 tablespoons).

3. Break up (or crumble) Kit Kat sticks and add to mixture.

4. Pour into brownie pan and bake 30-35 min.

Verdict: Brought them to my family’s house for the Christmas holidays and everyone there loved them. For me, the blondies I have made in the past have had more of a chocolate chip cookie taste than these blondies did and I found that a baked Kit Kat is a little too mushy for me.

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In Search of: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, Part 3: Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie

I can’t remember exactly where I found this recipe but I think it is probably another one I found in the French Metro newspaper.

There was probably salt in the original recipe, which I didn’t include in the copy of the recipe I kept because I use salted butter.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2.  Mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder.

3. In a large bowl, mix together egg, brown sugar, butter and vanilla.

4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the brown sugar mixture.

5. Add in coconut and chocolate chips.

6. Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 12 min.

I love these cookies! And so had everyone I’ve made them for. The batter is a little too sweet to eat unbaked, but the cookies stay moist (as long as they are properly stored) for days after.

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Lasagna Spirals

I’m a little unsure about where I found this recipe. A part of me thinks it was in the French Metro newspaper (a lot of my early recipes come from there), but another part of me thinks it’s based on a recipe we found on a handout from one of the grocery stores around here.

  • 1/2 lbs of ground beef
  • Garlic to taste
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (I usually use the smaller cans. You can also use plain tomato sauce or one of the flavoured varieties. This time around, I used plain tomato sauce)
  • 2/3 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Brown the meat. Garlic to taste.

2. Add tomato sauce and leave simmering.

3. Cook lasagna noodles (as per directions on the package). Drain. Rinse with cold water.

4. Spread a bit of mozzarella cheese on each noodle.

5. Roll up noodles.

6. Spread some sauce on the bottom of an oven dish. Arrange spirals in a single layer, seam side down. Cover with rest of sauce.

7.  Cover dish with aluminium foil. Bake at 350F for 40 min.

8. Can serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Verdict: I kind of liked these better than the last spirals I made. The other recipe was a little more complex, so I sort of forgot about this one (I has also tried it a long time ago). It may be ‘simpler’ but I found I really didn’t miss the chicken at all.

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In Search of: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, Part 2: Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookie

I know I found this recipe online somewhere, but I can’t seem to find the website where I found it. The only place I found in online was on a blog I’m sure I’ve never gone to before. Weird.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (didn’t use because I use salted butter)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I find that way too much. I used 1 1/2 cup and still had some leftover when I finished with the dough)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt (if using).

3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add vanilla, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4.  Add flour and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

5. Drop cookies onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 min (I was using a shaped cookie pan and they took about 12-15 min).

This is the second time I’ve made these cookies. I’m trying to work through my previous chocolate chip recipes before I try new ones in the next year. I was interested in this one because it’s similar to my mom’s recipe: no white sugar only brown sugar. The dough was a little dry so I didn’t eat as much as I normally would have 🙂

The dough made 50 cookies, though I was using a shaped pan and the cookies are smaller than I would normally make.

I pretty much love all chocolate chip cookies, but I do think that the Soft Chew cookies were a little better than this recipe.

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Chicken Corn Chowder

This is another recipe from my chicken recipe book.

  • 2 tablespoons butter (we used a little less)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (we used half an onion)
  • 2 boiling or all-purpose potatoes (we used 2 large potatoes that we had in the house, I don’t know what type they were)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 to 1/4 pound chicken breast (2 or 3 chicken breasts. We cook in the oven before starting.)
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed (we just used one can of corn)
  • Salt
  • 2 cups parsley, cilantro or dill (that sounds like too much of any of those ingredients! We didn’t use any of them)
  • Pepper
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce (optional; we did not use)

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan (or large pot) over low heat. Add onion, cover and cook under translucent, about 5 min. Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.

2. Add the broth, water and potatoes to the pan/pot and bring to boil. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 10 min. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes.

3. Add corn and salt to taste. Let simmer 5 min. Add chicken (the recipe says to let simmer until chicken is cooked through. We let it simmer the same amount of time, even though our chicken was already cooked; 5 min).

4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, cilantro or dill (if using) and salt and pepper to taste. If you wish, add Tabasco to each serving portion.

Verdict: I honestly have no idea why this is called a chowder. It’s more like a chicken vegetable soup. I loved it, but to me a chowder is supposed to be thicker than this soup was.

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Raspberry Layer Cupcakes

Second to last recipe from my cupcake book!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (didn’t use because we used salted butter)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (or melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar (didn’t use)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin cups with cooking spray or paper lining. (The recipe was for 18, we made 21 cupcakes.)

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt (if using) in a medium bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, mixing until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. Bake 18 to 20 min, or until done. (Ours took 18 minutes.) Let cool completely.

4. Cut cupcakes into thirds crosswise. (We just cut them in half.) Spread jam over bottom layer, top with middle layer, spread more jam then top with top layer. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top.

Verdict: The vanilla base wasn’t bad, we’ve just had better. And the jam didn’t really seem to match the vanilla cupcake. We’re just going to eat the rest with chocolate frosting.

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