Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No Fail Pie Crust

4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
1Tbsp sugar (I use more)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. In separate dish, mix water, vinegar, and egg. Combine mixtures. Chill 15 minutes. Roll into thin circle, place in pie pan, prick with fork, and bake at 425 degrees till light brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie

1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
2 c. cut up cooked chicken (2-3 chicken breasts)
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen peas and carrots
2-3 baker's potatoes

Pie Crust:
4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
1Tbsp sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 egg

Peel and boil potatoes. Allow to cool. Dice. Boil chicken until cooked through. Allow to cool. Dice or shred. In saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Blend in flour, onion, and seasonings. Cook, stirring, until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in chicken broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil; stir 1 minute. Gently stir in chicken, frozen vegetables, and potatoes. Set aside.

Prepare pie crust: Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. In separate dish, mix water, vinegar, and egg. Combine mixtures. Chill 15 minutes

Roll out half of the pie crust into a 13 inch square. Place in a greased 9x9 pan. Trim edges. Add prepared filling. Roll out second half of dough. Place on top of filling, crimping edges. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegetable Curry**

A really easy curry recipe for the "adventurers" out there. Curry isn't 'hot spicy', just really flavorful. I thought it was delicious. I will post the recipe how I found it online (with measurement conversions since is was from the UK), then I will tell you what we did different.


4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs curry powder
2 medium waxy potatoes, roughly chopped into about 8 pieces
2 14 oz cans coconut milk
1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar

1. Pound or puree the garlic, ginger and pepper to a rough paste. Heat the oil in a wok, add the paste and fry for a few minutes over medium heat. Stir in the curry powder and potatoes. Add the coconut milk and chickpeas and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

2. When the potato is just about tender, add the cauliflower. Cook for 5 more minutes, then add the tomato wedges, green onions, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Cook for another 5 minutes or so. Serve over steamed rice or crispy flat-bread. Garnish with cilantro.

*I used my small food processor to make the first three ingredients into a paste. In order to get it to blend together right I just added the oil to the paste. I cooked the whole thing in my dutch oven pot because we don't have a wok. I substituted 1 pound of cooked chicken for the chickpeas. This wasn't because I don't like chickpeas, I just wanted to use chicken. I just used 1 tsp regular granulated sugar instead of the superfine sugar.*

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is the Dip that we had at Natalie's baby shower.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup diced white or yellow onion
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 crumbled chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
12 oz frozen spinach, defrosted, drained and chopped
6 oz artichoke bottoms, drained and cut into slices (I like to use hearts instead of bottoms and use the whole can which is 8 oz)
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)

1. In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and cook until wilted, 3-4 minutes.
2. Stir in garlic and cook 2-3 min longer, stopping before onion and garlic start to brown.
3. Sprinkle the flour over and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until mixture is golden blond, about 10-15 min. Slowly add the stock, whisking continuously until it is smoothly incorporated.
4. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cream. Return to simmer. Remove from heat and add the Parmesan, bouillon cubes, lemon juice and sugar. Stir until thoroughly blended.
5. Add the sour cream, spinach, artichokes, Monterey Jack, and Tabasco sauce. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese is melted.
6. Serve immediately OR you can refrigerate and warm back up in the oven in a oven safe dish. (About 350 degrees for 30-45 min, stirring about midway.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Loaded Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cookies

I am the treat girl for FHE tomorrow so I decided to try a new cookie recipe. I was hesitant because of all the ingredients and the chocolate cookie dough (I tend to think brownies when I want lots of chocolate) but these cookies were yummy and soft. The peanut butter in the dough tones down the chocolate. Everyone loves them--we didn't make it until tomorrow before we tried them so we get the "treat" twice!

from Cookie Madness and allrecipes.com and My Kitchen Cafe

Makes about 36 cookies.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup Reese’s Pieces
1 package mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, cut into halves and frozen (the original recipe says to freeze the cups and then cut them into halves but I had major issues with this – when I froze them whole and then tried to cut them, it was a disaster – the mini cups broke into a million pieces, so my suggestion would be to gently cut them into halves and THEN freeze them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and Reese’s Pieces (this is best done by hand so the shells of the Reese’s Pieces don’t get broken).

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat liner. Push one peanut butter cup half into the center of each ball of dough. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 1 or 2 minutes on sheet before removing, or they will fall apart.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Once again, this recipe is from My Kitchen Cafe. I don't make a lot of casserole type dishes, but I thought this one was yummy! I even used my canned chicken because I forgot to get some out of the freezer, and it was great.

*Make-Ahead Tip: I made the entire casserole the morning before I wanted to serve it and stored it in the fridge all day. It cooked up beautifully. The original recipe recommends making the topping and cheese sauce and then refrigerating them in separate bowls for up to 1 day. To reheat and assemble, poke several vent holes in the plastic wrap covering the sauce and microwave it for about 3 to 5 minutes, until it is hot. Cook the potatoes and assemble and bake according to the recipe directions.

*Serves 6 to 8

4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters (I used a long forgotten bread bowl tucked in the back of the freezer - thawed it in the microwave before using)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4-5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream or milk
6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sliced thinly
9 ounces deli ham, chopped

For the topping, process the bread and butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside.

For the filling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, making sure the oven rack is in the middle. Place the potatoes, 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are partially cooked, about 2 minutes (don't overcook because they will continue to cook in the oven!). Carefully drain potatoes, or remove them with a slotted spoon, and transfer them to a bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute (this helps cook out the flour taste in the roux). Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the cream or milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking often, until slightly thickened (if using milk instead of cream, you may have to cook longer for it to thicken up a bit). Off the heat, whisk in the Swiss cheese, Dijon, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Toss the potatoes with half of the sauce and spread into the bottom of a lightly greased 9X13-inch baking pan. Layer alternating pieces of the chicken and ham over the potatoes, overlapping as needed. This is not a scientific procedure, just make sure that the chicken is in a single layer (not on top of each other) so that it cooks thoroughly. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the casserole is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes (add about 5-7 additional minutes onto the baking time if baking it after it has chilled in the refrigerator for more than a couple of hours). Cool for 10 minutes before serving.