REFRIGERATOR CHICKEN

I had a wonderful extended birthday, Solstice, Christmas and birthday celebrations.  Hope you all saw the old year out in a similar fashion.  A happy old year makes for a really nice new year.  Now I am back rummaging through the kitchen and remembering it is fun to cook.

So I had a plan for my boneless skinless chicken breasts and then there was only one.  Only remembering that there was a plan or two I removed the package from the freezer, thawed it before noticing the one sad breast not the few I remembered.  But oh I needed to use the slow cooker today, I had no time to play.  So I scrounged around the frig and the pantry and came away with this dish.

The chicken broth I planned on using was used up in last week’s soup.  The chipotle in adobo went into Sunday’s chili.  I started layering and realized there wasn’t enough for the slow cooker to cook properly (recommended 2/3 full).  If only I had realized sooner I could have filled the space with foil wrapped sweet potatoes…

The only thing I can say is sometimes the best laid plans go awry and the no plan is best.

So a few tired new potatoes and the remainder of the jar of sliced hot peppers from the Bridge Beef and the lid was on.  It was a surprisingly good dinner…even if the pot wasn’t quite full.

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  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 large white onion, chunked
  • 6 new potatoes, washed
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup sliced hot peppers
  • paprika to taste
  • poultry seasoning to taste
  • tumeric to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • dash of hot pepper juice
  1. Place onion in bottom of slow cooker
  2. Place chicken breast on top of onion
  3. Season to taste
  4. Place potatoes alongside chicken
  5. Top chicken breast with sliced hot peppers and juice
  6. Cook on low 4-5 hours

NOTES:

  • I used my go-to chicken spices and just sprinkled
  • I would have added a splash or two of chicken broth if available
  • same goes for open bottle of white wine
  • pepperoncini or fresh sliced peppers may be substituted for hot peppers
  • served with quickly steamed broccoli and the remainder went into the soup pot the next day after I shopped for carrots, celery and chicken broth
  • Enjoy

 

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A FOND FAREWELL TO 2018

Happy New Year’s Eve ALL!!!!

The last few weeks has been an absolute whirlwind here with birthday celebrations and holiday festivities.  Not to brag or boast but I managed 9 festive gatherings within a two week period and although you saw neither recipe not picture there was cooking (and cocktails) and cooking although not all of it my own.

As the year draws to a rapid close those about me have begun talking resolutions.  I applaud all who consider them although I can’t say I believe in doing resolutions.  I like to think that each morning I already set out to do my best and learn something new.  I do however review the year passing and think of the year to come each December 21st as I celebrate the Solstice.  So if thoughts become words then maybe words could be considered a form of resolution.  Obviously I should  do better at photographing my cooking; actually I should really be doing more photography.  I could increase my blog postings and should increase my walking since I will be eating more.  These as well as all the other things that fill my day could all be done better.  Hopefully at least I will be a better friend and family member and spread all the love that blesses my life.

 

WISHING YOU AND YOURS A MOST HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

GINGERBREAD PUMPKIN BITES

I set out to do something a bit different.  Not a cake, not a cookie and not quite a cupcake.  I used a mini muffin pan to make these bites and 2 – 4 oz ramekins cuz I had batter left over.  I chose gingerbread for  the holiday (houses are cute but who eats them) and for the fact that it is a favorite of Brother #3 who taste tests many of my trials.  The pumpkin was added because a) I had it leftover and b) because it is my favorite.

Feel free to double this recipe and bake in a 13×9 pan, make large cupcakes or skip the recipe and use your favorite box mix (see notes).  The fresh ginger adds a nice punch and the topping provides a tartness to cut through the sweetness of the bites.

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  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup), softened
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp powdered cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated or powdered nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (about 2 oz)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (dark)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (completely optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

topping:

  • 1 lrg tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 1 lrg tbsp sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 lrg tsp confectioners sugar
  • pumpkin pie spice or fresh grated nutmeg for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray mini cup cake pan (24 cakes) and 2 – 4 oz ramekins
  3. Soften butter in large bowl
  4. Sift sugar over butter and beat with hand mixer until light and fluffy (or whisk really hard)
  5. Add molasses to sugar blend and beat to combine
  6. Add egg and beat to combine
  7. Beat in pumpkin
  8. Add vanilla and beat for 2 minutes or until well combined
  9. Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl and whisk to blend
  10. Grate fresh ginger over bowl to catch the juices and incorporate into dry ingredients
  11. Add a third of the flour to the sugar blend and stir by hand until mixed
  12. Add a third of the buttermilk and stir until mixed
  13. Repeat steps until all ingredients are well combined (batter will not be smooth)
  14. Carefully scoop large tsp of batter into prepared pan filling each 3/4 full
  15. Scoop remaining batter into 2 – 4 oz ramekins filling each 3/4 full
  16. Bake mini cupcakes 12- 17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  17. Bake ramekins 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean, turning ramekins half way through cooking (or when cupcakes come out)
  18. Use a tsp to gently press the center down on the cakes if you wish to fill the top center
  19. Cool pan and ramekins 5 – 10 minutes and remove cakes
  20. Finish cooling on wire rack
  21. Combine all topping ingredients and refrigerate, remove 15 minutes before serving
  22. Fill depression on cakes or swirl cakes in topping then sprinkle with spice blend or nutmeg

NOTES:

  • if you aren’t a fan of ginger, leave out the grated fresh ginger but not the powdered ginger
  • if you use a spice cake mix add the spices called for in the recipe to punch up the taste
  • I did not try using non dairy milk in this recipe but would use evaporated coconut milk
  • clean drips off top of mini cupcake pan before baking to eliminate burning
  • for a sweeter topping add only one half the sour cream and add another tsp of conf sugar
  • ENJOY

BANANA BOAT OATMEAL

This started out as banana oatmeal but boat just jumped into my title.  ‘I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In…’  OK so maybe I am a bit over the top with this season but honestly can you blame me.  Most everything is so festive…

OK I am back on track, sorry about that, maybe those very ripe bananas were fermenting.  I make an extra effort to be good these days so that I can be a little bit bad with the holiday treats; so I start with an extra good breakfast.  One of my go-tos, especially for busy mornings, are my Oatmeal Banana Bars, which no hasn’t posted yet…it is coming; thus I often have ripe bananas on hand.

I have found that ripe bananas added to most anything, that blends well with banana taste, adds just enough sweetness, negating the use of sugar.  Of course when I eat a banana I want it more on the green side so it isn’t too sweet…hmm.  Anyway this morning’s breakfast was oatmeal with half a large banana mashed and yes those are chocolate chips you see in the picture.

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Not really a recipe for you here just a throw what’s on the counter into the bowl kind of deal.  I mashed the half banana in the bottom of my bowl, poured oatmeal on top (probably 1/2 – 3/4 cup), sprinkled merrily with cinnamon, tossed in a small handful of chopped pecans and the few remaining bittersweet chocolate chips in the jar then topped with a splash or two of just boiled water and voila Banana Boat Oatmeal.

Since I have become a fan of overnight oatmeal which uses ingredients such as yogurt or applesauce (in place of water) to soften the oats I have stopped cooking my quick oats per package directions BUT please make your oatmeal to your liking or at least to package directions until you become fond of it.  Then toss in something to zing the flavor and your taste buds – a favorite spice or a sprinkle of coarse ground salt and then add a handful of nuts, seed or dried fruit if you choose instead of bananas.

Now I can taste test those cookies when they come out of the oven…

PEPPERED BRIDGE BEEF

This is a chore meal – not that it is a hard meal to prepare –  I mean I have someone coming to help with the heavy lifting or major cobweb cleaning.  Even if my helper(s) can’t stay, it packs well and reheats easily.  It was a long journey to this place where I ask for help with things I think I can still do but are now sometimes a challenge.  So these days I do what I shine at and ‘trade it’ up.  Thank you to all who take time out of their busy days to help me.

This recipe is a combination of 1) a series of blog recipes that I have read and 2) my own ‘what’s in the pantry’ to throw into the slow cooker with this beautiful cut of beef I bought because it was on sale even though I could never eat that much myself.  So thank you to all those bloggers I read and apologies for not remembering a specific site(s) for this particular inspiration.  Because this is one of my  ‘share’ dishes I don’t know how well it freezes but I have heard it lasts 3-4 days in the frig.  I would freeze it for me for up to three months.

I think the peppered in the title is self explanatory but the bridge might not be.  Peppered beef works well as a recipe title but it isn’t that catchy… Since I live on a peninsula those who live and work around me as well as most visitors cross at least one if not more bridges to come to see me.  And since I can’t sit still I am often crossing a bridge on the way to more fun.

  • 2- 21/2 lb bottom round roast
  • 2 lb baby white potatoes
  • 1 med white onion
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 6  forkfuls sliced pepperoncini plus more for garnish
  • 5 – 6 forkfuls sliced hot peppers plus more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt

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  1. Rinse potatoes and layer in bottom of slow cooker
  2. Roughly slice onion and layer on top of potatoes ( I threw a few onion slices on top of the beef as well)
  3. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. Place beef on onions
  5. Salt and pepper to taste, then add any remaining pepper
  6. Sprinkle beef with thyme
  7. Add beef broth to side
  8. Top with pepperoncini and hot pepper slices
  9. Cook on low 7-8 hours
  10. Remove beef from slow cooker and shred or cut into chunks
  11. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread

NOTES:

  • use whatever cut of roast is on sale
  • large potatoes cut into large bite size chunks may also be used
  • red wine or full bodied beer may be used for some or all of the broth
  • depending on your slow cooker and size of beef it may need an extra 30 – 60 minutes to shred easily but will chunk well and is sufficiently cooked at 8 hours
  • I added additional slices of pepperoncini and hot peppers for serving and sending
  • I used pickled pepperoncini and hot peppers for the tang but fresh work as well
  • I have also made this without the beef broth, pepperoncini and hot peppers using red wine and then topped the finished dished with sauteed mushrooms finished with a reduced red wine sauce
  • Beef serves well over potatoes, noodles or rice and those leftovers that look too skimpy for another meal make great burritos
  • ENJOY

PUMPKIN RISOTTO CAKES

I originally posted the recipe for Risotto Cakes back in March and then followed up with a breakfast version in April.  These have become a favorite of mine as there is always a bit of risotto leftover whenever I crave stirring a pot.  Crazy I know.

I was trying to decide what to do with a bit of pumpkin left over from the morning’s pancakes…what…you never tried pumpkin in your pancake batter???  Please do along with a healthy dash of your favorite pumpkin spice blend.  I actually use a large tablespoon or two in my batter as well as a large teaspoon or two in my oatmeal when I’m in an autumn mindset.

Anyway I had leftover pumpkin and needed a side for dinner so last night’s leftover risotto and this morning’s leftover pumpkin came together to make pumpkin risotto cakes.  There was enough to make two good size cakes and I had my dinner side and my morning breakfast all made.

Now I am thinking a pot of risotto made the day after thanksgiving will be a perfect place to use some of the leftover turkey and serve as risotto cakes topped with cranberry sauce over a bed of leftover salad or veggies.  Hmm I also see potatoes made into a cake with turkey and stuffing and cranberry topping.  I can see I will be making my own turkey to come up with leftovers unless my Thanksgiving hosts have tons to send home with me!

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  • add 1/3-1/2 cup pumpkin and 1 tsp slivered fresh sage or 3 tbsp dry sage to
  • RISOTTO CAKES recipe
  • ENJOY your meal

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

LAZY LASAGNA

This is the time of the year when traditions run through my mind; mostly those I wish repeated, rarely those I didn’t like.  My Dad always told us when we chanted ‘it’s tradition’ that “tradition always changes”.  The oxymoron always confused me and now I wonder if the truth hides in the fact that an act maybe repeated but not necessarily the feeling of it or that sometimes things had to fall by the wayside due to time, money, willingness, sleeplessness or a combination thereof.

Halloween kicks off the holiday season in my mind or rather the lead up until the actual night.  Autumn brings crisp weather, falling leaves and the best holiday seasons of the year.  While Halloween teases with quick suppers and candy, it tantalizes with coming feasts and laden tables.  Flours, sugars, dried fruits, candied bits, plump birds, traditional stuffings, warming spices all pad the normal weekly shopping list.  More stops at the liquor store on the way home fills the early twilight hours.  Family conversations  turn to menus and plans for holiday travel; and of course there are those who take life day by day and beg leave to wait before making the decisions.

These thoughts were brought about by a family gathering at a wedding.  Questions soon arose who would Thanksgiving where.  In a group our size there is always a place to go where there is room, a seat and best of all a warm welcome.  My parents’ Thanksgiving traditions have become a pick and choose by each sibling of their favorite parts.  Turkeys no longer grace all the tables but the feasting and family fun have remained.  Thus my calendar had become penciled in with plans for a turkey, holiday baking, lasagna, seven fishes and if I remember better pictures for this blog.

This was a long way round to talk about lasagna.  Lasagna was typically one of our holiday dishes, special company dishes or perhaps a birthday celebration.  Lasagna isn’t really difficult to make just a bit time consuming and messy to prepare.  Perhaps that was because there were always pounds of it in large baking pans filling the oven.  Anyway lasagna has become a dish that not many crave and even fewer wish for leftovers.  Therefore a lasagna dinner has become a rare event and yet still not a restaurant meal.  Many lasagna fans seem willing to forego the glory of the finished dish and simply toss everything together for baked pasta.

Not I.  Baked pasta is totally different.  So I have been exploring different ways to make lasagna so that it feeds few rather than many, so that it is easier to construct rather than covering all the kitchen countertops, so that I can have it for a treat without committing too much time.  Turns out once you trim the amount you are making along with pre prep lasagna can be made whenever the fancy takes you.  I sometimes add some roasted butternut squash or sauteed spinach to a layer of ricotta for some healthiness.  The squash melts into the ricotta and only changes the taste a bit.  The spinach is like having a bite of salad as well.  Either or both are totally optional.

The recipe starts with meat sauce already made, be it the day before or thawed from the freezer and I imagine it would work with your favorite jar of sauce as well.  Roasted and mashed butternut squash made that day or leftover from last night’s dinner.  Then we move on to your slow cooker…yes hang in there, this lasagna is made in a slow cooker and it serves 3-4 depending on appetites and how much salad, wine and crusty bread you add to dinner.  It also serves 4-6 as a first course which I would follow by a meat course and then the salad.  Since I don’t always feed that many it works for me for dinner over one to three months as it freezes well for up to three months.  The only quirk in the recipe is that some servings have rounded instead of squared edges due to slow cooker shape.

lasagna

 

  • 3-4 cups meat sauce
  • 1-2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 -1 cup mashed roasted butternut squash (optional)
  • 1 cup spinach, sauteed and diced fine (optional)
  • 6 lasagna noodles (uncooked)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp grated parmesan cheese plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  1. In medium bowl blend ricotta with handful shredded mozzarella, egg, parmesan,thyme and nutmeg
  2. Remove two tbsp ricotta mixture to small bowl and blend in squash or spinach
  3. Lightly cover bottom of slow cooker with sauce
  4. Place 1 lasagna noodle over sauce
  5. Top lasagna with 1-2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  6. Top ricotta with handful shredded mozzarella
  7. Top mozzarella with 1 lasagna noodle and press down gently
  8. Top lasagna with 1-2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  9. Top ricotta with handful shredded mozzarella
  10. Top mozzarella with sauce
  11. Place 1 lasagna noodle over sauce and press down gently
  12. Top noodle with ricotta and squash (spinach) mixture
  13. Top with handful of shredded mozzarella
  14. Continue layering lasagna, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce finishing with sauce
  15. Top sauce with handful of mozzarella
  16. Cook on low for 6 hours
  17. Before serving top with handful of mozzarella and cover slow cooker for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted
  18. Turn slow cooker off and remove cover letting lasagna sit for 15- 30 minutes to set
  19. Serve and enjoy

NOTES:

  • lasagna noodles will cook in the slow cooker
  • lasagna will spread out to fill slow cooker during cooking
  • amount of sauce used is personal preference – I found sauce every layer was a bit soupy- I prefer sauce on bottom, every other layer and on top allowing the top layer to drip over the sides- picture below shows sauce on bottom, sauce mixed with ricotta cheese and extra sauce on the side for the top

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  • can also be made with 4 lasagna noodles and lesser amounts of cheeses and sauce
  • your slow cooker may allow for additional layers just gently press layers as you add lasagna noodles and be sure to leave some head room for expansion
  • lasagna noodles may also be broken in half and laid across the width of the slow cooker – allow for additional fillings

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE MIX COOKIES

This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker Cake Mix Gooey Butter Cookies

While I follow some recipes completely, at least the first time, many of the recipes I read make me think ‘hmm, sounds good but I bet…would make it better.  So this is an adaptation of the original

My niece helped plan the ingredients although I did shy away from trying to stuff cookies with peanut butter; my tail gating buddies along with my favorite librarian tested them for me along with the niece.

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  • 1- 8oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1- 10 oz pkg Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1 box Betty Crocker GF Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper
  3. In large bowl cream butter and sugar until well blended
  4. Add egg and vanilla and mix
  5. Stir in cake mix with large wooden spoon folding over (as dough becomes stiff) to blend well
  6. Stir in 1 cup Reese’s
  7. Using full tbsp drop rounded cookie dough on parchment 1 inch apart (makes approx 27 cookies)
  8. Bake 11-15 minutes until edges brown and top is firm
  9. Remove from baking sheet and cool

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NOTES:

  • dough should be stiff but it will combine completely with a little effort
  • hand mixer didn’t handle the dough well; a stand mixture with paddle attachment may work
  • use your favorite cake mix, I find the GF mixes to be less sweet
  • for double chocolate cookies swap chocolate chips for peanut butter chips
  • add coconut and crushed pecans for german chocolate cookies
  • for smaller cookies, use tsp
  • I did roll some of these cookies but they flatten slightly
  • size of cookie placed on parchment paper is basically size of baked cookie
  • cookies keep in airtight container 2-3 days and 1 month in freezer…if you have any left
  • if you share this recipe please link to this page

ENJOY

 

Company’s Coming Corn Muffins

I have no connection with the companies listed within. All items listed are my personal preference.

This recipe is an adaptation from ‘Delish’ Maple Bacon Corn Muffins.  It is a great recipe to have on hand for when company is coming and you want something to tide them over until breakfast is ready, to add to your brunch table, to take as a hostess gift when you spend a weekend away AND to treat yourself on a Wednesday morning before you rush off to work.

I made these as a hostess gift and they were gone in a minute.  I warmed the whole batch of 12 in the oven but a microwave for one at a time works as well.  The only reason it wasn’t seconds is because they buttered them.

As for making the recipe the longest time was for cutting the bacon as I had cooked the bacon the day before.  These will be made again…and again.  I foresee more weekend invites coming my way.  Perhaps the next time in a baking dish…

maplebacon corn muffins

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup + 2 tbsp maple syrup for bacon
  • 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spray 12 cup muffin cooking tin
  3. Brush bacon with 2 tbsp maple syrup and bake 25 – 40 min on wire rack over large cooking sheet until crispy
  4. Cool bacon slightly and snip into slivers and set aside
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl until well mixed
  6. Fold in most of bacon pieces reserving 6-12 tsps
  7. Divide batter into muffin tin(s)
  8. Sprinkle tops with reserved bacon pieces
  9. Bake 15 min until muffins are golden and cooked through
  10. Let cool slightly and serve with your favorite sides

NOTES:

  • I find the sour cream adds body to the muffin but if you prefer you may substitute milk per the package directions
  • I zoned out when I was snipping the bacon for my muffins and it all went in the batter – I think I liked having it be a surprise
  • I used disposable muffin tins for easier transport
  • If you prefer your corn muffins sweeter add an extra tbsp of maple syrup or serve it on the side

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Funfetti Cake Mix Halloween Cookies

I have no connection with the companies listed within. All items listed are my personal preference.

So I adapted a recipe from Deliciously Sprinkles Oreo Funfetti cookies and combined it with a Betty Crocker Cake Mix gooey butter cookie recipe to create this Halloween delight.  Now I wasn’t able to get all the exact ingredients for the Oreo Funfetti cookies and I nixed the Halloween OREOS (nasty tasting) so by the time I got around to making these I took the gooey butter cookie shortcut.  I amped up the chocolate chips by using Reese’s Baking Cups and Pieces and then I increase the amount to 1 cup and then I said what the heck and used the entire 8.5 oz bag…okay so maybe I tested a handful of pieces.

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  • 1- 8oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1- 8.5 oz pkg Reese’s Baking Cups and Pieces
  • 1 box Funfetti Cake Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper
  3. In large bowl cream butter and sugar until well blended
  4. Add egg and vanilla and mix
  5. Stir in cake mix with large wooden spoon folding over (as dough becomes stiff) to blend well
  6. Stir in Reese’s
  7. Using full tbsp drop rounded cookie dough on parchment 1 inch apart (makes approx 27 cookies)
  8. Bake 11-15 minutes until edges brown and top is firmIMG_2239
  9. Remove from baking sheet and cool

NOTES:

  • dough should be stiff but it will combine completely with a little effort
  • hand mixer didn’t handle the dough well; a stand mixture with paddle attachment may work
  • for smaller cookies, use tsp
  • size of cookie placed on parchment paper is basically size of baked cookie
  • cookies keep in airtight container 2-3 days and 1 month in freezer…if you have any left
  • if you share this recipe please link to this page

ENJOY