Friday, December 30, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken






I'm sure I have told you many times that my husband is a seriously picky eater.  I know you are NOT going to believe this, but this is one of his favorite meals!  I do not remember how I got him to try it.  But, we love it.  I realize there are no VEGETABLES on this plate.  This is my husband's ideal - white plate food (carbs). (My mother would croak.  She liked a colorful plate of food. LOL.)  But, I didn't have any broccoli, peppers, etc. and definitely I wasn't going to the store when I got home.  Also, we had leftover corn in the fridge from Christmas dinner so that was a re-heat.


The Hawaiian Chicken is a recipe I got from my sister-in-law.  Its really yummy!  This is how I do Hawaiian Chicken AT HOME MY WAY:


Hawaiian Chicken


Ingredients You Need to Make This:

  • (6-8) Boneless, Skinless Breast Chicken Tenders (or breasts) 
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup (app) Pancake mix, flour, biscuit mix (I had some waffle mix I was needing to get rid of so I used that)
  • 2-3 T. Oil (just a little to keep the meat from sticking in the skillet)
  • 3 cans or 3 cups Pineapple Juice (I keep juice from cans of pineapple in my freezer and thaw, or buy the small cans)
  • 9 T. Teriyaki sauce or Soy Sauce (we like Teriyaki the best) (My guide is 3 T per can/ 1 cup juice)
  • 9 T. Honey (I love it when I have some from the girls in the hives outside, but we got no honey from them this year... sad) (again, my guide is 3 Tablespoons per can / 1 cup of pineapple juice)
Instructions

Put about 1 cup of pancake mix/biscuick/waffle mix/flour on a plate.  Dredge the chicken in it, making sure all sides are coated.

Put about 3 Tablespoons oil (brush around to coat) in a skillet.  Bring to medium heat.  Add coated chicken pieces.  Brown on both sides (chicken does not need to cook all the way - just brown both sides of the chicken).  

In a separate bowl (small/med) combine:

Pineapple juice, Honey, and Teriyaki Sauce.  To each can or one cup of pineapple juice I add 3 Tablespoons honey (spray spoon with cooking spray for easy release) plus 3 Tablespoons teriyaki / soy sauce.  Stir well to blend the honey completely (I heat my honey a little in the microwave to make it thinner).  Pour over the browned pieces of chicken in the skillet.  We like lots of sauce so I used 3 little cans (6 oz?) of pineapple juice, plus 9 Tablespoons honey and 9 Tablespoons Teriyaki (crazy... I know, that's just the way I do it).  

Cook 20-30 minutes, occasionally turning the chicken pieces until the sauce is thick and rich.

Serve with cooked rice and vegetables (normally peppers, broccoli & carrots)  / egg rolls.  

I made my favorite baked egg rolls.  I used a very easy method this time.  Pictures of cooking the Hawaiian Chicken and of making the Egg Rolls below:

Ingredients for making Hawaiian Chicken

Browning the chicken in a little bit of oil.

Mixing the pineapple juice/teriyaki/honey,

The juice cooking looks thin, but gets thick and rich!

I serve with rice.  Hubby likes EVERYTHING with mashed potatoes (eek!).


Below is how I made the easy Baked Egg Rolls:

Easy Baked Egg Rolls

  • Cabbage
  • Onion or Green Onion
  • Soy Sauce or Teriyaki Sauce
  • Stir Fry Sauce (optional)
I thinly sliced and chopped one-half head of green cabbage.
I chopped one green onion and grated about 3 carrots.

I added this to a skillet with 1 teaspoon soy sauce plus 1 teaspoon stir fry sauce.


As this was cooking, it got very dry on the bottom so I added about 1/8 cup of water to deglaze the pan before spooning into the eggroll wrappers.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Lay an eggroll wrapper on the cookie sheet.  Spoon on some filling.  With the wrapper shaped like a diamond fold over one corner.  Fold in the two sides and roll like for a burrito.  Place the egg roll on the cookie sheet seam side down.  Do the remaining egg rolls the same way.  

Spray them with cooking spray.

Bake in preheated 375 oven until golden brown (app. 15 minutes).

These keep well in the freezer for reheating.  They won't be crunchy but I love them for lunch or breakfast on the go.

Here they are:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Countdown - Main Dish Favorites




One of my favorite blogs (Finding Joy in My Kitchen) is having a Countdown to 2012 - Main Dish Favorites.  I'm just catching the tail end of this countdown but I do have a few main dish favorites for 2011. 

I made a terrific discovery in 2011.  I discovered that I can BAKE spaghetti sauce.  Yep!  It can be done.  It bakes in the oven like roast & potatoes.  Turns out thick and rich, and the best part?  No toiling at the stove.




#2 Nachos for a Crowd (recipe from Homemaking on the Homestead)


I tried a new recipe which would be a great addition to any potluck. To us, it is very similar to Nachos Bell Grande at Taco Bell. Very yummy! I use my own precooked pinto beans (frozen) but it could be made with canned refried beans or any canned bean you prefer.


#3 Best Homemade Pizza Crust Ever!  Homemade Pizza Rocks!




I make my pizza crust using the 5 Minute a Day Bread recipe.  I learned of this recipe from an article in Mother Earth News.  But, the authors have several terrific books.  I make everything from hot pockets to crusty bread, and even english muffins with this easy, simple recipe for dough that I can keep in the fridge up to two weeks!  Supper is never far away with pizza dough in the fridge.

I have made lots of other yummy meals in 2011.  Actually, it was quite fun seeing them all.  I made new and old recipes like:
Many thanks to Finding Joy in My Kitchen for leading me in this journey!  Definitely my cooking has improved!  Lots of good meals were eaten at my house this year and I shall keep on cookin'!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another Way to Make Baked "Fried" Fish

I tried a new way to make Baked "Fried" Fish last night and it turned out REALLY, REALLY good! I told my husband, "I don't know why we don't have this more often, because its just delicious!" In this post, I posted how to make Baked "Fried" Fish by baking fish with fish coating (a packet of "Fish Fry") on it, which turns out really good also, AND On this post, I posted how to make Baked "Fried" Chicken. Well, last night my husband had the BRILLIANT idea to bake the fish using the same coating/method that I had used on the chicken. The results were "fabulous" (as spoken by Fabio LOL). 


 I'm not going to repost the entire recipe. Just use the Baked "Fried" Chicken Recipe BUT replace the chicken with thawed tilapia filets (I get the bag of frozen filets from Aldi) . 


One note: you have to be very careful when flipping the fish because fish is so flaky. I used a big flat spatula to do this. 


To round out our supper, we had baked french fries, pinto beans (I cook a big batch of beans and then freeze in smaller batches so I just had to warm those up), also our favorite Homemade Sweetened Cornbread. I would have loved to have made THIS SUPER EASY COLE SLAW but didn't have any cabbage and certainly didn't want to make a stop by the store on my way home. 


I love this recipe for three reasons: 


 1. ITS SUPER YUMMY; 
2. BIG DADDY LIKES IT AS MUCH AS I DO; and 
3. I DIDN'T HAVE TO BUY A SPECIAL "MIX" FOR MAKING BAKED FISH (saving moolah!) 


 Try it! You will be as thrilled as we were with your supper!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Our younger daughter is coming home from college for Christmas tomorrow and last night I was feeling particularly guilty that I don't have anything yummy waiting for her so while I was cooking supper, I whipped up a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

I'm REALLY picky about chocolate chip cookies. I love the butter flavor by using real butter BUT I prefer thick and chewy cookies and not thin crispy ones. I haven't figured out how to get thick/chewy with the real thing. I don't usually buy Crisco but for chocolate chip cookies, I just haven't found another recipe I like as well. This recipe came from the little cardboard labels in the butter flavor Crisco sticks AND they don't print this recipe anymore in the packags.

I love to smash tiny M&M's on top of these cookies for a "special" look but last night I just used Aldi chocolate chips, which was actually perfect because they are a cross between minis and regulars and I loved that about them.

OK, confession: Last night I only had a portion of the shortening I needed for these cookies so I added in some real butter to fill up the gap. The first batch was FLAT, THIN, and ALL WRONG (but I still ate some LOL)! So, in the rest of the batter (yes, all mixed with the chocolate chips and everything, I dumped about 1/8 cup of flour and stirred really well). The result wasn't as perfect as this recipe usually is, but it helped the thin/flat factor and still left me with a chewy (not cakey) cookie. Good enough! I used dark brown sugar in my cookies last night because that's what I had and they turned out a deep rich color.

I think my daughter will be thrilled to see them when she walks in the door (if there's any left) ;)

Here's how I make my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies AT HOME MYWAY:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco (plain works fine too) (= to 3/4 stick if using the Crisco sticks)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional) (if nuts are omitted, add 1/2 cup additional chocolate chips)

1. Heat oven to 375.
2. Combine Crisco, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until well combined. Beat egg in.
3. Add salt, baking soda. Stir well. Add flour. Stir well.
4. Drop by rounded scoops onto sprayed cookie sheet.
5. Bake at 375 degrees (fully preheated) 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes and remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baked "Fried" Chicken

I posted that last Sunday I made baked "fried" chicken strips and wanted to make a quick post about how I did this. It is super easy and the only downside would be the wait time (for the chicken to bake). But, definitely it beats slaving over a skillet of hot grease, right?

This chicken is terrific! My husband thought it was the best "fried" chicken I had ever made. It will be crispy and the meat will be juicy! Amazing that it works so well!

You could use chicken pieces (with the bone) (I remove the skin from mine) or boneless skinless breasts/tenders, whichever you prefer.


Here's how I made Baked "Fried" Chicken AT HOME MY WAY:




Baked "Fried" Chicken



  • 6-8 Boneless Skinless Breast Tenders or small-ish pieces of chicken (fully thawed)

  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour

  • 1 teaspoon season salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (these seasonings are entirely optional, just season as you like.)

  • 1/2 to 1 stick margarine (I only used 1/2 stick but more chicken obviously would require more.) (Remember 1/2 stick is only 1/4 cup which is considerably less than the large VAT OF FAT that you usually fry chicken in.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour and seasonings in a shallow wide bowl or pie plate. Dredge the moist but drained completely thawed chicken in the flour and lay each piece not touching on a sprayed cookie sheet. (I use tongs and a fork to bury each piece of chicken and flip it to cover both sides so that each piece is thickly coated with the flour mixture... and I don't like to touch the chicken LOL.) Melt the margarine and pour in a stream over the chicken pieces (down the length of the strip). Use it all. If there are "margarine puddles" on the chicken, feel free to sprinkle a little flour over the chicken (the margarine will absorb it). Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake 15-20 minutes (depending on whether you used bone in or boneless chicken). The bottom of the chicken should be browning (the side laying on the cookie sheet.) If it is, gently, using a fork to scoop the chicken (including the crispy goodness underneath to keep it from sticking to the pan) and turn the chicken. Bake another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


ITS READY! Now, gobble it down and remind yourself that you will never fry chicken over a spattering skillet again!


This would also be a great solution for making lots of "fried" chicken for big families or gatherings. You could easily have two cookie sheets of chicken in the oven instead of frying several batches of chicken. Plus, its all ready and hot at the same time - when you take it out of the oven!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Busy Day Cake (Snack Size Yellow Cake)

(my camera has died - maybe Santa will bring me one - HINT)

Last night I made a terrific supper.  We've been eating lots of leftovers and trying to eat up what's in our freezer but we wanted some real comfort food for our Sunday Supper so I kind of went "all out."  I made baked "fried" chicken strips (this is our favorite way to make fried chicken - will post this soon), mashed potatoes, homemade sweet cornbread, and veges.  I had some sweetened strawberries from my friend's garden in my freezer so I also made a little cake (the Busy Day Cake) to go with the berries.

At first I was going to make garlic cheddar biscuits and sugar cookies instead of cornbread and the cake. But, after seeing that my flour supply had taken a serious hit when I made Homemade Sandwich Bread , I figured I could instead make the cornbread (it uses only 1 cup of flour) and this terrific Busy Day Cake recipe that my mom used to make for us all the time.  This cake recipe only uses 1 1/3 cup of flour!  That method pretty much encompasses my AT HOME MY WAY style in the kitchen!  Not having enough of something usually never stops me from cooking (oh NO!)  I just find something else to make with what I have.   This recipe has a topping that is very delicious.  I just didn't need it for strawberry short cake so I left it off. 

Here's how I made Busy Day Cake AT HOME MY WAY with the optional broiled coconut topping.

BUSY DAY CAKE



  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (soft)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Topping (optional) Broiled Coconut Topping (I made it without a topping since we were having strawberry shortcake.)
Instructions:  Spray an 8 x 8 or round cake pan (or grease). In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar. Add milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined (app 1 minute) (I just beat it with a spoon til smooth about 1 minute). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated 350 oven for 25-30 minutes.


Optional: BROILED COCONUT TOPPING: Blend 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons softened butter/margarine. Stir in 1 Tablespoon milk. Stir in ½ cup flaked coconut and 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional). Place this topping over warm cake. Broil about 3-4 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread


Surely there is something wrong with a person who gets so EXCITED over a loaf of bread!  Ha-ha. ....  I made this loaf of sweet bread over the weekend.  It was beautiful AND delicious!  I will have to take some pics of the process, but for now here is the recipe and some written instructions for how I made Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread AT HOME MY WAY.

I used my recipe for Schoolhouse rolls found here as the "basis" for my recipe.  The only addition in the dough itself was a beaten egg.  Most of my favorite recipes are used as a basis for something and then I create a variation to make something else.  That's what I did with this bread.  Ok, here's how I did it:

In a 2-cup measuring cup (warmed with hot/warm water first), mix (hint:  hot but no hurt): 
  • 1 1/3 cup very warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
Mix well. Set a timer for 10 minutes for this mixture to "proof".
Add:

  • 1/4 cup oil to the measuring cup of this "proofed" mixture.  Then, after proofed, add:
  • 1 beaten egg to this mixture (scramble it first in a small dish, then pour in to the yeast mixture).  Give it a gently stir to incorporate the egg in the yeast/water/sugar/oil mixture.

In a large bowl, measure:
  • 4 cups flour (more flour may need to be added.  See instructions below in bold.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
Stir with wooden spoon to mix well. 

Dump the liquids (proofed yeast/water/sugar/oil & egg) on top of the flour/salt in the bowl. Stir well with the wooden spoon. When its too stiff to stir, start kneading in the bowl, twisting and pushing until the dough forms a ball.   Since you added an egg to this mixture, you might need to knead in an additional 1/2 to 1 cup flour to get this kneadable.


Set a timer and knead it for 5 minutes.

(This is a ONE RISE RECIPE.  I do not raise this dough before forming the loaf, rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc.  The only rise time is after the loaf is formed.)The dough will be smooth and "spankable".


Roll out on floured surface into a large rectangle.  Spread with softened margarine/butter.  (I used probably 1/2 stick).

Sprinkle with brown sugar, spread around.  Sprinkle with cinnamon... just shake some on like you are salting something heavy.



Cut long strips in the dough about 5 inches wide.  I used a pizza cutter.  Then cut across to equal the depth of your loaf pan to make rectangles.


Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.  Stack some rectangles and "file" the dough rectangles in the loafpan (like a drawer with files).  I didn't use a small section of my rectangles because I was afraid my loaf would be too dense.  You want them to stand up but not to be all squished together.  They do need to rise so allow some room for that.  I cut my extra squares even smaller and put them in a muffin tin for some monkey bread.


Spray the loaf of dough with cooking spray or cover with a warm, damp cloth.  Place in oven with light on to rise for 1 hour (or in another warm place).


After it has risen at least one hour, PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 30-32 minutes or until brown.


Rest only a couple of minutes after it comes out because the carmelized sugar will keep the loaf in the pan.  Gently remove from pan (loosen with a knife along the edges).  After it is out, cool on a rack using the pan to wedge the layers together until they cool (they tend to fall out when hot).  Two mugs sitting at both ends or something like that will also work.


Am I making any sense here?  Anyway, this loaf tastes like monkey bread and it was a huge success.  I'm going to give a few loaves as gifts this Christmas.  It was terrific leftover and so PRETTY.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Meatloaf Seasoned Round Steak

Our Thanksgiving leftovers were divine, but I craved something a little different and yet still was in the mood for comfort food last weekend.  I ran across a terrific site called "Deep South Dish."  Every single one of her recipes looks like something I want on my dinner table!  When I copied this recipe down, I thought it would taste like BBQ round steak.  She has it named "Barbeque Round Steak", but really, this dish tasted like round steak turned into meatloaf (if you can imagine that).  This was a wonderful solution for me because my husband has never tried meatloaf (imagine that?) and never will.  He claims he doesn't want stuff all mixed together and that he likes his meat to taste like meat.  He's a little finicky to say the least.  So, I made this recipe (a version of it anyway) and told him (because I believed it to be so) that it was like homemade BBQ sauce on round steak.  It didn't taste like BBQ to me.  But it did taste like delicious meatloaf - just not with hamburger, bread crumbs, egg, etc.  My husband loved this dish and he said he will look forward to eating this again!  I was thrilled because I love me some meatloaf and this will fit the bill as far as I'm concerned!


This is how I made Meatloaf Seasoned Round Steak AT HOME MY WAY:


MEATLOAF SEASONED ROUND STEAK



  • 2-3 pounds Bottom Round Steak
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon season salt (like Lowrey's)
  • 2 Tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2/3 cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worchestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon yellow Prepared Mustard
  • Splash Hot Sauce 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put bacon grease in skillet to heat.  Combine flour & season salt.  Dredge meat in flour mixture.  Fry on each side until brown (not cooked all the way, you will be baking the meat in the oven).  Combine remaining ingredients in bowl.  Place meat in baking dish, cover with sauce mixture.  Bake 1 1/2 hour covered.  Check periodically to see if it is "cooking out".  If so, just pour in a little (like 1/2 cup) water.

We ate this with baked potatoes and a vege.  It was a feast!  I will be making this again FOR SURE!

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