Chicken Chili

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I realize that Halloween was on Monday and that we have all moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas baking, but please indulge me. I have this one last post from the Halloween Birthday Party!! This was a big hit and can be served anytime.  No scary holiday needed…. I named it Ghost Chili for the party.  This has a great southwest flavor to it. I used styrofoam cups that I painted themed words on with puffy paint.  The styrofoam not only helped to keep the chili warm but it was a super easy clean up for after the party!

1 onion chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breast

3 cups water

14 oz chicken stock

salt and pepper

2 tsp cumin, chili powder

1 tsp marjoram

4 cans drained and rinsed white beans

1 16 oz package of frozen corn

2 cans green chiles

juice of one lime

 

Salt and pepper the chicken breast and cook in a saute pan approx 5 min on each side.  Remove from pan and let cool.  In a dutch oven heat 1 tbs olive oil and saute the onion and garlic. Add all the remaining ingredients except the lime juice.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Shred the chicken breast with 2 forks and add to the pot.  Simmer for 1 -2 hrs.  Just before serving add the lime juice to brighten the flavors.

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Halloween Sugar Cookies!

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These cookies are a labour of Love.  They do take quite a bit of time but they are so worth the effort when they are done!  These are the cookies that I used for Steven’s Birthday bash this weekend and his Grave Yard Cake https://theplaidandpaisleykitchen.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/graveyard-cake-and-surprise-happy-birthday/

I use Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookie recipe for all my sugar cookies.  I have been using it for years and it really is the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used.  I am a bit of a Groupie…… I mean really who doesn’t love all things Martha?? I couldn’t really consider myself a True Preppy Girl if I didn’t, right?

4 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter room temp

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixer blend sugar and butter till creamy and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add in flour and baking powder.  Mix till combined and dough is formed.  Divide dough in half and form 2 disks wrap in cling film (saran wrap) and chill overnight. (or at least 1-2 hrs) I like to make my dough one day and cut out and bake the next.  With my busy schedule this seems to work best for me.  When you are ready to bake. Take the dough out of the fridge for 10-15 min and let rest.  Pre Heat oven to 325.  Lightly flour your rolling surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes.  For this party I made, Candy Corn, Pumpkins, Tombstones, Ghosts, Coffins.  Only re roll your scraps once or you will over work the dough and they will be tough and not as tasty.  Bake the shapes for 15 min. Cool on a wire rack.  Once the cookies are completely cool you can frost them.  For these cookies I used Ashley at Kitchen Meets Girl’s recipe. http://www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com/

3 cups powder sugar

6tbs milk

6tbs corn syrup

1/2 tsp almond flavoring

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Combine all in a mixer. Divide into batches and tint to the colors you plan on using. (use Gel food coloring or you will thin the frosting out too much with the liquid kind)  This is a bit unwieldy to work with, but once you get the hang of it you will love it.  The trick is to use a bottle to apply it.  You know those Ketchup and Mustard plastic bottles that you can keep refilling, yeah use that!  She forgot to tell me that little trick and the first time I used it I called her crying and screaming How do you control this Stuff?!! It was EVERYWHERE!!!!!  She laughed and goes “oh yeah it is really messy. Use a bottle.”  Now you would have thought I could have thought of that myself….. But it was one of those days.  Needless to say she is still one of my best friends! I first outline the cookies to make a dam.  Let that dry about 30 min.  Then you can flood the middles.  I had every intention of making the Tombstones more decorative and write names on them.  These were for a surprise birthday party and I did not have the time I needed before I had to stash them away.  Even though they were not as “fancy” as I would have liked them to be they still were great and the party went off without a hitch!!!

Graveyard Cake and Surprise Happy Birthday!

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Steven celebrated his 19th Birthday in style this weekend!  We were able to pull off a GREAT surprise birthday party for him!! For my next few posts I don’t have the pictures for each step like I normally do. I was trying to work as covertly as possible all week.
This cake is super easy and anyone can make it.  You can even use a box cake if you like.

1 Chocolate Cake baked in 9 in pans
1 batch butter cream frosting tinted black (or a tub of vanilla frosting and add the black food coloring, I said it was easy)
Halloween sprinkles
1 package Halloween Oreo’s

In a food processor blend the cookies to make the “grave yard dirt”.  I liked the orange filling ones better I think it has an ethereal look to the “dirt”.
Level the tops of your cakes so they will stack flat.  Spread a layer of frosting on top of one cake and sprinkle the Halloween sprinkles on top.  Place the second layer of cake on top and spread a layer of frosting on top.  Don’t frost the sides.  Spread the “dirt” on the top of the cake.  Place the tombstone cookies and ghost cookies on top. https://theplaidandpaisleykitchen.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/halloween-sugar-cookies/  Spread the rest of the “dirt” around the bottom edge of the cake.  Viola you have a Spooktacular Cake!

French Onion Soup A true Classic!

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With the days getting cooler and the nights are actually cold now, a glass of a rich red wine and a hot  cheesy soup just seem perfect for dinner!  I make this soup every fall and sometimes in late winter.  The rich beef stock and sweet onions and creamy cheese are just perfect!

4 sweet onions diced
1/2 stick of butter
2 tbs flour
salt and pepper
1 tbs fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine such as Cabernet or Merlot
4 cups Beef Stock
slices of stale french bread
slices of Swiss cheese

Melt the half stick of butter in a dutch oven and add the diced onions and a pinch of salt to help release the juices in the onions.  Cook for approx 30 min stirring every now and then.  Half way through the cooking add the 2 tbs flour and cook thoroughly through.  This will thicken the onions and ultimately the whole soup.  When done they will look like this.

Nice and caramelized! Add the cup of wine and bring to a boil for 5 min. Then add the beef stock, salt and pepper and thyme and bay leaves.

Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hr.  If you really want a great punch of flavor chill overnight and serve the next day. Just like spaghetti this soup taste better the next day after all the flavors have really blended together.
Toast the stale french bread slices in the oven.  They need to be nice and crisp so they do not turn to mush in the soup.  If you have chilled the soup over night place back on the stove and heat back up.
ladle the soup into oven proof bowls.  Float a slice of cheese on top and then layer the Swiss cheese so it drapes over both sides a bit.

Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler till the cheese is melted and bubbly!

Enjoy!

Yum Yum Asparagus

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Now anyone who knows me really well, knows I am not a fan of any green vegetable (especially such a pungent one).  Spinach is my only exception.  My Husband says of all the veggies to like you like the one most people hate.  Hee Hee that is me!  The boys love love asparagus so I make it quite often and I never taste it I just serve it.  I make it for them, for family, for guests, and I even have an asparagus appetizer that people love.  And I had never tasted ONE bite of any of them!!!  I know what you are thinking, how can a cook serve something that she has not tasted?  Well I make it the same way each time with rave reviews so it must be good! I have 3 ways I make it. This is my quick stove top version. 

1 bunch fresh or frozen asparagus
olive oil to drizzle
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 of one lemon

In a saute pan over med high heat drizzle olive oil and add asparagus.  Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle a bit more olive oil. Saute approx 3-5 min.

Add the juice of half the lemon and toss the rind in the pan.  The heat will help release some of the essential oils and raise the citrus flavor.  Cook about 1-2 min more and then serve immediately.
I actually had a bite of this one.  I still don’t like it……….

Not your Mom’s Chicken and Rice

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First things first, I am glad to be back in the world of food blogging! After Two weeks of crazy, busy, crazy, no time to think. I have things back under control and am posting again, and having time to read my e-mails, and look at all your wonderful recipes! I missed all of this! Blogging although very time consuming is my personal little getaway and my way to reach out and enrich myself in the world. I love the community and the great friends that I have made.
Although my picture is not that great. White Rice is not exactly the most stunning of subjects, this dish really is a great modern twist on the classic Chicken and Rice.  The fresh flavors of orange marmalade and the hearty rich almond cream sauce really hold together well.

4 Skinless boneless chicken breasts
3tbs butter divided
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tbs orange marmalade
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 small pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 cups cooked white rice

Toast Almonds in a pan over medium high heat till golden brown.

Salt and Pepper both sides of the chicken breast.  Melt 2 tbs of the butter and brown both sides of the chicken approx 5 min per side. (depending on the thickness of the chicken) Remove from pan and keep warm.

In the sauce pan bring the heavy cream, marmalade, mustard, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add the chicken and the almonds to the pan and cook till heated through.  Plate the chicken on top of the cooked hot rice and serve. I also made Asparagus as an accompaniment.

This asparagus is shown with my Chicken and Apples. A recipe coming soon so make sure to check back!!!! I post on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s!

Red Wine Pot Roast

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Fall is  full on here in the Midwest. The days are cooling but warm in the sun.  The nights are crisp and cool and I wore a new sweater today!! Time for some comfort food and good wine!  I like to take classic meals that we all know and love and can make in our sleep.  Then I like to take a little twist and jazz them up or bring them into the 21st Century.  Now I know I am not the first person to throw a bottle of wine (give or take a bit) into a crock pot but I don’t think it is done as much as the traditional cream of mushroom (which I happen to really like).  The day I made this was the day we were out apple picking and going on a picnic and having all sorts of fun.  I knew when we got home I was not going to want to make a big meal.  Crock Pots are not my first choice to cook in.  They do however have a place in a busy woman’s schedule and I do use them every now and then.  More so in the fall.  It was nice to come home and have the main dish ready to serve and I only had to make the Scalloped Potatoes  Everyone DEVOURED the whole meal in a matter of only a few Ravenous minutes so I was glad that I had not slaved over a stove all day!

1 3lb pot roast or chuck roast
1 onion diced
3 celery stalks diced
3 carrots peeled and cut into large dice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
to taste of each: salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, onion and garlic powders
2 bay leaves
1/2 bottle of red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon

 Salt and pepper the roast.  In a dutch oven heat 1-2 tbs olive oil and sear the roast on all sides about 2 min each side.

 Then place in a crock pot and add all remaining ingredients.

Cook on low for 5-6 hrs or high for 2-3 hrs.  When meat is tender and can shred with a fork the meal is ready to serve!

Enjoy your hearty fall meal! Don’t forget to serve with the Scalloped Potatoes