Saturday, October 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yes, I realize that is the worlds longest muffin name.  But, it's necessary.

I made a batch of these the other day [makes 24 muffins], and they were gone in almost 2 days!  One morning, my oldest midget had FOUR muffins for breakfast.  The littles LOVED these!! 

Although the title says "peanut butter" muffins, the peanut butter flavor isn't that strong, it kind of hangs out in the background.  So, don't be scared of all the competeing flavors, the all work together to make a super delicious muffin! 

These bake up really pretty, and present very well!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar [I know, in a muffin?! Trust me!]
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. smooth peanut butter
  • 3 T. oil [can sub applesauce!]
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 
  2. In another bowl, combine the mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter, egg, oil and vanilla; mix well.  Mix into dry ingredients, stir just to combine.  Add in chocolate chips.  [I do all of this by hand, not with a mixer, it makes a BIG difference in muffins!]
  3. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with liners [spray inside of liners as well].  Fill 3/4 full, making about 24 muffins. 
    1. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Silhouette Pictures.

Okay, I get that this isn't a recipe. 

Get over it.

This is my creative outlet.  Mostly about cooking, but man, I'm an onion with layers.  I have my hands in so many pots, it isn't even funny.

Remember the old school silhouette pictures?  They remind me of Disneyland, mostly because there is [was?] a place on Main Street that did them. 
I love them!  I think they have kind of a vintage-y charm that can't be duplicated. 

I have wanted some of these FOREVER.  Seriously, ask my husband. I'm really annoying about things when I want to be.  The problem was: THEY HAD TO BE IN OVAL FRAMES!  [Just my opinion, but I think the oval frames are what make them look so vintagey and super wicked cool.]

I have been on the hunt for oval frames forever.  Even scouring thrift stores.  They didn't have to match, I didn't care if they were puke green; I can paint. 

For MONTHS I looked for oval frames, and found NOTHING.

Then, like the mother ship calling me home, they just opened a Hobby Lobby near me.  [Why, oh why must the name be so seriously stupid?  It's got to be a southern thing.  Like Piggly Wiggly.  I just feel stupid saying it.]  Now, Hobby Lobby is a whole separate post for a separate time. 

BUT, I found oval frames there: FOR CHEAP!!  $6/ea!  The best part was, I didn't have to paint them, they had various sizes, and styles!  I was able to find some that had the old school, vintagey look I was going for.   You have no idea how much this thrills me.  Clearly, I'm easy to please!

So, in about 15 minutes [+/- 17 months of searching for frames], I finally had my sihouettes!

If you need a tutorial for these, I'm happy to help, if you can't figure it out.  There are TONS of ways you could make these [including photoshop, which I don't have...I wish]! 

Aren't they awesome?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Indian Butter Chicken

Holy freaking crap.


I had to run a few extra miles just because of this!  But, it was so, completely and totally worth it.  [A super awesome Anna tip: when I make dishes like this, or curry, I only serve mine over like 1 or 2 Tablespoons of rice.  If you mix it all up, you won't miss the massive quantities of rice.  You still get the great flavor of the basmati rice, w/o glueing your insides together with starch.  I really try to watch the amount of starches, especially white starches that I eat.  Hey, every little bit counts.  Or, so says I.]

As a bonus, it was just as good, or even better the next day reheated---which I'm super picky about!!

Dang those Indian and Thai people and their good food.  It gets me every time!

Indian Butter Chicken
  • 4 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced [smart Indians]
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground corriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can [14.5 oz] diced tomatoes
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro [traditionally---my husband hates cilantro, so I used flat leaf parsley, or you could omit completely]
  • basmati rice [the best rice ever invented, I don't care what you say]
  1. Combine garlic, salt, peppers, corriander, cumin, cardamom and lime juice.  Pour over chicken and seal in a ziploc bag.  Toss to coat completely.  Let marinate overnight, or all day in the fridge.  [And your fridge will smell like garlic, but it's worth it!]
  2. In a large saucepan, saute the onion in the butter until soft.  Add marinated chicken and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Cook for 30 minutes over med-low heat with the lid on.  [I have accidentally added the cream at this point, and it still tastes fabulous, so either way is fine!]
  4. Add the cream and cilantro just before serving.
  5. Serve over basmati rice.
*This is a tiny bit spicy [I don't think so, but you might], you can adjust the spices accordingly.  Adding more cayenne pepper if you like it more spicy!

Baked Chicken Taquitos

So, okay, not admittedly the most fancy food in the world.  I get it.  But seriously, these went over like gangbusters!  I don't make stuff like this very often, maybe that is why it was such a hit.  Or maybe, just maybe the taquitos themselves weren't anything super fantastic.  Maybe it was the taquitos dipped [or, rather, smothered], in my super awesome, homemade jalapeno jelly.

Holy freaking crap, that stuff is awesome.  Have you ever tried it?  Does it scare you?  It shouldn't, because seriously, it's like love in jelly form.  It's sweet with just the right kick.

But, right, this is about taquitos. 

Baked Chicken Taquitos

  • 3 oz. cream cheese [I might have used more like 4, or even 5]
  • 1/4 c. green salsa
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • a few Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 c. shredded cooked chicken [I boiled mine, then shredded it]
  • 1 c. shredded cheese [I used cheddar, but you could use mexican, pepperjack, etc.]
  • small corn or flour tortillas [I used corn, but next time I'll use flour]
  • kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 20 seconds.  Add salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder.  Stir to combine and then add cilantro, chicken and cheese.  Mix well.
  3. Use a few tortillas at at a time.  Using moist paper towels, wrap them around 4-5 corn tortillas and place in the microwave for 40 seconds.  This will help to soften the tortillas and keep them from cracking as you roll them. 
  4. Place 2-3 T of the chicken mixture on the lower portion of the tortilla and roll up tightly.
  5. Place seam side down on the baking sheet.  Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet, and spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.
Dip in jalapano jelly and thank me later!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beef and Broccoli

Sometimes, just sometimes I really love the crockpot.  On the flipside, sometimes, I really hate it as well.  It seems like most crockpot recipes taste the same, and have the same ingredients: Some type of meat, and some type of canned soup!  I'm just NOT a fan.

However, I love the convenience of it all.  I absolutely DREAD afternoons: kids get home from school [well, I love that part], but then we have homework, chores, making dinner, and the afternoon grumpies [my 2 year-old!].  It's just a chaotic, hectic time of day! [Even moreso when there is some type of sport practice or game!]

THAT is why I love the crockpot.  I use it more in the fall/winter, for obvious reasons.  This time I thought I'd try something different, maybe unexpected from a crock. 

My husband declares this one a winner!  So, if you don't like it, blame him, not me.

Crockpot Beef and Broccoli
  • 3 lbs. beef, cut into strips [I used top round steaks that were cut thin, then I sliced them into strips.  You could also use London Broil, etc.]
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3/4-1 tsp. red pepper flakes [adjust according to your heat level]
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth [or beef broth, I can't remember which I used, whichever was closest]
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2 T. water
  • Garlic broccoli  [at least 3 cups fresh]
  • toasted sesame seeds [optional]
  • rice
  1. Whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken broth, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Place beef in the bottom of crock pot [sprayed with non-stick spray], pour sauce over the top of the meat and mix together to coat.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours [for MY crockpot, it cooks very hot, you might have to adjust your cooking time]. 
  3. About 10 minutes before serving, prepare garlic broccoli.  Pour contents of crockpot into the pan with the broccoli.  Mix together cornstarch and water and add to pan.  Bring to a slight boil to thicken sauce.  If you need to at this point, you can add a bit more broth. 
  4. Once sauce has thickened, serve over rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks

Yesterday I learned that my kids are sheltered.  Like, really, seriously sheltered. 

They had no idea that chicken came ON THE BONE.  Mason kept asking me, "Okay, I get it, but how did you MAKE it?"  I kept telling him that you buy it like this, it comes like this [I can't go too far into the "It came off the chicken" without puking in my mouth].  He kept saying, "Okay, I get it.  BUT HOW DID YOU MAKE IT ON THE BONE?!"

Then Camden asked me, "Oh, wow. Cool, are these DOG BONES inside?"

Yoikes.  Lesson learned.  And here I thought I was doing a good job of exposing them to all kinds of food, cultures, etc.  Obviously not.

This recipe is based on a recipe by our clevage baring gal, Giada de Laurentiis.  [As a tip:  If you bear your cleavage, your food tastes better.  Or at least your husband will think so.  Giada has years of culinary tv based solely on this fact.]  Not that I'm jealous.

This recipe is fantastic.  It's fairly foolproof, really easy, and economical.  I didn't realize [obviously, because I never buy them], how cheap chicken drumsticks are!  I got a huge package for $4 --- @ .89 cents a pound. 

Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • molasses
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 12-14 chicken drumsticks [Giada calls them drumettes--I feel stupid doing that.   Maybe if I wore a lower cut shirt??]
  • 2 T. toasted sesame seeds
  • chopped parsley
  1. Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and a splash of molasses.  Whisk to combine.  Take the sprigs of rosemary and kind of "beat them up" at bit--smash, twist, etc.  This will help to release more of the flavor.  I find if you don't do this, the rosemary taste is pretty much non-existent.  Add rosemary and garlic halves to the sauce.
  2. Add chicken drumsticks into a large resealable plastic bag, pour sauce over the top.  Seal bag and shake around to combine.  Let marinate in fridge for at least 2 hours [I did most of the day].  Throughout the day, continue to rotate, shake and mix up the bag so the marinade coats all of the chicken.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the chicken on a foil lined [don't skip this step!] baking sheet.  Bake until the skin is carmalized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan.  [At this point, I remove the garlic, mince it and add it back in you don't have to do this, but it will increase the garlic flavor].  Bring to a full rolling boil---this is VERY important.  You MUST do this to kill any bacteria from the chicken.  Continue to boil [not on high, but a constant bubble], until the sauce has reduced and is nice and thick.  Remove rosemary.  [This should take about 15 minutes.]
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven, and using a pastry brush, brush chicken with the thick sauce.  Place chicken on platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped parsley.
[Great served with asparagus or broccoli!]

Friday, October 1, 2010

recipe revisit.

I revisisted my Pineapple Curry Recipe last night.  I tweaked a few things...

and the result? 

DELICIOUS!  If you haven't tried this yet, you really should.  It's very easy and fast to throw together, and it's so good! I didn't even eat mine with rice! 

[In fact, I'm eating the leftovers right now.  And wearing an apron, so I don't spill bright yellow curry sauce all over my white shirt...]