Martha Mondays: Chocolate Cups

January 31, 2011

Have you ever bought an ingredient for a recipe then been simply unable to locate it anywhere in your house? That’s what happened to me with this. I needed mini size cupcake liners or candy wrappers for this recipe. I bought them. I brought them home. They sat on the kitchen table for a few days. Then I put them in the pantry. Then I moved them to a shelf in the pantry so that I would be able to easily find them. Then, when I went to make this, they were just gone. We looked everywhere. So I had to improvise, and I used full size cupcake liners.

This project is from February Living and was chosen by Sassy Suppers. All you do is melt bittersweet chocolate (which I do in the microwave) and then brush into the inside of the cups. Let it dry and do it again. Simple, right?

It actually was pretty simple. The only hard part was getting the paper to peel off. I had to call in Mr. MarthaAndMe for that. He popped them in the freezer for a minute then was able to get it to peel off.

You can add anything you want to the cups – fruit, mousse, ice cream, etc. Martha suggested peanut butter but I didn’t want to eat that much peanut butter. So I did fruit and ice cream. This is super cute and would really be a great way to serve dessert for a dinner party.

Bookmark and Share


Potato Skins

January 18, 2011

The first article I ever wrote about food,  12 years ago, was about making take out food at home and potato skins was one of the recipes. At the time we were living in a rural area, I’d just had my second baby and we were pretty much dead broke since I’d left my law practice to stay home. I spent a lot of time looking for ways to save money.

I’ve always had a thing for the potato skins at TGI Fridays. I get them whenever we go there (which isn’t very often!). Because eating out wasn’t on the agenda much back then (or now for that matter), I learned to make my own.

Bake 4 Idaho potatoes in the oven until done (don’t use the microwave – they have to be baked in the oven). Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a thin layer (when I made it this time, I used the insides to make baked potato soup). Spray the inside and outside of the skins with cooking spray (or brush with olive oil) and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for until they are crispy but not getting too brown (about half an hour). Take out of the oven and sprinkle shredded cheddar or American cheese (or any cheese you like) and sprinkle some cooked, chopped bacon (I used 3 pieces this time). Sprinkle with salt. Put back in the oven until the cheese melts. Mix some chopped chives or scallions into sour cream and serve to dip in (I always make about 1 cup for this amount of skins).

These are a special treat in our house – not something we have often, but when we do, everyone loves them. You could jazz this up with some jalapenos, salsa, chopped ham, French onion dip, or different kinds of cheese. It also makes a great party snack (think: Super Bowl).


Martha Mondays: Real Deal Chili

January 17, 2011

Chili with no tomatoes and no beans? Really? Yup. That’s what the real deal chili recipe is, the project chosen for today’s Martha Mondays by Steak and Potato Kinda Gurl.

I seriously contemplated dumping some tomatoes or kidney beans into this because I was worried it wasn’t going to be any good. It has paprika, cayenne, cumin, and oregano in it (no chilis you’ll notice). But after I got it going, I tasted it and it was pretty good. Plus DudeMartha is not a fan of tomatoes or beans and when I described it to him he was excited. So we went with it. It was good. I put cheese and sour cream on mine. DudeMartha added Tabasco. Mr. MarthaAndMe had just cheese. They gave it the thumbs up. I thought it was good, but it’s not the kind of thing I get nutty over.  How did everyone else make out?

Bookmark and Share


Crisp-Skinned Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes

January 11, 2011

I am a sucker for crispy potatoes. I admit I didn’t really give the roast chicken recipes in Jan Living much of a second glance until Sarah Carey came on the show and made them. The potatoes in the Crispy Skinned Chicken recipe hooked me. I was also interested to try putting butter and cornstarch on the chicken skin.

I used Yukon Gold potatoes because that’s what I had and I also didn’t have fresh rosemary. It turned out really well. This is an open-kitchen-window recipe though – any time I cook chicken at a high temp like this it smokes up the house. The chicken cooked nicely and was quite crisp (so I will use this method again). The potatoes fell apart a bit when I tossed them in the pan and I did have to put them back in the oven once the chicken was out to get them a little browner, but they were good.

I used dried rosemary, so that may be the problem, but I just kind of wanted the whole thing to have a little more flavor overall. Other than that, it was excellent!

Bookmark and Share


Mom’s Pot Roast

December 2, 2010

Do people still make pot roast? Probably not as often as they did back in the 70s when I was a kid. We had pot roast pretty regularly. I learned to make it by the time I was in junior high. I would get home from school around 4 and my mom would have left me a note asking me to put it together and put it in the oven. I pulled out my recipe notebook to consult my mom’s recipe and realized I don’t even have it written down, because I made it so many times that it was just something I knew how to make. Dollars to donuts, my mom has nothing written down anywhere either.

I haven’t made pot roast in a really long time. There’s something so homey and comforting about it and it smells so good when it’s cooking. I don’t have an actual recipe to share, but this is how I make it.

Start with a medium enameled roasting pan (the kind that are speckled) with a lid. Put a chuck roast in it. Then chop up half an onion and a few garlic cloves. Add baby carrots, 3-4 potatoes cut into 4ths, a teaspoonful of tomato paste, and some whole mushrooms (maybe half a package). Dump in some salt (you need more than you think) and pepper. Dump in some herbs (I have a “beef roast” seasoning from Penzey’s I use, if I didn’t have that I would use thyme, oregano and a little celery salt). Add about 2 cups of red wine. Then add enough beef broth to cover the meat (I used  a whole carton). When you’re done, you should have that medium roasting pan filled to the top. This does not work well in a roasting pan that is larger because the meat is not completely covered.

Roast at 350 for at least 2 hours. I had mine in for 3 hours, but the meat was still mostly frozen when I put it in.

When it comes out, put the vegetables in a bowl and the meat on a platter. Add Wondra to the juices and cook until thickened the way you like it (I like my gravies thick!).

It’s not gourmet and it’s not pretty to look at, but boy is it good!


Pumpkin Donut Muffins

December 1, 2010

I’ve seen a few recipes for donut muffins, but have never actually made any. I saw this one in Nov Everyday Food and the pumpkin part drew me in, so I decided to make them. This was super easy. Just mix it all up in a bowl, bake in muffin tins and then roll in melted butter and cinnamon/sugar. They were really tasty and smelled great while they were baking. The family gave this a thumbs up all the way. You need to eat them with a fork though, because they’re kind of crumbly.

10 tbsp butter

3 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/4 allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/4 pumpkin puree

3/4 cup brown sugar

 

for sugar coating:

3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a muffin tin. Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl. Whisk buttermilk and pumpkin in another.  In yet another bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add flour in 3 additions, alternating with the pumpkin mix.

Put 1/3 c batter in each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 30 min.

Mix sugar and cinnamon. and melt butter. Let muffins cool 10 min then roll in butter then cinnamon sugar.

Now, you know me, I did this all in one bowl. I have no patience for Martha’s methods. I also used a little less nutmeg and allspice and added some cinnamon into the batter itself.

I ended up with more than 12  – I think I had about 18 of these. I would definitely make this again. All the yumminess of a donut with the ease of a muffin.


Blondies

November 30, 2010

I have a special place in my heart for blondies. I shared my favorite recipe for them previously on this blog. Lately I’ve been obsessed with The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. I love the idea of this cookbook – that the editors tried every conceivable way of making recipes until they hit upon the very best method. The book has a blondie recipe and I had to check it out to see if it is better than my recipe

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

12 tbsp melted butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup pecans

1 /2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk brown sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Fold dry ingredients in. Fold in nuts and chips. Place in 13×9 pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mine took longer to cook. These were delicious. I used only chocolate chips and did not add nuts or white chocolate, which I think would make it even better. This had that rich, buttery taste that blondies have and it was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. It’s definitely in close contention with my recipe!

Bookmark and Share


Stuffed Chicken Breast

November 26, 2010

I must sound like a spokesperson for the Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, but I swear I’m not. My latest recipe from this cookbook is Stuffed Chicken Breasts. Chicken cordon bleu is one of those things that was always on the menu 20 years ago. And you always got a really bad version of it banquets. So I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this recipe.

Filling:

1 tbsp butter

1 small onion, minced

1 small garlic clove, minced

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tsp minced thyme

2 ounces cheddar, shredded

4 slices deli ham

Chicken:

1 (5-6 oz) chicken skinless boneless chicken breasts

3/4 cup flour

2 eggs

1 tbsp plus 3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 slices white bread, made into coarse crumbs and dried

Melt the butter and add onion and cook 15-20 min. Add garlic and cook 20 seconds.

Mix the cream cheese with a mixer until fluffy, 1 minute. Stir in the onion mixture and add thyme and cheddar and salt and pepper to taste.

Butterfly the chicken and then pound it to 1/4 inch thickness. Place the chicken smooth side down and spread with 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Salt and pepper it. Place 1 slice ham on top. Roll up the cutlet from the tapered end, folding in the edges to form a neat cylinder. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450. Beat egg with 1 tbsp oil. Dip chicken in flour, egg, then breadcrumbs. Place on a wire rack and let it rest 5 min.

Heat 3/4 cup oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until shimmery. Add the chicken, seam side down, and cook 2 min until golden. Turn and cook the other side 2-3 minutes. Transfer seam side down to a baking sheet and baked at 450 about 15 min until the center is 165 degrees.

Wow. It really worked. The chicken had an incredible crunchy outside and a divine creamy center. A couple of things I would do differently: I would use less cream cheese and more of some other cheese. It was a little bland. I would also use less oil for the pan frying aspect of this. Other than that, I highly recommend this recipe!

Bookmark and Share


Neil’s Pancakes

November 24, 2010

I watched with a grumbling stomach as the owner of the Clinton St Baking Company made his pancakes for Martha on a recent episode. I have to say I am pretty committed to my own pancake recipe (which was also my mom’s) and to my oatmeal pancake recipe, which I love. However, these pancakes looked great. And apparently people line up in the street to get them, so I had to try them! The main difference is that you whip the egg whites for this recipe, which is supposed to make them fluffy and light.

Honestly, I didn’t really think these were much fluffier than the kind I usually make. I think the trick to truly fluffy pancakes is a professional griddle, which I don’t have. However, the pancakes were good. Everyone enjoyed them, Dude Martha especially, since there is vanilla in them and he likes that flavor a lot. I’m glad I tried them, but will probably stick with my own recipes for pancakes.

For a really fun, and EASY breakfast recipe, check out my crescent roll and egg muffin tin recipe on No Pot Cooking.

Bookmark and Share


Martha Mondays: Cheese Straws

November 22, 2010

Well, as you can see, I didn’t exactly end up with cheese straws! Thanks to Megan at Megan’s Cookin for choosing this one. This was really easy to make – dump it all in a food processor and away you go. I couldn’t get the dough to come together though. I tried pressing it with my hands, but I could not get it to make logs which I could roll out. So I ended up making little crackers instead, which worked out fine. I really, really liked the way these tasted, but next time I would to make them thinner. These would be great at a party. I’m keeping this recipe!

Bookmark and Share


%d bloggers like this: