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“Classy” Chicken!

Here’s another recipe that I’ve discovered through Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag which used to air on OWN Network here in Canada. They reviewed the cookbook “Best of Bridge Cookbook” and this was one of the dishes they made. “Classy Chicken” is a terrible name and the end product is not much to look at, but I promise you it’s delicious! This really should be called Creamy Curried Chicken or something along those lines, and it’s quite rich. I have to admit that I had a tummy ache after I went to bed, but it might have something to do with everything I ate as well. I had Pillsbury crescents beforehand, some white wine, and for dessert I made Martha Stewart’s Malted Chocolate Cupcakes. (The link has the same recipe, minus the Whoppers) I couldn’t taste the malt powder at all in the cupcakes, but the batter was rich and the cakes themselves were quite chocolaty.

Mr. M came over again and he liked the chicken so much that he was smacking his lips (much to my vexation). ;) I will definitely be making this one again. As usual, I forgot to take pics last night so I took a pic while I was polishing off the leftovers for lunch today. It be even better today than it was last night.

Classy Chicken

Classy Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. oil
2 cups broccoli (or asparagus)
1 – 10 oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Rice for serving

Instructions:
Chop up chicken into bite-sized cubes and sprinkle with pepper. Heat oil in a skillet and cook chicken pieces until opaque (do not overcook). Drain. Steam broccoli until cooked but still crunchy. Arrange broccoli at the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Place chicken on top. Mix together soup, mayonnaise, curry and lemon juice and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake, uncovered, at 350F for 30-35 minutes. Serve over rice.

Swedish Meatballs

I’ve never actually made or eaten Swedish Meatballs before so I can’t say one way or the other if these are authentic, but I did compare the sauce recipe to those I found from Swedish websites and the main difference is the addition of sugar in the Cook’s Illustrated version. I used only 2 tsp in the sauce and it was still sweet. It’s yummy but it’s probably not very traditional. I also cheated and used premade meatballs from Target. They had a kind of spongey texture but the tasted good and was complimented well by the sweet gravy. I’ll make some from scratch sometime this winter when I have more time on my hands. If you’re partial to savoury/sweet combos, give the sauce recipe a try.

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Swedish Meatballs

For the Meatballs
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 slice white bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces ground pork
1 small onion, grated on large holes of box grater (about 1/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces 85% lean ground beef
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed (see note)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed from 1 lemon
salt & fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1 For the Meatballs: Whisk egg and cream together in medium bowl. Stir in bread and set aside. Meanwhile, in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat pork, onion, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder on high speed until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Using fork, mash bread mixture until no large dry bread chunks remain; add mixture to mixer bowl and beat on high speed until smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute, scraping bowl as necessary. Add beef and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl as necessary. Using moistened hands, form generous tablespoon of meat mixture into 1-inch round meatball; repeat with remaining mixture to form 25 to 30 meatballs.
2 Heat oil in 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles (oil should register 350 degrees on instant-read thermometer), 3 to 5 minutes. Add meatballs in single layer and fry, flipping once halfway through cooking, until lightly browned all over and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking.) Using slotted spoon, transfer browned meatballs to paper towel-lined plate.
3 For the Sauce: Pour off and discard oil in pan, leaving any fond (browned bits) behind. Return pan to medium-high heat and add butter. When foaming subsides, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour is light brown, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add brown sugar and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and return to simmer.
4 Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Notes: The traditional accompaniments for Swedish meatballs are lingonberry preserves and Swedish Pickled Cucumbers. If you can’t find lingonberry preserves, cranberry preserves may be used. For a slightly less sweet dish, omit the brown sugar in the meatballs and reduce the brown sugar in the sauce to 2 teaspoons. A 12-inch slope-sided skillet can be used in place of the sauté pan—use 1 1/2 cups of oil to fry instead of 1 1/4 cups. The meatballs can be fried and then frozen for up to 2 weeks. To continue with the recipe, thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight and proceed from step 3, using a clean pan. Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes, boiled red potatoes, or egg noodles.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

I’m continually searching for something my 3 year old will eat and have been collecting recipes with that in mind. This one is from the Food Network and Giada De Laurentiis. I decided to make them in a regular muffin tin using a biscuit cutter for the bottom crust and a smaller flower cookie cutter for the top crust. They came about half way up the muffin tins but it was fine. It made 8 little pies and they popped out of the tins no problem. This is so simple, with just a few ingredients and it turned out really well. Miss M. liked them!

(The link includes a helpful video as well)

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Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies

Ingredients

Vegetable oil cooking spray
Pot Pie Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 small store-bought rotisserie chicken breast, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup meat)
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces, steamed (about 2 ounces)

To Assemble:
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Two 10-inch round unfold-and-bake frozen pie crusts, thawed
1 large egg
Special equipment: 12-cup mini-muffin pan; 3-inch round cookie cutter; 2-inch round cookie cutter

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-count mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

For the pot pie filling: Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, Parmesan, chicken and broccoli.

For assembly: On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Using the 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 pieces of dough. Using the 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out another 12 pieces of dough. Press the large rounds of dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the sauce into the pastry.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, using a fork. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture and place the remaining pieces of dough on top. Lightly press the edges of the dough together to seal. Press around the edges of the pies using the tines of a fork. Brush the tops of each pie with the beaten egg. Cut a 1/2-inch-long slit into the top of the pies using a paring knife. Bake until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbling, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/mini-chicken-and-broccoli-pot-pies-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

Best Blondies (cookie dough bars)

Mr. M invited me to his family’s get together Saturday night and Miss M and I had a wonderful time. She had so much fun because there were 5 other kids there, three of which were close to her age so they ran amok all evening. The main event for dinner was roast turkey and I brought these Chef Michael Smith blondies for dessert. They were a hit and it was Charlotte that called them cookie dough bars, which is a pretty good description so I’m adopting it!  Chef Michael’s original recipe calls for caramel or candy bits but he suggests you throw in whatever candies and nuts that you want. (M&M’s, Skor bits, chopped chocolate bars, etc.) I threw them all in the batter, cuz that’s how I roll! ;) I’ve made Mark Bittman’s blondies before but I think these are better. Using half white sugar, plus the additional vanilla give them a slightly more complex flavour. They have this yummy crackly top and an ooey gooey centre which puts them over the top. Next time I will definitely add some chopped hazelnuts to offset the sweetness a little. That being said, I still ate two that night and two again for breakfast the next morning. *blush*

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Caramel Chip Blondies

1 cup (250 mL) of butter,at room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) of brown sugar
1 cup (250 mL) of white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500 mL) of all-purpose flour
2 cups (500 mL) of caramel chips or your favorite candy bits, divided in half

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Turn on your convection fan if you have one.
Line a 13- × 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan with parchment paper, extending the paper over the long sides to act as handles.
Lightly spray the paper with cooking spray.
Toss the butter into the bowl of your stand mixer. Measure in the brown and white sugar.
Beat on high speed until thick and smooth, scraping down the sides now and then.
Add the eggs and vanilla, then beat until thick and creamy.
Add the flour.
Stir on low speed just until combined. Too much mixing will toughen the bars.
Stir in half the caramel chips.
With a lightly oiled spatula, carefully spread the batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining chips.
Bake until firm, lightly browned and aromatic, 30 to 40 minutes.
Cool completely in the pan.
Using the paper handles, carefully lift the blondies from the pan.
Cut as you wish, serve and share!

Country Style Potato-Leek Soup

I must apologize again for the not so stellar photograph, but this is definitely one of those times when looks can be deceiving. This soup is so freaking delicious, and very quick and easy to make. Because you don’t have to puree it, the whole thing takes about 35 minutes from start to finish. The next day I added some shredded turkey slices and green peas which made it more filling.  It would also be a great way to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving or Christmas. This is a perfect, busy weeknight meal for the cooler months. (Leeks are in season from October to May).

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Country Style Potato-Leek Soup

Ingredients
6 tbsp unsalted butter
4-5 pounds leeks, sliced into 1-inch pieces (11 cups)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
5¼ cups broth
1 bay leaf
1¾ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
salt and pepper

Instructions
Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Stir in leeks, increase heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook 15-20 minutes, until leeks are tender; do not brown. Sprinkle flour over leeks and cook until flour dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Increase heat to high and gradually add broth, whisking constantly. Add bay leaf and potatoes, cover, and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit 10 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender and flavors meld. Discard bay leaf; season with salt and pepper.

Happy National Chocolate Day!

Geez, I just realized I haven’t posted in a while. I have been cooking but I guess it’s been difficult to find the time to write while gearing up for Halloween and such. Apparently today is National Chocolate Day in the U.S. If you’re looking for some trusted recipes I would suggest “Absolutely Chocolate” from the publishers of Fine Cooking. I skimmed through it yesterday and it looks amazing. Every recipe I’ve tried from fine cooking has been really good so I trust this book won’t be any different. It’s also on Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bags list of tested and approved cookbooks. Here’s an article from their site which includes a few recipes you can try: http://www.finecooking.com/item/12402/for-the-love-of-absolutely-chocolate

And here is the review by Anna and Kristina (featured on OWN Network) http://www.annaandkristina.com/episodes/cookbook-review-absolutely-chocolate/

Absolutely Chocolate

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake for Two

As I mentioned in the previous post, Mr. M came over for thanksgiving so I made him no-bake pumpkin cheesecakes for dessert. It was inspired by a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake trifles by My Baking Addiction blog. I used gingersnaps instead of biscoff cookies for the crust, and instead of layering the ingredients, I pressed the crust into two larger ramekins which I suspect are used for quiche and topped with the pumpkin mixture, then the dessert topping. There was a tiny bit of pumpkin mixture left over that I put in a regular ramekin for my 3 year old. I probably could have fit t it in the large ramekins but it worked out because she still can’t finish a whole dessert. Anyway, Mr. M loved them. By the look on his face he was in pumpkin heaven. He said, “The asteroid can hit now, I’m content. ” lol

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Pumpkin Cheesecake for Two

INGREDIENTS:
6 gingersnaps, crushed into crumbs
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces (1/2 pk) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 large tub (12 oz.) whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed, divided

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and butter. Divide the crumbs into the bottoms of your trifle glasses. Gently press crumbs to form an even layer of crust.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until well combined and creamy.

3. Use a spatula to fold in half of the whipped topping. Gently combine ingredients until no streaks remain.

4. Spoon on top of the crusts and smooth out. Chill until ready to serve, about 2 hours should be good. Top with the remainder of the Cool Whip before serving.

Bonus Recipe:

I don’t really like pumpkin all that much so I made some fabulous icing to top the leftover Devil’s Food Cupcakes I had defrosted. Strangely enough, I had never made this type of icing before. Holy crap it’s good! Super smooth and creamy, and a lovely balance of chocolate to cream cheese tang. I want to put this stuff on everything! Chocolate cream cheese toast anyone?

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sifted powdered sugar (You can decrease this amount if you don’t care about it being as stiff for piping)
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Instructions
Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
Mix in cocoa powder. Try to resist eating it all with a spoon. ;)

Source: The Cupcake Project

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