Sunday, May 22, 2011

White Bean Chili

3-4 chicken breasts, cubed
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 small cans green chilies
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. whipping cream

Combine chicken, garlic, oil and onion in skillet and heat until chicken is cooked. Add beans, chilies, spices and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes. Add sour cream and whipping cream and heat through.

Alterations: You can use canned chicken and any other kind of beans that you have on hand.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Frosting


There are a lot of good recipes out there for homemade chocolate frosting. I've definitely taken the best the web has to offer and modified it to my own recipe. Not only is this good on cake, I'm sure it would be good on cookies and I know it's especially tasty when pretzels are dipped into it.

Milk Chocolate Icing:
2 sticks softened butter
4 tablespoons good cocoa
1 and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted in the microwave and cooled a bit
4 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons of milk

Mix the butter and the cocoa until you have cocoa butter. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix well. Add more sugar and milk. Add melted chocolate chips. Add more sugar or milk until you get the consistency you're looking for because it's frosting....not exact science.

This is enough to frost about 28 cupcakes or a decent 9" cake.

It also looks pretty pipped like little stars on a cake.

Home made croutons


I love bread. I love croutons. I love olive oil and garlic and balsamic vinegar. It's only natural then that every once in a while I get on a crusty crouton kick and go a little crazy.

Any sort of day old bread (or fresh for that matter, but a little stale is better) will work, but definitely do not use your run of the mill loaf of bread from the grocery store. You need something more airy and rustic, like ciabatta, focaccia or a good loaf of skinny french bread.

Cut the bread into thin strips without squishing it. You'll need a good knife. Place strips on a parchment lined cookie sheet and preheat your oven to about 325 degrees.

While the oven is heating in a small bowl mix olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Coat each sliced piece of bread, on both sides with the mixture (if you don't have a kitchen brush, you could use a new paintbrush or maybe even just a spoon). Once it's ready to go you can add a little extra salt or even some balsamic vinegar to taste.

Put the bread in the oven for 5 minutes and watch it. After 5 minutes check to see if the bread is getting golden and crusty and then just watch it every additional two minutes or so until it's looking like you want it.

Pull out of the oven and let cool. As the bread cools, it will get even more crusty.

These are great to eat alone with an ice cold diet coke for lunch or you can actually put them on a salad.

Or load them up with some bruschetta and enjoy a nice appetizer.

Meat and Potatoes


In our family, we grew up on starchy staples and meat for every meal. Though I cook very differently than my mother, I still enjoy such a meal every once in a while. Okay, every day.

Not really.

When I was a kid my mom fixed, "cracker meat". It was cube steak heavily breaded in Ritz crackers. It was a crumbly buttery mess of flavor. My version is a bit lighter but just as tasty.

Here's what you'll need:
Cube steak (1 per person)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
bread crumbs, home made or store bought
salt and pepper
olive oil

place the eggs in one shallow bowl and the bread crumbs in another. beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are combined. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to the bread crumbs. Coat each piece of meat in the egg and then press it into the bread crumbs, coating both sides.

In a frying pan (or an electric skillet) heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil until it sparks when you sprinkle some water over it. Add the meat to the hot oil and cook each side for 5-8 minutes depending on the heat and how crispy you want the outside.

Serve with green beans, potatoes, salad, or grilled asparagus.