Friday, February 26, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Adapted from Diary of a Stay at home Mom!


6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce
2 green bell pepper, seeded and cubed
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic


1. Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Top with the spaghetti sauce, zucchini, yellow squash, green bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and garlic (and any other veggies you like)!
2. Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Royal Icing

Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:

2 large egg whites

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.

The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder:

4 cups confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons meringue powder

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1/2 cup - 3/4 cup warm water

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water.

The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

To cover or 'flood' the entire surface of the cookie with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce

I made the following to use just as a base spaghetti sauce. That way I can make it spicy or add more onions, garlic, etc.

20 pounds washed, peeled, cored and chopped tomatoes
6 medium onions, chopped fine
8 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup oregano
1/4 cup basil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Blanch and peel the tomatoes and set aside in bowl.
Blanching process: Drop the tomatoes into the rapidly boiling water. Pay attention to them as within 60 seconds their skin should split. Immediately remove them from the water with the slotted spoon and dip them into the cold water. After about a minute, remove them from the water and remove their skins. They should slip right off. If not, use a sharp paring knife to remove any stubborn spots.

2. Chop the onions and garlic. I use a food processor and it makes it 1000x easier! Then put them in a LARGE saute pan with a little bit of olive oil and saute. Keep your eye on them and stir them often until the onions are clear.

3. While the onions and garlic are in the saute pan, core and chop all the tomatoes. Again, I use a food processor. Add to a LARGE pot on the stove. I start on low and as I get more in the pot I up it to a med-high heat.

4. Add the onions and garlic.

5. Add all the fresh herbs, salt, pepper, red pepper, and sugar. With the fresh herbs I didn't really measure. The herbs should not affect the acid level, so I just added what I thought looked good. I also added a little rosemary.

6. Simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

7. Put your empty jars into the dishwasher and start. That way when you are ready to pack them they are hot!

When canning tomatoes by themselves, it is recommended that acid should be added to lower the pH level. This can be done by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint of product. For quarts, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid. This may be done by adding directly to jars before filling. Also, be sure to leave 1/2-inch head space. Wipe rim and screw threads and adjust lids and screw bands.

I pressured cooked my jars at 12 lbs for 15 minutes.

Makes 24 pints.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Honey Mustard Lime Chicken Legs

From Finding Joy in my Kitchen

8-10 chicken legs
1/3 C spicy brown mustard*
3 T honey
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T soy sauce
4 T lime juice (and some lime zest, if you have some)

In a medium bowl, mix together the honey/mustard, garlic, lime and soy sauce.

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot (I was lazy and left the skin on, which was easy to remove after cooking!).

Pour some of the sauce over the bottom chicken legs, then top with the remaining chicken legs and the remaining sauce.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. The chicken gets super tender this way. I like it like this, but, if you don't want your chicken falling off the bone, then I might suggest cooking it for a little shorter amount of time, until the chicken reaches 180 degrees.

I served it with rice and veggies!

*You can also use 1/2 C honey mustard (either mustard or salad dressing varieties should be just fine)!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

2 1/8 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 (3 1/2 ounces) cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter...the options are endless!)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.