Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Zucchini -15 Minute Montreal Style

Why is it that when I bring up the word Zucchini at any given gathering that people get a nervous look on their face and quickly turn the subject around to other things?   The first answer is probably "What a dumb thing to bring up at a social gathering and the second answer is that they probably have soooo much zucchini in their gardens that they are already stressed about how in the world they are going to ever consume the vast amounts of summer squash that are coming their way!  So I am here to rescue you!  This is a very quick, very easy way to use up ALOT of zucchini fast!   

     Here is what you do.  Take a medium to large zucchini (If you have yellow and green use both, it looks really pretty)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Easy and Delicious Lime & Butter Chicken

This summer has been a hot one so I thought a nice, quick but amazingly delicious way to cook chicken for dinner would help you out!  What are friends for?  This cooks up in just a few minutes so your kitchen doesn't heat up and you stay calm, cool and collected!  

Use as many pieces of chicken breast as you need.  Make sure they are not over about 1" thick.  If they are larger you can either cover them with plastic wrap and pound them with a meat mallet or cut them horizontally into 1 " thick pieces.

Now fry them in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden brown. As they cook season them with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the pieces from the pan when the juices are clear.  Don't over cook.  Use a meat thermometer or make a small cut in the thickest part of each piece.  Watch the color of the meat.  The meat is done when it just turns from pink to white and the juices run clear.   Place them on a plate and cover to keep warm. 

Add 1 Tablespoon of real butter to pan for each piece of chicken and about 1 teaspoon of Lime juice for each piece of chicken.  Let the butter melt and combine with the lime juice.  Uncover cooked chicken and drizzle lime butter over the chicken.  Sprinkle with dill weed.  See?  Easy Peasy! 
This recipe was shared with these wonderful blogs!
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Lime Butter Chicken

by Scrumptilicious 4 You!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 Minutes
Ingredients (5 Servings)
  • 5 boneless chicken breast
  • Make sure they are not over about 1" thick. If they are larger you can either cover them with plastic wrap and pound them with a meat mallet or cut them horizontally into 1 " thick pieces.
  • 5 Tablespoons real Butter
  • 5 teaspoons Lime Juice
  • Dill weed to taste
Fry the chicken breasts in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden brown.
As they cook season them with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the pieces from the pan when the juices are clear. Don't over cook.
Place them on a plate and cover to keep warm.
Add the butter and lime juice to the hot pan.
Let the butter melt and combine with the lime juice.
Uncover cooked chicken and drizzle lime butter over the chicken.
Sprinkle with dill weed.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tender Beef Brisket Sandwiches

     Do you ever walk through the meat department at Walmart or Costco and see a huge slab of beef vacuum packed in plastic and wonder "What do they do with that?"  Usually you can get beef brisket in 3-4 lb roasts but they cost quite a bit more per pound so the large cuts are more economical.  
     The good news is that you can either cut them into smaller sizes and cook them at different times or cut them and cook them at the same time in a large pan and then freeze them to pull out later.  
     Cooking all at once is my personal favorite because you only have one preparation, one day of cooking, yet you can get from 3 to 20 meals out of it and not have to cook again!  (Did I tell you that I LOVE my freezers?? Yes, that is plural).  Whenever I can cook in large amounts, even though there are only 2 of us eating each night, I absolutely do it.  Some people spend 2 or 3 days a month making freezer meals so they don't have to cook during the month.  I found that I never have 2 or 3 days time to do this.  It is sooo much easier to just double or triple meals when you are already cooking them, then freeze them in meal size portions.  I have gone a week to a week and a half without ever needing to cook.  I do like to cook but on busy days at work and with family I LOVE to pull out a wonderful meal that doesn't need to be cooked, just heat and serve.  Well enough of that, let's talk about brisket!

     So after buying the brisket (mine have been about 12 to 15 lbs.)  cut off the outer plastic wrap and wash the meat.  Then I just get a large knife and eyeball it to cut it in 3 to 4 lb. sections.  Make enough of the rub recipe to cover the separate pieces. 

Beef Rub

(for a 4-6 lb. roast)
2 Tablespoons chili power
1Tablespoon garlic powder
1Tablespoon onion powder
1Tablespoon ground black pepper
1Tablespoon white sugar
1Tablespoon seasoned salt
Mix together in a bowl.   Rub it into the outside of all sides of the meat.  Keep adding more until all of it is used if possible.  As the rub has time to combine with the meats juices it becomes easier to add more dry rub to what is already there.  After rubbing each piece with spices, place the meat in a pan large enough to hold your meat.  Place the pan uncovered in a preheated oven at 350F degrees.  Cook for 1 hour.  Take out and pour into pan:

1 1/2 cups beef broth (More if cooking more than one 4 lb. roast)

Cover tightly with foil.  Return to oven and reduce heat to 220F degrees.  Cook for 4 hours more.  Remove and let meat stand for 30 minutes before slicing. 

After slicing, replace meat in pan to soak up broth and drippings. The meat will become very juicy and flavorful.
You can also pour the juice over the meat and then let it sit.  If freezing some of the meat include juice so it can be warmed up with it.  A lot of flavor is in the juice so put it to good use!

     This meat is so delicious if you slice it and serve it on homemade buns found here.  These are easy to make too because you can make them on the dough setting of your bread maker.  Also, you can  make them by hand if you don't have a bread maker.

     The real secret is this!  We had a catered lunch at work one time from a local barbeque restaurant.  They served the meat on a bun but didn't put the sauce all through pulled apart meat.  They sliced it and then add the barbeque sauce on top.  It really made a difference.  It wasn't too strong of a barbequed taste.  Also, they used a really good sauce that isn't too vinegary tasting.  I really like  to make my own recipe but when I don't have time I use K C Masterpiece Original for this.  It has a deep flavor without being too strong.  

     Party Time!  This will feed a lot so now you have a meal plan for your next large family party or neighborhood get together! 

     Recipe source: Best Ever Beef Brisket (no longer found on All Recipes).With changes made by me.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pink Ombre Cake

Pink Ombre Cake
  So you have seen these cakes all over on pinterest right?  Have you been just a little afraid to try?  That's how I felt.  I wasn't sure how they did it.  Wasn't sure mine would turn out.  But I needed an idea for my mom's 83rd birthday cake and I needed one fast.  I mean fast and fast to make.  I was helping make other food items for our family 4th of July dinner and so it couldn't take a long time and intense work.  I guess I have a devil may care attitude or something so I decided to try it.  After all I do have about 79 cake mixes in my food storage so if it failed I could just whip one out and make a good ole 13 x 9 pan cake and ice it with store frosting (also in food storage, I am a food storageaholic!) couldn't I?  It was soooo fun!  And it came together fast and easy.  You do have to make sure you have the icing tip and a few bags for the different colors and 8" or 9" round pans.  Here's how it went:

     I found instructions to make this one on this site: Country Cleaver .  I really like her pictures and explanations so you can look there for more info.  There are a few changes that I made to her process.  First, I started out with making a double WASC cake recipe.  This starts with a box mix and adds ingredients to make it moist and delicious.  If you don't have it let me know but any cake will work. 
       I found my mom's 8" cake pans that I (honest mom)  didn't remember I had them in the bottom of my oven storage drawer. (She's been looking for them for years...).  Divide the batter into 4 parts in separate bowls.  I used Americolor 132 Soft Pink to make the shades of pink in the icing and cake batter.  Americolor is very strong so use it very sparingly.  My first try to make the lightest color actually turned into my darkest pink with very little color added.  The color also intensifies after sitting for an hour or so. 

      I used my pan release on the pans- found here, (it is great stuff!)  then I poured batter in the pans until it was about 1/2 way full.  Use Bake Strips found here (you can get them at Micheal's or Jo Ann's too) to help them bake with a less rounded topCheck cakes with a toothpick to check to see if they are done.  The WASC recipe takes a little longer than regular mixes because it is more moist and dense. 

     Cool cakes about 10 minutes and then take out to cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, make your icing.  I liked the white chocolate icing Country Cleaver used but didn't have the ingredients on hand so I just tripled my recipe for American Buttercream.  I have more experience with it too so I knew it would work well.  Next time I would 4x it because I had to really scrape the bowl to have enough to finish my last rose on top!  Divide and color!  Try to match the cake levels of color. 

American Buttercream Icing

1 cup butter (salted)  ( I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening to help stabilize it.       
                                It also keeps the icing white so when you add food   
                                                                 coloring it will be the true color you want.
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon clear almond extract
2 Tablespoons milk

Cream butter in bowl for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 of the powdered sugar slowly and beating thoroughly after each additionAdd flavorings and half of the milk.  Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until creamy.  Add the rest of the milk as needed for the consistency you want.
     This is a crusting buttercream so keep it covered with a wet cloth until you use it. 

To assemble and ice:

     Once cake layers are cool, take a long knife and level the tops to make a flat surface on 3 of them.  Place darkest layer on serving plate. Ice top with plain colored buttercream.  Place the next darkest layer cut top side down on the icing and ice the top of it.  Place the next and lightest pink layer on top, cut side down (this reduces the amount of crumbs you will have to deal with).  Ice it and place the last (non colored) layer on top with the dome facing up.   Ice the entire cake with a thin layer of white icingI didn't use an icing tip for this because honestly it was faster and easier to just use a offset spatula to apply and quickly smooth the icing around the cake.  This icing layer only needs to be quite thin as a background for the icing to come.  The rose circles will add plenty of icing for the cake. 
         If you are lucky enough to have 4 1M icing tips and 4 size 14 bags or larger you can now fill each with a different color of icing and you are ready to go.  I am not that lucky so I had to do mine one at a time. 
      Start with the darkest pink and (this is the fun part!!)  make a rose at the bottom of the cake.  All you do is hold the bag at a 90 degree angle (straight out) from the cake.  It is like making the letter O from the bottom and up and around it.  Start your O in the center, while pressing icing out, continue to the bottom of the O up the left side and around to the right side and then the bottom where you stop pressing.
Moving to your left around the O automatically makes it look like a rose.  See?  Easy peasy!  And you will look at it and be amazed that it looks so pretty!  Remember to make the 1st rose and each one after it as tall as the 1st layer of cake.  Using the layer as a guide helps it to come out even.  Also, as you start the subsequent rows of roses keep each one right above the one under it so the vertical rows will be even and pretty to look at too.  This part goes very fast.  The top is just more of the same but start on the outside circle of the top and work in to the last rose in the middle with the lightest color.  There you did it!  Congratulations! 

 In case you are wondering about this picture, it is my silly nephew, Blake.  You might not believe that he is actually a well respected teacher and community member!  He just has this SILLY side that has to come out!  Also, he was very excited about this cake!

Have FUN! 

Here is my cute mom!  I think she liked it!

This recipe has been shared on the following wonderful sites!
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kitchen fun with my 3 sons 
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Friday, July 5, 2013

Soft and Delicious Homemade Flour Tortillas - Part 3

 Soft and Delicious Flour Tortillas

(Part 3 of Sweet Chicken Tortilla Salad)
I forgot to take the picture.  The one with the tortilla folded over and looking pliable and soft... But these tortillas can do that- really- I just forgot to take the picture.  I think I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table and topped them too quickly but I hope this pic shows how really wonderful they are.  Here is a picture of them in a meal. 

See? Soft, delicious.
You won't want to go back to store bought after trying these.  If it seems like it is time consuming then the best thing to do is make them up when you do have time and freeze them in batches of how many you use.  They come out of the freezer great. ( I take them out of the plastic bag one at a time still frozen and let them sit at room temperature for a little while to thaw so they don't stick together).

I searched through a bunch of recipes and found that they are quite a bit the same.  The things that vary are the amount of shortening, use of baking powder, dough resting time,  and water temperature.  I took them all and put together one that I like best and here it is!

Flour Tortillas

 2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons shortening
1/2 to 3/4 cup very hot water

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add 1/2 cup hot water and stir. (I do use tap water but Hot is important). Keep adding small amounts of water until the dough comes together smoothly.  (Too much will make it sticky).
Now, cover the bowl with a slightly wet cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Divide dough into 5 or 7 pieces.  It will make 5 large ones or 7 medium.  I usually at least double this recipe to make some to freeze.  Roll each dough piece into a ball and then using a little flour on your surface, begin to roll out. Push rolling pin in a different direction each time to help them stay round.  Roll very thin (see pic).  Heat skillet to a little above medium (one mark).  Fry tortillas in the ungreased pan until bubbles form.  Turn and cook other side until light brown spots appear.  

Enjoy!This recipe was shared on these wonderful sites!
The Recipe Critic
Made in a Day
lil luna
The Country Cook
kitchen fun with my 3 sons