YAY! New Toy!!!

February 25, 2010 at 1:19 am (Personal)

Thank you, paycheck!

I bought myself a stainless steel immersion blender. Best $50 ever, I think!!! ♥


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Rob-Style Chicken + Pasta with Cream Sauce

February 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm (cooking) ()

Alrighty, two recipes tonight. (I got paid and went shopping!!!)

The chicken recipe is fairly simple – we got it from a friend of ours named Rob. If it originated somewhere past him, I am unaware, so in our household, it’s Rob-Style Chicken!!!

Ingredients for Rob-Style Chicken:
1 chicken breast per person, thawed or fresh
miracle whip light (lite? how do they spell it on there?)
italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350•F, and let it heat up for twenty minutes.
Now then, take some miracle whip light and a basting brush – I usually spoon the mayo into a seperate bowl first. (same with a larger bowl and some breadcrumbs…cross contamination is bad!)  And just paint it on. Not thick and gooey, but enough to hold on some breadcrumbs! About a tablespoon’s worth per breast, I think, is what it evens out to. Any excess will look globby, so just brush it off and use it on the next one!
Yes, all sides of the breast. I tend to touch the chicken with one hand, and use the brush in another so I have one raw-meatless-hand.
After it’s been mayo’d, roll it around in the bread crumbs… I just lay it on top, pat it, turn it over, pat it, then shake the bowl a little to get the edges.

Deposit the breasts in a baking dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes!  Then serve and enjoy. (I usually let mine rest 2 min before serving, just to keep them JUICY!!!!)

Well, for a side tonight, I got some broccoli.. but I wanted something with a little more oomph, as well. Then I recalled “gosh, I have that penne pasta in the cupboard…eh….but I did spaghetti sauce recently…what would be tasty would be a nice cream sauce….OOOOH!”

And I remembered a semi-accidental-experimental creamy sauce Arlo and I made back in Saint Louis.

I think it’s perfected here, minus my want of an immersion or stick blender.
Creamy Sauce of Goodness Ingredients:
1 slice thick bacon (got mine at the butcher counter!), minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 small yellow onion, minced
pepper to taste (about 8 grinds freshly ground, coarse-fine.)
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 pint heavy (whipping) cream (I got a half pint but ended up only using half of it lol)
REAL parmesan cheese. The kind with a rind, comes in wedges or blocks…parmigiano reggiano is what I got. a little expensive but it tastes GREAT! when you open your cheese, I recommend you try a little piece of it, see how REAL cheese tastes.

olive oil
2 large mushrooms, or 3 medium ones, or 4 small ones, minced.

First, get a medium pot, turn the heat on medium, and toss in the minced bacon (before it’s hot). While it’s cooking up, stirring occasionally, and mince up those yummy garlic cloves! Now toss those into the pot, stir a bit.
Now go mince up that onion, (yes, stir the pot a bit as you go. no burning!) and add it in!
Same for the mushrooms… add a LITTLE bit of olive oil. Really, you just want the flavor, not really for cooking liquid – bacon fat is good for that!

Cook down the mixture with about 4 grinds of pepper (it will smell mostly bacony, but also delicious!) until the mushrooms are browned. Now, add in half a stick of butter. Cold is fine, I just cubed it first to melt faster.

Let it cook for a while (yes stir it) while you break down some cheese!

Parmesan is a hard cheese, so you will need a sharp knife, or just break it off in chunks with a fork.  My knife was PLENTY sharp.

Cut off from the wide end about an inch and a half in towards the tip. Basically, the rind + extra. Yes, you want the rind. It’s incredibly flavorful.  Now that you have that awesome chunk of cheese, cut the cheese off of the rind – cut the cheese up a bit – then toss the cut cheese and the rind into the pot. Don’t cut up the rind tho – It wont melt all the way so it’s easier to fix out later if it’s in one big piece!!

Once the cheese has started to melt, get that cream out. If you are NOT a fast stirrer, you will need to temper as you go. Alton Brown has several awesome tips for it, I’m sure you can google Alton Brown tempering and find it if you need it.

Alright, fast stirrers. Start stirring the sauce, and slowly, carefully, pour in the cream. Just a little bit. I tend it have it hit the spoon but that’s me lol.  Keep working it in.. pour it in AS YOU STIR…stir til it’s mixed in.. add a little more… and so on. Add some more pepper (this can be adjusted to your tastes… 8 grinds was excellent for me.) And keep stirring.

After the cream’s in, give it a few minutes to flavor up, then taste it. It should taste a little sweet, a little savory, with a nice hint of cream and parmesan. Not thick and cloying, just a nice balance. I ended up adding a little more cheese to mine lol.

Once it tastes how you want it, you can add pasta to the boiling water. (I started my water when I started my sauce.) Yes, KEEP stirring as you cook those noodles!
IF you have a stick (or immersion) blender, fish that rind out and blend the sauce (don’t use a nonstick pan for this…might scratch it!)!!!! If you don’t have a blender, that’s fine it tastes AMAZING chunky, too!!

I poured it over the cooked and drained noodles, mixed them up, and then served it. YUMMY!

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February 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm (Uncategorized)

Not my own creation, but VERY delicious!! ❤

Back at the leather shop while taking classes, one of the lovely ladies there, Lois, brought in these scrumptious treats.

Trying to find something to take to my (then) new job as a “thank you for hiring me” (I no longer work there…no fault of the cookies’!), I remembered her cookies and looked for a recipe.

I found one online…BUT I changed the baking instructions… to make bloody sense and be useful.

Gooey Butter Cookies
Makes about 24

8 ounces cream cheese (1 package)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 18.5-ounce package yellow cake mix
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter.

Stir in the egg and vanilla. Add cake mix, and stir until well blended. It’s going to turn into a sticky mess – very thick!

Roll or spoon into loose balls about 1 inch around, and then roll the balls in the powdered sugar.
Place 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet – I found it easy to press down on the balls alittle, they baked alot easier.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes – I found 13 worked for my oven. I let the cookies cool on the tray while the oven got hot again (opening the door makes it loose heat!) When they are done, they will be yellow, with little cracks and valleys and soft to the touch. Don’t expect alot of browning. Do your first bake at 13 minutes – I’d rather overbake than underbake.

Once they’re out of the oven, dust with MORE powdered sugar!!! And enjoy, preferably with a nice cold glass of milk!!

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Chili & Cornbread Casserole

February 5, 2010 at 1:51 am (cooking)

This is… absurdly simple.

2 cans chili – meat and beans, chunky is best!
1 box Jiffy cornbread muffin mix
1 egg (for the mix)
milk (for the mix)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put chili into a casserole dish – I find a round one works better.

Mix up the cornbread mix according to the “cornbread muffins” directions. Spread gently atop the chili.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Scoop, serve, and enjoy!

Granted, you COULD make fresh chili and use that… but why would you want to do that to fresh homemade chili? This is basically a quick-n-dirty meal. 🙂

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So. Kitchen-y-Goodness.

February 5, 2010 at 1:47 am (cooking, Personal)

Going through my mom’s kitchen and familarizing myself with what she does (and doesn’t) have, I’ve been working up quite the list of “things every kitchen/pantry should have”.

Why am I sharing it here? Because I can.
Kitchen – keep in mind… cooking is an art. Baking is a science. A plate is your canvas, pots, pans, knives, your paintbrushes.
*At least 1 very good sharp knife. Normally, I work with about 3 different ones (sizes/tips). No, I don’t know what they’re called.
*Decent pots and pans.  Small pot, big pot, big thingy for making sauce in… pans for grilled-cheese size…and maybe a slightly bigger one for side items.
*Baking dishes!!! 😀 Seriously, at least 3 cassrole-type dishes.
*Obviously, cookie sheets, cake pans, cupcake pans.
*Cutting boards. 1 wood, 1 plastic. Use the plastic for meat and other things with nasty microorganisms.
*Mixing spoons, wood and plastic is my preference.
*Spatulas. Heat-resistant is good.
*GOOD tongs. Yanno, not the kit ones. Decent ones that pick stuff up
*Mixing bowls!
*Measuring cups and spoons.
*Uh…stuff. Common sense, folks.

*Cooking Oil
*Olive Oil. Extra Virgin doesn’t really matter..but quality will affect taste so… yeah. Buy the good stuff.
*Sugar – regular, at least. Brown and powdered are a bonus!!
*Salt! Regular old salt, kosher salt, sea salt.. pick your poison. We’ve got sea salt in a grinder. I like kosher salt too, tho.
*Pepper. Freshly ground has WAAAAAY better flavor.
*Pasta. Keep a variety on hand. 🙂
*Soy sauce.
*Worcestershire sauce.
*Jiffy Mix
*Maple syrup. Why not?
*Canned protein. I like keeping chicken and tuna in water.
*Canned Veggies – corn, green beans, and peas seem to keep the best. Carrots get waaaaaay too mushy.
*Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste. See? Worst case, you can make spaghetti!
*Canned soups keep well! Cream of Mushroom works well for chicken or pork, or tuna noodle casserole. Chicken noodle is handy to have on hand for in case you’re sick (but I find wonton soup to be the best!)
*I usually try to keep a few cans of chili and some cornbread mix around, too.
*For spices,…well, it varies on your own tastes. Me, I keep around:
~~~Garlic&Herb Mrs. Dash*
~~~Minced Onion
~~~Garlic Powder*
~~~Garlic Salt*
~~~Ground Cloves
~~~Ground Ginger*
~~~Lemon Pepper*

There’s more… keep in mind, you never want to run out. What happens if you get sick? Or terrible weather keeps you from getting to the store? Or you’re just too darn tired from work to shop? So when you’re down to about 2-3 meals, shop for new supplies. 🙂 Just make sure you use the older stuff first! ^,^.

I’m tired. That’s all for now. 🙂

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