Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Caleb's Monster Cookies

These cookies are jam packed with "stuff" but no M&Ms or raisins. I like raisins but not this time, I had a hankerin' for coconut, chocolate and toffee. Caleb was here to play taste tester for this batch, he ate a giant cookie last night and another this morning, they passed the "picky eater test".
I know my photo is a bit blurry, this boy moves constantly!
Basic cookie recipe:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
Mix ins:
1 1/4 cups coconut
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 cup pecans, broken
Or, gasp, food dyed M&Ms, ick, or whatever sounds good to you...maybe 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and oats. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and both sugars.

  Add the eggs and vanilla.

Beat well.
Add the dry ingredients just until combined.
After the flour mixture is added then stir in the "add ins" of your choice.

Drop by rounded teaspoon onto parchment lined or greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden.
Cool on rack.
Made about 3 dozen large cookies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Parmesan Chicken Nuggets for Picky Eaters, and Everyone Else Too

Second in the "Picky Eater Series" is this yummy chicken nugget recipe, Caleb really chowed on these and asked for more. Can't beat that. By the way, we all liked these, they were tender and very flavorful, more chicken than breading, definitely not the freezer or fast food variety.
Auntie Leah made these with little Mr. Caleb and I took photos, enjoy!
Chicken Nuggets
2 pounds chicken tenders
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated finely
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs ( THM use Joseph's Pita, toasted and crushed)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
First, always wash your hands.
Next, trim the chicken and cut into nugget size  pieces. Kitchen scissors made this easy, wash before and after.
Here's the gross picture...
Pour milk into a shallow bowl.
Mix all the dry ingredients together, like this...

Grease a sheet pan and a cooling rack, place rack on top of pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.
Set up an assembly line of milk, crumb mixture then pan.
Dip each piece of chicken into the milk,
then into the crumbs,
 and place on the rack.
Bake about 20 minutes or until no longer pink.

Most of us here like to dip them into ranch dressing, , but there are always those who don't like anything...except these chicken nuggets, try them soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homemade Biscuit Mix

Look at that yummy, savory muffin. I mixed it up and had it in the oven in less than 10 minutes, completely homemade. Really!
 Some times I want to play around with a muffin recipe or pancakes and beginning with a mix, for time sake, would be very convenient. However, the shortening in the store mixes is very unhealthy so I don't like to feed it to my family, especially not on a regular basis.
This recipe made about 7 cups of mix, if you use it a lot just double everything. It will keep in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks, maybe more but it doesn't last that long here.
Biscuit Mix
4 1/2 cups flour, I use spelt but all purpose works the same
3/4 cup non fat dry milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
10 tablespoons butter or coconut oil or a combination of the two
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Cut the butter in until it looks like coarse crumbs or oatmeal.

 Store in an airtight container or zip top bag in refrigerator.
We all need quick meals sometimes but they don't have to be unhealthy or tasteless.
I may use it again this weekend to make pancakes and toss some carrots or zucchini into the batter for nutrition and color. Have fun, play with your food but not after it reaches the table because as soon as it is on the plate it then magically becomes rude and my Grandmother would let you know in no uncertain terms.
Quick Pancakes
2 cups biscuit mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Mix all. Spoon batter onto hot griddle or fry pan, lightly oiled, flip when small bubbles appear.
Top with maple syrup, jam or fresh berries. It really is that simple.
Makes 10-12 4inch pancakes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Salsa! Fresh or Canned Make it Now

When you saw the post title, did you start dancing? Your mouth might dance with happiness if you fill it with this yummy goodness.
We've been using this recipe for several years, 12 or so. If you want your salsa thicker just add some tomato paste until you have it the desired consistency, you can do this either before or after the canning process.
I got the original recipe from my friend Holly, she is an amazing cook! I made a few changes to suit my own preferences, like more garlic and fresh cilantro instead of dried.
Into a large stock pot or bowl, you are not going to cook it you just need something large enough to stir everything together.
16-18 pounds tomatoes, diced
6 onions, diced
jalapenos,diced finely to taste ( I use 4-6 )
6 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons lime juice, add the zest too if you like
1/4 cup minced cilantro (or more)
1/2 cup white vinegar
10 cloves garlic, minced

Stir together, can in quarts or pints, makes about 9-10 quarts, and , of course, twice as many pints.
Can in boiling water canner, 15 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.

Don't forget to have some fresh with chips while you can the rest! Or on top of some black beans and rice--add lots of cheese for me!
Last month I cooked some chicken breasts in the crock pot with a jar of salsa, after 6 hours on high I just stuck a fork in and broke them all up into a wonderful shredded chicken I used to fill tortillas for dinner.
Need some more ideas? Let me know.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Easy Flat Bread for Fold Over Sandwiches

Make a stack of these easy flat breads for great hot weather meals, lunches or quick on the go meals.
The technique for cooking these is called "dry frying" which is easy and quick.
I used an assortment of chopped veggies I had in the fridge to make these last night but I have included chopped, grilled chicken too.
I adapted this recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, one of my favorite cookbooks, I have never had one of their recipes fail. I added herbs to the dough giving it a lovely flavor so if you want the bread plain just don't add the herbs and do everything else the same.
Makes 8 breads but unless you have a very large appetite you can get 10 out of this.
3-3 1/3 cups flour, I used white spelt but they call for all purpose
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup potato flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (the original recipe used vegetable oil but I prefer olive oil)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (not salt)
1/2 tablespoon dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Put 2 cups of the flour into a large mixing bowl,
pour boiling water over the flour
 and stir until combined, it will be pasty, let it cool. This step cooks the starch and makes it easier to roll out.
This is the potato flour I used, in case you don't know what to look for, not a good picture, it is Bob's Red Mill brand. I'm sure there are others.
After cooling about 30 minutes add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well. Beautiful.
Let rest, covered lightly, for 1 hour.
Knead a couple times
then divide into 8-10 even pieces.
Heat a frying pan to medium while you roll each piece of dough, I have limited space so I did mine one at a time.
Carefully lift one into the hot pan.

Give it a couple minutes on each side. It will begin to puff up a bit as it cooks.

 As you remove from pan, place in a clean towel and fold over the breads. This causes them to cool slowly with some of the steam so they don't become crisp and break.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container or gallon ziploc.
Or use warm right from the pan. MMmmmm.
I sauteed some mushrooms and onions, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and olives, shredded some Monterey Jack cheese and made some garlicky ranch dressing.

Here is the recipe for ranch dressing .
Fold over.

If you like your cheese melted then just sprinkle the bread with cheese and put under the broiler for a couple minutes before filling.
I can think of lots of other things to fill these with but would love to hear what you use!