Monday, April 29, 2013

Southwest Rubbed Chicken

Every Tuesday at our house is Taco Tuesday.  I make rice, seasoned black beans, guacamole, and this Southwest Rubbed Chicken.  We put everything in serving bowls on the table, add cheese, salsa, and tortillas and let everyone create their own tacos.  I usually go sans tortilla.  Jeff overfills his and makes a mess everywhere.  Chloe and Miles fill theirs with rice, beans, and cheese.  And Harrison fills his plate with tears. 

This chicken works great for tacos, fajitas, taco salad, burritos, or eaten plain with your bare hands.  Here's how to cook it to perfection:

Southwest Rubbed Chicken

1 T. taco seasoning*
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
nonfat cooking spray

*For spicier rub, use 1 T. chili powder and 1/4 tsp. cumin in place of taco seasoning.

Preheat broiler on high.  Spray broiling pan with cooking spray.  Combine spices.  Rinse chicken.  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Rub spices all over chicken breasts.  Broil for 6 minutes on each side.  (Large chicken breasts may take 8 minutes on each side.) 

One and a half chicken breasts are usually enough for our family, so I freeze the rest of the cooked chicken for the following Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Crockpot Chicken & Apples

I am always looking for healthier crockpot recipes. I have no problem using cream-based, condensed soup occasionally but sometimes it feels like that's all I find. So when I run across stuff like this I love it, also it's about 20 minutes of prep-time which is awesome. The recipe says this makes 4-6 servings but I feel like it stretches further than that for us. I serve it over brown rice.*

6 oz frozen apple juice               2 garlic cloves minced
1/8 tsp nutmeg                           2-3 lbs chicken breast/ pieces
2 tsp curry                                 salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter                            3 granny smith apples (chopped)
1 onion chopped                       1/3 c chicken broth
                                                 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Combine butter, onions & garlic in bowl. Microwave 1-2 minutes until the onion is soft, spread it in the bottom of the crockpot.
Combine juice and spices, dip chicken in the mixture then lay it on the onions, pour remaining juice over the top, add salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours. Add apples and cook another 40-50 minutes, apples will be soft and the chicken cooked. Shred the chicken and then add it back to the pot.
Mix broth and cornstarch in small bowl-stir into crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick. (It's only ever taken me 10 minutes, if that.)

*Making brown rice on the stove is so time consuming, and then if you stir it too much the starch will end up making it all gummy. I found this method to cooking brown rice a few years ago. It's so low maintenance and works every time. In a 9 "x 13" pan, add your rice and water (ratio is 1:2-I usually do 2c. rice/4c. water) a pinch of salt. Cover the pan with foil and cook in 375 degree oven for one hour. That's it!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Again.  It's not that I make cornbread that often.  It's just that when I do make it, I usually scramble around looking for that recipe that I liked.  Cornbread can so easily go wrong.  This is from the Blue Cornmeal label of the Bob's Red Mill Blue Cornmeal.  Don't tell him that I figured out that the cornmeal doesn't have to be blue :)  Shhh!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups cornmeal (your favorite color)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or not)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk (or evaporated)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (I keep buttermilk powder around for these kind of surprises)
1 1/2 cups drained corn kernels (or not)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish.  Sift dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, and buttermilk.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just blended.  Add corn kernels.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Bake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Serve warm.

The Only Cookie

This recipe is so good I almost don't want to share it, but since I originally found it on the internet I figure it's fair game. The base is a chocolate chip cookie, the others were developed over extensive experimentation in my kitchen by Ethan and myself.   It is truly the only cookie recipe you ever need.  Ever.  There is no point even keeping any other cookie recipe around because this is perfection. People will think you are a genius. Because you are ;) You're welcome!

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
*see below for alterations depending on your cookie needs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray only before the first batch.

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  

In a separate bowl, cream together melted butter and sugars until well blended.  Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until light and creamy.  Mix in dry ingredients until just blended.  

Drop cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheets.  This recipe works well for very big cookies or small.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly toasted. Cool on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

*For Chocolate Chip Cookies:  add 2 cups chocolate chips , blend by hand after adding dry ingredients

*For Snickerdoodles: add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg to dry ingredients, roll cookie dough balls in cinnamon sugar before baking

*For Peanut Butter Cookies:  decrease butter to 1/3 cup and add 1/2 cup peanut butter (if the dough is too crumbly add more butter 1 tsp at a time until dough holds together)

*For Chocolate Cookies:  reduce flour to 1 1/2 cups and add 1/2 cup cocoa powder

* For Oatmeal Cookies:  reduce flour to 1 1/2 cups and add 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves to the dry ingredients.  If dough is crumbly, add more butter one tsp at a time until the dough holds together.  If desired, add raisins and nuts totaling 2 cups per your preference after the dough is finished.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Glazed Carrots

This is Alice Waters's method for glazed carrots.  It's not a recipe, see.  I've used this same method on broccoli and green beans (minus the herbs because I didn't know which ones to use).  The reason this is wonderful is because it makes carrots taste like carrots.  No sauce, no deep-fried anything - they just taste like carrots, which took me off-guard.  That's what carrots taste like?!  Who knew.  And it's quick.


Carrots, cut in half then quarter lengthwise (don't use mini carrots)

Unsalted Butter


Fresh Basil (I've tried it with dried and it's not awful, but fresh basil is the way to go), chopped


Fill the bottom of a sauce pan (the size will depend on how many carrots you need to make) with your cut carrots.  Arrange them as evenly as you can, but not more than an inch high.  (If it's more than an inch, get a bigger pan.)  Pour water in, coming halfway up the carrots and no higher.  Add pats of unsalted butter, as much as you would use per serving.  Add salt (again, as much as you would per serving).  Put the saucepan on high heat until it boils, then cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer (covered) for 7 minutes.  Take the lid off and add chopped basil.  Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes, then transfer the carrots to a serving dish, adding a little of the glaze over the top of the carrots.