Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fudge Pops in the Zoku

I received a Zoku ice pop maker for Christmas.  So far, I have only used it one time, but I already love it!  It freezes pops in about 7 minutes and they are very easy to remove from the molds.  I know cold winter weather does not inspire many to eat ice pops, but my family loves frozen treats year round!

I made a Gourmet magazine recipe I found for frozen fudge pops.  They tasted just like fudge pops should taste- creamy and chocolatey.  These can be made in any pop mold, but the total time increases from about 20 minutes to 24 hours. 

Here is how I made them:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tab dark corn syrup
6 Tab unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, heat milk, sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder over medium heat.  Stir until sugar and cocoa powder have dissolved.  Cool to room temperature and pour into pop molds and freeze until firm. 
If using traditional molds:  Freeze 30 minutes.  Insert sticks and freeze until firm, about 24 hours.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Honey Mustard Chicken Kabobs

Jacob loves eating things on a stick, so kabobs are a great way to get him to eat his meat and vegetables.  Last night, I made kabobs in the broiler.  The chicken, onion, mushroom, and bell pepper went great with rice and honey mustard.  We decided this would go well with just about any sauce.  I plan to make it again and experiment.

Here is how I made it last night:

1/4 cup honey mustard, plus more for serving (not dressing, just "honey mustard")
3 Tab lemon juice
3 Tab olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 lb button mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, cut into eight large chunks and broken apart
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2" pieces
cooked brown rice

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water 20-30 minutes to prevent burning. 
Preheat broiler.  Prepare two large baking sheets by covering them with foil and spraying with non-stick spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together honey mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Thread chicken, mushrooms, onion, and peppers onto skewers.  Brush with honey mustard mixture.  Place under broiler and broil until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. 
Serve with rice and honey mustard on the side.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Tonight, we all enjoyed some surprisingly good stuffed peppers.  Roasting the peppers made them tender and sweet.   They were stuffed with a cheesy veggie and rice mixture. 

The recipe calls for cooking the peppers in a slow cooker for about 4 hours, but, according to a review on the Taste of Home website,  they may also be cooked in a 425 degree oven for about half an hour.  (When trying a recipe, always read the reviews- they are usually very helpful and informative.)

Here is how I made the recipe:

6 large sweet peppers (red, yellow, and orange)
2 cups cooked brown rice
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup canned red beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 tsp basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup tomato sauce, seasoned with pepper, basil, and oregano
1/2 cup water
2 Tab grated Parmesan cheese

Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine rice, tomatoes, corn, onion, beans, Monterey Jack cheese, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Spoon into peppers. 
Combine tomato sauce and water.  Pour half into slow cooker.  Add the stuffed pepper.  Top with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with 2 Tab Parmesan. 
Cover and cook on high about 3 hours, or until peppers are tender. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Curried Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

I refused to go to the grocery store for a third time in three days, so I turned to the ingredients search on  I entered in "chicken", "brown rice", and "tomatoes" and found a recipe for curried chicken and brown rice casserole.   It tasted really good.  I liked the spicy curry flavor on the chicken and brown rice, and I loved that it cooks all together in the oven.  Easy!  I was a bit skeptical of the raisins, but they blended beautifully with the spice.

Here is how I made it:

1/2 of the tomatoes from a 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes and all the juice
3/4 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tab lemon juice
3 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Transfer to a casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Creole

We had some friends over for supper and we had this recipe from Southern Living's new cookbook, 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern.  It was an easy and unique one-pot main dish that I plan to make again.  We served this with hot sauce.

Here is how I made it:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 yellow onion
a handful of celery
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water (at least 6 cups) with onion, celery, and a dash of salt to a boil.  Add chicken and boil until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Remove from chicken and let rest until cool enough to handle; cut into small pieces.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.

1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain brown rice
1/2 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped and seeded
2 garlic cloves
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 bay leaves
dash of red pepper flakes

Combine rice and 3 1/2 cups cooking liquid from chicken in a rice cooker and cook.
Meanwhile, saute sausage, onion, celery, pepper, and garlic in a large dutch oven over medium high heat about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Add chicken, tomatoes, salt, chili powder, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid from chicken.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaves and serve over rice.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thick and Soft Pizza Crust

A few nights ago, I made the pizza crust that my mom loves to make.  It is thick and cooks up soft.  Grease your pan with a bit of olive oil for a crispy outer layer.  We topped ours with roasted bell pepper, spinach, olives, and Parmesan.

1/2 cup warm water
1 Tab yeast
1 1/2 Tab sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tab salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tab olive oil
1 cup warm water

In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and sugar.  Let rise about 10 minutes, or until foamy.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, Parmesan, and olive oil.  Add yeast mixture and enough warm water to make a stiff dough.  Stir well to combine and stir some more to "knead." 
Cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise about 45 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread dough on a greased sheet and add toppings.  Bake about 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.