Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Randal chose this chowder recipe from These Peas Are Hollow when he was looking at recipes on my Pinterest board. His only request was that I add chicken to it, no surprise there as I don't think my husband has eaten a vegetarian meal in his life!

The original recipe uses frech corn but I cheated and used frozen, but it still ended up being a great chowder that we both enjoyed.

1 16 oz bag frozen corn
1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, diced
3 strips bacon, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons thyme
1 bay leaf
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until slightly crisp.  remove from pan, reduce heat to low and add the onions and butter, cook until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions, mix together and cook for a few minutes then slowly whisk in the chicken stock, bring to a simmer.

Add the potatoes, corn, bay leaf, thyme, whole milk, chicken and the bacon. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Herbed roast chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

Tuesday:  Chinese bbq pork, vegetable lo mein

Wednesday: Thai yellow chicken curry, jasmine rice, naan bread

Thursday:  Singapore noodles, egg rolls

Friday: Bolognese ravioli
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Butterbeer Cupcakes

I just have a few more cupcakes to post from my baking experiments for the bake sale. I have finally made the final decision on what I will be making and even though these cupcakes were good, I decided not to include them this year. These butterbeer cupcakes from Amy Bites are very rich, made with cream soda and butter flavouring, filled and topped with a butterscotch ganache.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavouring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream
Buttercream frosting:.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavouring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and butter flavouring.

Alternate adding the flour mixture, and the buttermilk and cream soda.  Beat until just combined.

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

To make the butterscotch ganache, place the butterscotch chips and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stir until smooth.  Leave to cool then fill a squeeze bottle with the ganache.
To make the buttercream frosting, in the bow of an electric mixer, beat the butter, ganache, vanilla, butter flavouring and salt until combined.  Beat in the icing sugar.
To assemble cupcakes, fill the center of the cupcakes with the butterscotch ganache.  Top with the buttercream frosting and drizzle with more of the butterscotch ganache.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Another recipe I tried for the upcoming bake sale. I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe and the peppermint swiss meringue buttercream is from Sweet Revelations.  I had forgotten how much I prefer swiss meringue buttercream, it is so smooth and just not as sweet as the regular buttercream.  I am definitely making these cupcakes for the bake sale!

Chocolate cupcakes:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Divide between baking cups and bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes.

Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

To make the frosting, put a few inches of water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Put the egg whites and sugar into a bowl that will fit over the pan of water and whick until it reaches 150 degrees and the sugar has all melted. Transfer mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until the bowl feels cold (this can take up to 10 minutes) add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, then add the vanilla, salt and peppermint.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Coconut chicken with mango salsa

Tuesday:  Corn chowder, grilled cheese

Wednesday: Chicken tikka, jasmine rice and naan (didn't make this last week)

Thursday:  Spag bol and salad

Friday: Stuffed cabbage casserole, salad
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

This is a Trisha Yearwood recipe, and it's one that Randal and I love. I have made this so may times since finding the recipe and it's always great. I make a couple of changes from the original recipe, I don't use black oilves as neither of us like them, and I change the cream of mushroom soup for cream of chicken or celery soup.

1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound spaghetti
6 slices bacon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
2 cans Rotel
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 cups grated Cheddar
1 can cream of chicken or celery soup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.

Brown and drain the ground beef, remove from the pan.  Slice the bacon into pieces and add to the pan, cook until slightly crispy and remove to a paper towel.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the bacon fat and cook until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, italian seasoning, the cooked beef and bacon.  Bring up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Layer half of the spaghetti into the baking dish. Spoon over half of the meat sauce. Add half of the cheese and then repeat all three layers.  Combine the cream of chicken soup with the water and blend well. Sprad the soup over the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

I had some pepperoni and mozzarella left from making pizzas and I needed to find something to use them up. I found this ctuffed chicken recipe over at Budget Bytes.  It doesn't make for the prettiest picture, but it tasted good and that's all that matters!

1 lb chicken breasts
Mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl, the beaten egg in another and the breadcrumbs in a third.

Cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast.  Stuff each piece of chicken with mozzerella and pepperoni and season with salt and pepper.

Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan, and fry the chicken pieces until golden brown. Place browned chicken onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

I am still trying out recipes for the bake sale, and I have had this cookie recipe from Six Sisters Stuff pinned for a while.  The original recipe calls for whole caramels that you wrap the cookie dough around, but having read the comments from others who have made this, I decided to use caramel bits and mix them through the dough so the whole cookie has caramel rather than just the center.

1 cup unsalted butter, nearly melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine spiced apple cider drink mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft caramel bits

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and salt.  Add in the apple cider mix and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined, stir in the caramel bits.
Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the lined baking sheets and sprinkle sugar over the top of the cookies. 
Bake 12 to 14 minutes.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes

Another recipe I tried out for the United Way bake sale. Randal took these and the other 2 cupcake recipes I tried out to the office, and out of the three these were the clear favourite. I got the recipe from the Butch Bakery cook book.

Coconut cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream of coconut

Coconut cream cheese frosting:
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp cream of coconut
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sweetened coconut, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Add the flour and buttermilk and beat on low speed until just combined.  Beat in the cream of coconut.

Fill each liner 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 minutes.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in half the icing sugar, the cream of coconut, vanilla and salt and beat to combine.  Add in the rest of the icing sugar and beat until very smooth and creamy.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the coconut cream cheese frosting and top with the sweetened coconut.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

There will probably be a lot of dessert recipes posted here in the next few weeks, as I have to decide what I will be making for the United Way 2012 bake sale at Randal's office. These raspberry bars from Ginger Berry were one of the first recipes I tried this year and we both liked it, but if I made this for the bake sale I would make a few changes. The raspberries really make this and there just wasn't enough of them, so next time I would make a raspberry puree and swirl that into the cheesecake rather than some of the brownie batter.

Brownie layer
200 g dark chocolate
200 g unsalted butter or margarine, softened
250 g caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 C plus 1.5 Tbs plain flour
3 Tbs cocoa

Cheesecake layer
400 g cream cheese
150 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
120 g raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, then set aside to cool slightly.

Cream the butter and sugar for the brownies together until pale, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in the chocolate, then the flour and cocoa. Spread most of the batter into the pan, reserving a few tablespoons. 

For the cheesecake, beat all of the ingredients, except the raspberries, together until smooth, then pour all of the batter over the brownie base. 

Dollop the extra brownie mixture over the top, then use a knife to swirl the layers together. Top with raspberries and bake for 40-45 minutes.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Strawberry Daiquiri Shortcakes

This is my first month participating in the The Secret Recipe Club, where you are assigned another person's food blog to make a recipe from and we all post what we made on the same day.    The blog I was assigned was Fallon's Cucina.   I spent a long time going through her blog and in the end decided on the Strawberry Daiquiri Shortcakes, as I really enjoy making desserts and Randal loves strawberries, so I thought this would be a great choice.

This recipe, which originated at Booze Cakes, was a little heavy on the rum for us.   If we ever made them again, we would at least halve the amount of alcohol.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup rum
1/4 cup strawberry yogurt
1 cup strawberries, chopped

Mascarpone fluff:
8 oz mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp strawberry jam
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla and rum, followed by the flour and salt. Stir in the yogurt and strawberries and fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

To make the marscapone fluff, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat all ingredients together until smooth.
Top each shortcake with the fluff and a a few strawberry slices.

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Zuppa toscana soup and BLT

Tuesday:  Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and fresh green beans

Wednesday: Chicken tikka, jasmine rice and naan

Thursday:  Spag bol and salad

Friday: Orange chicken and jasmine rice
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

Randal has been wanting me to make a cupcake version of the Olive Garden lemon cream cake for a long time. The layer cake version has always been one of the favourite cakes that I make, so it's no surprise that the cupcake version is just as good. This cake is probably the only cake that I make with a cake mix these days, but I always have so I always will!

For the cake:
1 white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
3 egg whites

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Make white cake following directions on box.  Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Make lemon cream filling by mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in lemon juice.

Whip cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Combine cream cheese mixture whith whipped cream.

Make crumb topping by combining flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and dribble in the vanilla extract. Use your hands to mix cold butter into flour and sugar. Break butter into smaller and smaller pieces as you incorporate it into the dry ingredients. Be sure not to press the mixture together. You want to end up with a very crumbly consistency with pieces no bigger than a pea.

When the cakes are cool, using the cone method fill the inside of the cupcakes with a spoon of the filling.  Top with the remaining filling and sprinkle the crumb topping over the top.

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Linked to: Made in a Day, Michelle's Tasty Creations, Two Yellow Birds, Mandatory Mooch, Mom on Time Out, Miz Helen's Country Cottage,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Randal is home today so he is making dinner - Pork chops, mashed potatoes and cream gravy and green beans

Tuesday:  Jambalaya and corn on the cob

Wednesday: Stuffed cabbage casserole (didn't make this last week)

Thursday:  Armenian kebabs, fatoosh and rosemary roasted potatoes

Friday:  Homemade pizza and salad

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny is a spicy British soup that is flavoured with curry, ginger and coconut milk. I started out usuing a Gordon Ramsay recipe but it seems that each recipe for this soup is different, so I ended up combining the best bits of a number of recipes and the end result was a delicious soup!

1/4 cup butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp flour
2-3 tbsp grated ginger
1 grated green apple
3 cups chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion, carrot and celery and season with salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Add the tomato paste, curry powder and flour, cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ginger and apple and stir over a high heat for a few minutes, add in the chicken.
Add the stock and coconut milk and simmer until thickened. Add the rice and heat through. Season to taste.

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