Thursday, July 30, 2009

Instant Chicken - A Delicious Dinner!

I was shopping last week and ran across a product I hadn't seen in my grocery store before. It might have been there and I just missed it, or maybe it's relatively new. Either way, it looked good:

Perfect for a quick dinner, was my thought. Just add some baked potatoes and a salad, and I'd be ready to go.

The chicken comes pre-seasoned and packed in a nifty oven bag. All you have to do is place the bagged chicken in an open roasting pan, and cut a 1" slit on the top. Done, ready to cook! Here is how the oven bag looks:

The chicken smelled wonderful while it was baking, and tasted absolutely delicious! My 3 at-home sons declared it a success and all of them commented on how moist and well seasoned the chicken was. We ate about half of it the first night and then boned what was left and had plenty to make chicken quesadillas for dinner the second night.

Here is the chicken hot out of the oven:

The chicken wasn't cheap; I think I paid $11.95 for it at my local store. But we fed five people dinner for two nights, so in the end, that's only $6 per dinner for the meat entree, and that is a good price indeed. And you can't beat the easy prep and clean up!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My biggest weakness...

My biggest food weakness is ice cream. I just love ice cream. So as I get older I realized that ice cream doesn't love me back. It's not good for a slower metabolism and it's not good for cholesterol. But my motto with all foods is "everything in moderation". So here's my remedy for loving ice cream. Portion control.

I happened to be in a gelato shop one day and realized they had these cute little cups that they put the gelato in. So I got online looking for them.

I ended up finding a great gelato site that sold them. They sell in large quantity and small quantity. So I purchased what's probably a lifetime supply for me because I wash them and reuse them :-) Besides there are 520 in the box. That's a lot. But I won't be buying any more any time soon. I purchased these:

160cc Gelato Cups

They also carry smaller quantities.

I use the spoons too. I actually use them for everything. I eat yogurt with them too. I think the main reason this works for me is the little spoons. It slows everything down so you enjoy the small amount of ice cream as long as you would a large bowl of it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My new favorite sweet craving snack...

I have two weaknesses when it comes to sweets, one is chocolate. The other is lemon meringue anything.

So when given a choice of the two I will usually go for the lemon meringue if it's available because so often it's not. I always get lemon filled doughnuts because that's about the only place I can get my lemon fix.

I found these in the grocery store the other day and had to try them. They were so good I went back and bought 3 more 4 packs. :-)

These Lemon Meringue Pie Pudding Snack Packs from Hunt's are just the best little 120 calorie sweet. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

What can you do with a Waffle Iron...

Part 1 of a series...

The other day for some reason I woke up thinking. I wonder what else you can make in a waffle iron. I have this one

I purchased it from Chef's Catalog.

We like this waffle mix

Also purchased from Chef's Catalog.
But I got to thinking, what else can you make with a waffle iron. So this is the beginning of my series of experiments to see just what else can be made.

My first experiment was a selfish one. On the weekends my husband and I sometimes like to make biscuits and sausage gravy. But because we are usually also making eggs, hashbrowns and some sort of meat product we will not always do the biscuits and gravy. I did come across a product in my grocery store that I keep several on hand though. It's the Tennessee Pride Sausage Gravy.

You can find it in the freezer section where you find sausage patties and the box costs under $1.50. A bargain and usually will feed both of us. So if you have a larger family you would need to make more than one box. They microwave in about 3 and a half minutes. So super quick too.

My issue however was the biscuits. Even if I make the ones in the can, there's still the preheating of the oven and the 20 or so minutes to cook. By then everything else has been long done and eaten. :-(

So I decided that I was going to see if I could make biscuits in the waffle iron. It would have the nooks and cranny's to hold the sausage gravy and be quick too. So I pulled out my trusty box of Bisquick and started playing.

I know everyone has one on their shelf.

They were fabulous. They came out light and fluffy and golden brown and only took 2 and a half minutes to cook. The waffle iron heats up in just a couple of minutes and doesn't heat up my whole kitchen. So that's a big plus too. And it's more eco-friendly with using power. So it's a win win situation all the way around.

Here's the recipe I came up with. Try it and enjoy. You could put honey or jelly on them too and they would be just as good if you don't like sausage gravy.

1-1/4 cup Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk (in a pinch you could even use water instead)

Stir the batter just until combined. This will be a batter and will be thinner than normal biscuit dough.

I heated my waffle iron to the #4 setting but if yours has a temperature guage it was 400 degrees by my trusty heat sensor.

Before each addition of batter spray with cooking spray like Pam.

Pour in the typical amount required by your waffle iron.

Cook 2 minutes and 30 seconds or until golden brown.

Top with sausage gravy, butter and jelly, honey or anything else you would normally put on a biscuit.

Leave comments on how you've used your biscuit waffles, I'd love to hear the great ideas.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My favorite Risotto Recipe

This recipe I use and sometimes alter the meat that I use in it. Sometimes I use sausage, sometimes hamburger, chicken and sometimes chorizo (Portuguese Sausage) and sometimes just veggies.

2 TBSP butter
2 ounces Pancetta or Bacon
6 ounces meat of your choice
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1-1/2 cups Arborio Rice
3/4 cup white wine
5 cups (3 cans) Chicken broth (low sodium)
1/2 cup baby carrots
2 stalks celery (rough chopped)
3/8 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large heavy saucepan heat the Chicken Broth, with the baby carrots and celery. Bring to a simmer and keep on the heat.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the Pancetta and meat of your choice and saute until browned. Approx. 5 minutes.

To the skillet add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until tender. Make sure you scrape the bottom for any browned bits. Approx 3 minutes.

Add the Arborio Rice and stir to coat the rice.

Add the white wine and simmer until the wine is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. In this recipe wine is necessary and cannot be substituted as the alcohol helps to create the starch for thickening this recipe.

Remove the celery and carrots from the chicken stock.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock to the rice in the skillet and simmer until almost absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Continue adding 1/2 cup at a time and simmering 2 minutes until all stock is used.

Remove from heat, stir in Parmesean cheese and Serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chocolate Pecan Pralines

I really like sweets, I mean really like them. :-)

This one I've done many times. It's all done in the microwave, so no dirty pots and pans.

You need:
2-1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk (*NOT sweetened condensed milk*)
2 TBSP butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 cup chopped pecans
18 whole pecans
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium microwave safe bowl combine sugar and evaporated milk. Stir until blended.

Drop butter pieces into sugar and butter mix. Microwave on high power (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until butter melts. Stir until smooth.

Stir in pecans. Microwave on high power (100%) 6 minutes. Stir. Candy should be soft ball stage. Test by dropping 1/2 tsp into ice water. It should easily form a soft ball in the water but flatten when held in your hand.

Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract (be careful when adding the vanilla it will bubble when added because of the alcohol content) and stir until smooth. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper (I use a very small ice cream disher). Place one whole pecan on the top of each candy. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 18 Yummy Pralines.