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Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

I’ve had a couple people ask for this recipe so I thought I’d go ahead and post it.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies  (preheat oven to 400 degrees)

1/2 c           evaporated milk

1 tsp            white vinegar

1/2 c            butter, room temp

1/2 c            sugar

1 c                molasses

2                   eggs

2 tsp            ground ginger

1 3/4 tsp      baking soda

pinch           salt

3 c                flour (all-purpose)

sugar for sprinkling (This is traditional. I find I like a cinnamon sugar mixture better)

 

  1. stir together milk and vinegar and let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes.
  2. Treat cookie sheet. (I use a silpat but also parchment paper works great)
  3. Cream butter with 1/2 c sugar until blended. Mix in molasses, eggs, ginger, baking soda, and salt; still until combined. Stir in flour alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Dough will be the consistency of thick cake batter.
  4. Drop batter from teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet, placing about 1 1/2″ apart. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake about 6-8 minutes. Yield: about 40 small cookies.

 

Cream Cheese Filled Chicken

I was looking for a Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe today when I stumbled upon this tasty one. So, we tried this instead. I found it here

What you need:
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only had 2 chicken breasts)
4 ounces softened cream cheese (
I was out of regular so I used whipped)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley (I was out of parsley so I used an Italian Blend)
1 tablespoon of onion, minced (did’t have onion so used onion powder)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teapoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup corn flake crumbs (
No cornflakes so I used Panko/Italian bread crumb mixture)
Pre-heat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts between sheets of wax paper. Use a rolling pin, flatten to around 1/4 inch thick.In a bowl, beat cream cheese, parsley, onion, garlic salt and pepper and lemon juice until blended. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on each piece of chicken. Roll chicken. Coat rolls with flour, dip in egg mixture, then roll in corn flakes. Drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat. Make sure to brown on all sides. Place chicken rolls in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear.
I always freak that I’m going to kill somebody when I make chicken. I tend to (on purposed) overcook it every time. I’ve never had trouble with dry chicken. I don’t know if that is because I always use flour/egg/breadcrumbs and bake. Whatever I do works well. I forgot to set my timer when I put the chicken in the oven. When I remembered I set it for 30 minutes. I estimate that I probably baked it for 45 minutes. It was moist and tender and te outside crunched just right. I think I would add more salt or even serve it with marinara sauce.

My NEW Go To Soup

O.k., so I’ve told you guys that there are some recipes that are from the diet I was on that I plan on keeping and making. This is one of them. Not only do I really like it, Gargoyle went back for 2nds and the mutts do backflips for it. No, really, backflips. It’s amazing!

Chicken and Barley Soup

adapted from Fast Metabolism Diet.

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 Tbls crushed garlic
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups + cubed yellow summer squash
  • 2 cups + cubed zucchini
  • 1 cup + broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup barley

Put water and broths into a large pot. Add the chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the vegetables and barley to the soup pot. Bring back to a boil and simmer on low for another 1-2 hours, until vegetables are desired texture.

 

This recipe called for 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash. I had trouble cutting and peeling (I’m sure there is a trick) so I left it out and added extra of the other veggies. Last time I made this (2 days ago) I left out the mushrooms. I had also ran out of barley so I used 1/2 cup barley and 1/2 cup quinoa. Stick to the barley. Obviously you can make this to your taste. I don’t miss the butternut squash but I’m sure there are other veggies that would be good.

Sorry I don’t have a picture for it and I just gave the mutts the last little bit of leftovers. But trust me, make it.

Chicken and a Review

First the review. I saw an ad on tv the other day for Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade No Knead Bread Mix. I make my own bread using a bread machine but I can’t quite get the fresh yeast bread taste in any loaf I’ve ever made. I bought this mix thinking that it was going to take a few hours to make. People, this only takes about 1 hour from opening the box to pulling out a hot loaf of bread! Not only was it simple but it was very tasty. This would be easy enough for a non-cook/baker to make. There are three pouches in the box. You mix the small ones together with “very warm” tap water. Let it set for 3 minutes and then add the big packet. You mix those, let rest for 25 minutes and then bake. All you need to make this is a bowl, a mixing spoon and a pan to bake it on/in. There are 4 different breads. I used Country White but I have a box of Italian Herb and Stoneground Wheat. There is also a Multi-grain.

This gets my thumbs up, Two paws up and a huge smile (due to a full mouth) from Gargoyle.

Along with the bread I made Honey & Lemon Chicken.

(forgive the picture, the chicken was moving so fast that the picture came out blurry. What’s a girl to do?)

I imagine you can use chicken breast but I used the thighs that it calls for. Not only are they less expensive, they tend to have more flavor. I made extra marinade as I used extra chicken. The rest gets thrown into a chicken pot pie tonight. I also tend to bake chicken a lot longer than it calls for. I’ll add my tweaks below.

Honey Lemon Chicken

  • 2 Tblsp runny honey (this is a British recipe. Runny honey is just honey)
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated (please, who can use just 3? I buy mine in a jar so I used about 4 or so Tblsps)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (yeah, again had bottled lemon juice. Have no idea how much I added. Maybe 1/4 cup?)
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard (I couldn’t find mine. I actually substituted some salt and paprika. I know they aren’t the same)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs (I had 10)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Mix together everything but chicken and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and mix in chicken until well coated. I mixed mine in a large storage bag (the kind with a zipper) and threw the chicken in that.

2. Transfer chicken to baking dish reserving left over liquid (I just made more). Cook for 25 minutes. Halfway through pour remaining liquid over chicken.

3. The chicken should be cooked through and golden, if not, cook for another 5 minutes until done.

I cooked mine for an hour. It was very moist and tasty. I bought bone in/skin on. Gargoyle thought that once you got past the skin that the chicken lacked flavor. Whatever.

 

 

 

 

Powdered Chai Tea Mix

I’m still not 100% on this one but it is the best instant mix that I’ve found so far. This recipe came from allrecipes.com. I like my Chai to be a bit creamier than this. Milk should help with that. I’ve also been playing with the idea of throwing it into a blender with vanilla ice cream and having a chai shake.

Chai Tea Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1) In a large bowl combine and mix all ingredients. In a food processor, doing 1 cup at a time,mix until it is a fine powder.

2) To serve: Stir 2 heaping Tablespoons mix into a mug of hot water.

 

I just realized that I didn’t do the food processor. It’s a little grainy and I bet the finer powder would be a more thorough mix. Guess what I’m doing today? :^)

 

Deconstructed Lumpy Soup

So the sweetest woman in Sun City used to make these awesome stuffed cabbage rolls. Some people call them Galumpkis. Some call this Dolma. Some use cabbage. Some use grape leaves. I ran across this cabbage soup recipe and decided to give it a whirl. After reading the ingredients I knew that this was no ordinary cabbage soup. It was deconstructed galumpkis. for some unknown reason that only the little voices in my head understood, I called these Lumpies. And do I ever love lumpies. This reads more like a stew than a soup and is very filling. It is also very inexpensive to make.

Deconstructed Lumpie Stew

Ingredients

Meatball:

  • 2 lbs ground meat (I used beef but pork and veal work well as should lamb and turkey or a mix)
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced

Soup:

  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely minced onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot (I used shredded. I don’t think it matters)
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I forgot to use mine I don’t know if it would make a big difference)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (I forgot to purchase them)
  • Sour cream and fresh dill (Oooops, I forgot the dill too)

Directions:

For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, rice, salt, pepper, cumin and onions. Form into 1″ balls and set aside while you make the soup. I use a cookie scoop to form meatballs. It goes much faster.

For the soup/stew: In a 6-quart pot, sweat the garlic in the olive oil until white in color. Add the onions and sweat until translucent. Then add 1 1/2 cups water, the carrots, tomato paste, brown sugar, ketchup and whole tomatoes with juice. Season with salt and pepper and simmer at a lively bubble for 10 minutes. Crush the whole tomatoes with a potato masher or fork. Continue to simmer until the carrots are tender, about 10 more minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth (an emersion blender might work just as well) but not pureed. Return the soup to the pot. Remove the cabbage ribs and cut the leaves crosswise into 1/4″ ribbons. Add the cabbage to the soup and stir to incorporate. Add the bay leaf and simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes more ) the cabbage should be reduced in size). Add water to thin the soup to the desired consistency (I added about 4 cups and it still ended up stew like). Add the meatballs and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and raisins 10 minutes before serving (I didn’t do this).

 

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream and dill.

I thought this was very good. The flavors were just right and I would most certainly use this again. Forrest and Lucy gave it two paws up as well.

 

 

Lollipops

I stumbled upon this recipe a couple days ago while googling “hard candy lollipops”. I *had* to try it. I can’t find what site this was from so after I do some research, I’ll post the link when I find it.

Hard Candy Lollipops

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (NOT LITE)**
  • 1/8 teaspoon extra strong flavoring of your choice. (I used 1-2 teaspoons of Watkins)
(edit: after making several flavors I’ve been using 3 teaspoons to be able to get flavor. You might want to use more or less. It’s hard to tell until you actually make them.)

Directions:

1) Prepare a 1/2 sheet pan with lipped edge by lining it with parchment paper and set aside. If you are making lollipops you can use a store bought mold or powdered sugar molds.

  • To make powdered sugar molds. You need a sheet pan or jelly roll pan, powdered sugar and some type of form. Pile powdered sugar into the pan up to the top of the lip. Take your form, I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup, and press into the powdered sugar. The sugar will compact and make a firm mold. Stagger the molds so that the lollipop sticks can be place.

2) In a 4 cup (important so it doesn’t boil over) heat-proof measuring cup combine 1/2 cup light corn syrup with 1 cup granulated sugar.

 

Stir until moistened.

3) Cover the cup with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remember to use all proper precautions when dealing with hot sugar to prevent burns.

4) Remove the cup, carefully remove the plastic wrap (beware of steam) and stir for 10 seconds. Cover with new plastic wrap and microwave for an additional 3 minutes on high.

5) At the end of the cooking time remove the plastic wrap and let the mixture cool for about 10 seconds. Vigorously stir in flavoring. Food coloring can also be added at this time if desired.

6) Carefully pour the hot cooked sugar into your molds, or onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside to firm and harden. Depending on humidity, room temperature, size of molds etc. this can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, or even overnight.

7) To serve, carefully remove your pops from the molds or break the large slab of candy into small pieces. Dusting the finished candy with powdered sugar will keep the pieces from sticking together.

**This recipe calls for light corn syrup. LITE will not work for this recipe. For deeper flavors such as root beer, you can use dark corn syrup.

tip: Regular store bought extracts will not hold their flavor in high heat. However, I used Watkins extract (regular store bought extract) and added 1-2 teaspoons. With flavoring made for candy making you would only need 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.

Cinnamon and Peppermint are very potent. You may want to use a smaller amount and take care not to inhale fumes as you work.

 

 

Chai Cupcakes

This is probably the best cupcake I’ve made. Not sure about the frosting but I really enjoyed that also. I found the recipe on The Novice Chef blog.  (edit: I’ve been asked where I got this picture. Oh, ye of little faith! This is mine! *I* bought the pan. *I* made and frosted the cupcakes. *I* took the picture!)

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

ingredients:

For the cake:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 quantity chai spice mix (recipe to follow)
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Vanilla Chai Buttercream:
2 stick (1 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 quantity chai spice mix
1-2 tablespoons cold milk, if needed

directions:

For the cake:
Mix spices together in small bowl.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat in one egg at a time. Stir in half the quantity of chai spice mix. Fold in the flour and buttermilk alternately and stir until combined, don’t over mix. Mix together the baking soda and vinegar and mix into the batter.

Spoon into prepared cupcake cases until 3/4 full and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the buttercream:
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. On low, mix in the vanilla and the rest of the chai spice mix. Carefully beat in the icing sugar about ½ cup at a time. If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached.Then pipe onto cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting tip.

TNCB Original

I used more of the spice mix in my cupcakes than in my frosting. I also used shortening in my frosting and added a little water and a little more powdered sugar.

 

Quick and Easy Hummus

There are several Hummus recipes out there. I’m one who loves tahini but doesn’t want to pay $8 to get one or two teaspoons. This is my go to recipe when I need a quick dip.

Hummus

1 can garbanzo/chick peas (I use the largest I can find because I’ll eat all as a dip with veggies or as a spread)

garlic, about 2 cloves (more or less to taste)

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

a couple pinches of salt

a couple dashes tabasco ( I use Texas Pete. Sriracha  might be good too) I put in about 3 teas. hot sauce but I like the spice

Throw everything into a food processor and blend until it’s smooth.

Quick and easy. Serve with veggies or chips or toasted bagels or tortilla shells

Chips Done Two Ways

Stumbled across a “potato chip in the microwave” recipe and thought I’d try it. Then I thought, let me make a batch of chips made in the oven and compare the two. These are both *loose* recipes. First the microwave:

Cut a potato in 1/2. If you have a mandolin (I do) slice each 1/2 into very thin slices. If you don’t have a mandolin, slice them as thin as you can. As you cut them, throw them into a bowl of cold water. Let them soak a few minutes and then rinse them until the water is clear. Pat dry between dish towels or paper towels. Put two paper towels on a plate and a layer of potatoes. Make sure the potatoes aren’t touching. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and either stop there or add other herbs/spices.

Stick in the microwave (these are not my times adjust as needed). Put in for 3 minutes at 100%. Flip over and microwave another 3 minutes at 50%. Then 1 minute at 50% until crispy.

I really didn’t care for these. Maybe if I would have brushed them with olive oil or butter. They were kind of leathery. For the length of time they took, I figured I would try the oven method.

Oven Method:

There are several different recipes for this. *I* did it this way.

Set oven for 400.

Slice 1 or 2 potatoes. Put about 3 Tablespoons olive oil into a zipperd bag. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also added cayenne pepper ‘cus that’s the way I roll. Throw in potatoes as you slice them. Zip up bag when done and mix everything together well making sure you get between potatoes.

I put the chips in a sprayed roasting pan because I don’t have a jelly roll pan and I didn’t want olive oil to drip onto the rest of the crud on my oven floor. But that’s just me. Make sure that they do not touch as they will stick together.

I baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye out as ovens vary.

Then, you need to enjoy them.

These were much. much better than the microwave version. They were more crispy and didn’t seem to take up as much “hands on” time. I’m going to do these again using different herbs/spices.