Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moist Zucchini Bread

Tis the season for making zucchini bread. Many a garden is trying to give away a zucchini or two because somehow one plant always provides enough for a whole neighborhood! Take that zucchini and make this bread. It is quick to make and moist and satisfying. It isn't even that bad for you since you can substitute some of the oil for applesauce if you desire and there are 3 cups of zucchini in the mix! Yummm...

Zucchini Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini (DO NOT drain the zucchini)

1. Grease and flour two bread pans. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat oil, eggs, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the mixture and beat well. (The mixture will be REALLY stiff. Don't worry, the zucchini will soften it up perfectly!)
4. Stir in the zucchini until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
5. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
6. Cool in pans on wire rack for about 20 minutes. Remove bread from pans and allow to completely cool on wire racks.

Makes: 2 loaves

Share this bread with your neighbors and you are sure to make some new friends!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BEST Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

Oh my goodness! I am in shock. This recipe was incredible. I am so happy right now. Have you ever had a moment like that, where you've tried a new recipe and just hoped that it would turn out good and voila! it tueds out AMAZING and even better than you could have expected? If you haven't had that happen before then try this recipe! It will exceed your sweet and sour expectations. I promise. I got the recipe from my good friend Mel over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, well at least we should be friends since we have almost identical taste buds! She doesn't actually know I exist but I love her blog and so we are good friends in my mind. :) If you haven't seen her blog, I recommend visiting in the near future. You won't regret it.

 Back to the recipe, I love sweet and sour chicken but sometimes it can be soggy with the sauce or have a deep fried breading that separates from the chicken and just isn't that good. But this recipe has just the right amount of crispiness and stickiness to make you definitely put it on your list of favorite recipes. To add to the list of wonderful things, it is baked not deep fried so you are saving calories too! But enough of listening to my testimonial... go make it!

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken
Recipe adapted from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
For the chicken:
4-6 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup cornstarch
3 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the sauce:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp. ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I didn't have apple cider so I used white vinegar)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. And while the oil is warming up, cut up the thawed chicken breasts into approximately one inch pieces. (Try to keep them about the same size to they cook evenly.) Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken pieces.

Next place the chicken into a large gallon-sized Ziploc bag with the cornstarch and toss to coat the chicken evenly with the cornstarch. Whisk the eggs in a pie plate. Next, dip the cornstarch-coated chicken in the egg and place them, a few at a time, carefully in the oiled skillet.

Cook until lightly browned on each side. (Don't cook all the way through because they will finish cooking in the oven.) Place chicken in a 13x9 in. baking dish in a single layer.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour evenly over the chicken in the dish.

Bake for one hour. Turn the chicken a couple times during the cooking process to make sure it is evenly coated.

Serve over hot rice and a side of broccoli. Yummm!!!

It is so hard for me to remember to take a picture before I have almost finished eating!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baked Spaghetti Pie

This is another recipe I got from my Grandma Billie. I love her cooking in case anyone following the blog hasn't noticed. There will be more Grandma Billie recipes to come that you won't want to miss so stay tuned!

Baked Spaghetti Pie is the perfect recipe for a crowd. It serves about 12 to 15 people. And I love it for it's cheesy goodness. Yummm... To prove how delicious it is, the first time I made it I couldn't even get a picture taken before it was almost gone! There was only one corner left and so I had to make it again to get a picture of the whole pan. :)

Serve this meal with a green salad on the side and maybe some fruit for dessert and you have a delicious and nutritious meal for a crowd! Enjoy. :)

Baked Spaghetti Pie

1 1/2 lbs. ground sausage
1 large onion
1 32 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water (I used less water)
1 lb spaghetti, cooked and rinsed
1/2 stick butter
3 eggs beaten
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz grated Parmesan cheese
16 oz cottage cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 11x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Dice onion. Brown sausage and onion in a large frying pan. Drain the grease.

3. Add spaghetti sauce and water. Simmer until thick. (Approx. 20 min.)

4. In a separate large mixing bowl, toss cooked spaghetti with butter, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese until well mixed.

5. Spoon spaghetti and cheese mixture into the bottom of your greased baking dish and press down. Cover with an even layer of cottage cheese. Last, spoon spaghetti sauce on top. Press the sauce down into the noodles. Now poke holes with the bottom of a wooden spoon to get the sauce to go down into the noodles a little bit. (It makes a full pan of spaghetti pie. This helps it all fit in the pan better!)

6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake for about 15 more minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Cool about 10 minutes before serving.   

Here is one last look!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo

This was such a fun recipe to try. I have never really tried making Southern food but I had a roommate who made really good red beans and rice and other really good Southern foods. So when I was looking through one of my Taste of Home magazines and came across this gumbo I knew it was the next creation that needed to be on the blog! Yummy!!

It is a very simple recipe. What took the most time was simply cutting up the ingredients. It can be modified to fit your taste buds. If you love hot cajun style food then go ahead and add more cajun seasoning however if you are like me and don't like the heat to overpower the food then feel free to use less seasoning. I actually made my own cajun seasoning because they didn't have it at the grocery store so I will include the ingredients to the homemade seasoning as well.

Another good thing about gumbo is it freezes well. So I froze about 1/3 of the pot so it didn't go to waste. :)

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo
Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home Magazine June/July 2012
2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning, divided  
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
3 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed  (I used 1/2 chicken breasts and 1/2 thighs)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper (mine was a yellow pepper)
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 lbs. fully cooked andouille sausage links, sliced
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
Hot cooked Rice
3 green onions, chopped

Homemade Cajun Seasoning: (Makes 2 tbsp.)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground red pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. oregano

1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; rub over chicken. In a dutch oven or large 5 qt. pot, brown (not fully cook) chicken in 2 tbsp. oil in batches; remove chicken from the pan.

2. Add remaining oil to the same pan; stir in flour until blended. cook and stir over medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until browned. (Do not burn!) Add onion, peppers and celery; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

3. Gradually add water and stock. Stir in sausage, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, chicken and the remaining Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is very tender.

4. Remove chicken from pan; cool slightly. Skim fat from soup and discard bay leaves. Shred chicken and return to soup; heat through. Serve gumbo over rice; top with green onions.